Happy Mother’s Day! I’ve had a lovely time today, and I hope the other mothers reading this blog have enjoyed themselves, too. My husband let me sleep in, then brought me coffee in bed – when he makes me coffee, he makes me a proper cafe au lait with extra steamed milk on the top so it feels like a special treat. It’s like the Second Cup has made a home delivery just for me! Anyway, once I was properly caffeinated, the kids came clambering into bed with hugs and kisses and a very sweet card. Later in the day, we played at the park, went for a walk in the neighbourhood, and had a barbecue supper. It was a relaxing and fun day spent with the people dearest to me in the world.
I managed to squeeze in a little reading time this afternoon, and revisited Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women as a Mother’s Day favourite (with a pot of Earl Grey, of course). This was a novel I read and reread as a young teenager, and at the time, I was most interested in Jo, and wrote off Marmee as anything but a standard mother figure. Now that I’m a mother myself, I think Marmee’s a pretty darn good role model for motherhood – she loves her family, keeps them going when her husband is away at war, she teaches her daughters why qualities such as modesty and industry are important, and most of all, she encourages the girls to be true to themselves.
It’s true that Little Women was written a long time ago, and these days, we’re talking about different things. Motherhood discussions now seem to revolve around positions on breastfeeding, bedsharing, diet, and educational choices. For those in doubt, look at the cover of Time this month, featuring a mom breastfeeding her three year old beside the question “Are You Mom Enough?”. Debates around this sort of thing crop up all the time among moms at the parks and coffee shops we visit, but I just can’t get that excited about any of these issues. To me, motherhood is all about teaching what is lasting, and if I can show my family the love, strength, and wisdom of Marmee even some of the time, then our kids will be okay.
Marmee from Little Women inspires me on the days when I need extra coffee to keep me going. I’d love to hear which mother in literature inspires you, and why.