On the radio, they are talking about what makes a great mom. I start thinking about what I do that my kids would say make me a good mother like the four Cs cooking, cleaning, clothing and carpooling.
But then I think about my own mother. And its not what she does that makes her a great mom. Its what she doesnt do.
Starting with, she doesnt try to run my life. She has her own, full, wonderful life. Best she lead by example and hope I catch on. She never told me what classes to take, what sports to play or what friends to have. She found her passions and made great friends. It made me want to seek and find those things, too.
She doesnt criticize me. Or my decisions. Like when I took a job at CNN in the late 80s that only paid $12,000 a year. Or when I ran off to LA to work in the movie business, which is basically joining the circus, she didnt tell me to come home. Or to find a real job. Or to make sure I work with Tom Hanks.
She doesnt snoop, she doesnt pry, and she doesnt ask questions she doesnt really want the answers to. But something doesnt feel true until Ive told my mom, and so I always crack. But I am given the time to collect my thoughts and share it in my own way.
She doesnt question or play devils advocate, and she doesnt judge. And when I went through my divorce last summer I was grateful for this. I just needed her to listen, and we logged a thousand hours on the telephone. Because she never says, No, I cant talk.
She never sugarcoated, or covered for me, or cleaned up my messes. But she never made me feel guilty. I was given the gift of true and complete unconditional love, whereby I could learn from my mistakes, suffer the consequences, but be forgiven and allowed to move forward without shame. She doesnt say, I told you so.
She never asks, Are you going to wear that, who cuts your hair, and whats wrong with your eyebrows? Youd be surprised how many mothers ask this. She doesnt make me come home, or offer free advice, or tell me how to raise my children. I get to make my own plans, my own decisions, and raise my children as I see fit.
So today, Ill try to remember that maybe its not what I do that matters to my boys. But maybe what I dont do. Although I did get to work with Tom Hanks.
And though she didnt say it I could tell Mom was quite pleased.