Happy Monther’s Day

Erma Bombeck, Patron Saint of Mothers

Erma Bombeck famously labeled motherhood as the second oldest female profession.  I am paraphrasing here; she added that you are too young to be a mother if I need to name the first. Mothers are the backbone of the world.  We nurture, nourish, and shape humankind with a gentle hand and sometimes a firm biff on the back of the head.  Today, I pay tribute to the history of this day.  No, I am not trying to guilt you into showing your gratitude toward your mother(s), but if these words inspire you, then please give me credit.

In the Beginning

The first celebration was held in 1908, thanks to Anna Jarvis,  who was not a mother. You see, her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, organized the “Mother’s Friendship Event” in the late 1800s to raise awareness of the lousy sanitation systems and high infant mortality rates. Reeves Jarvis was joined by other powerful women of that era, including Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Elizabeth Smith, founders of the American Women Suffrage Association. Mother’s Day in the Twenty-First Century is also a fight for the protection and rights of motherhood, not from lousy sanitation but other social conditions that threaten the health and safety of mothers and children.

Remember Bambi?

This Disney classic from the 1940s is, in my opinion, the unspoken fear of new parents, namely, what will happen to my child if I die. Not long into the movie, while young Bambi and her mom are foraging, a hunter kills the mother, leaving Bambi alone and scared.  For the record, I think I would still cry. Click the short video link to test your own reaction.

I will acknowledge that Bambi found the love and support of her forest community throughout the course of the movie.  But the beginning was a killer. Maybe it was post-partum depression that I failed to shake all these years later.  The hunter-shooting Bambi’s mom haunted my sleep when my children were young. Truth be told, I do not think a mother ever loses that bond. And today, mothers have to worry about safety and health from hunters who come in many shapes and forms.

The Patron Saint of Mothers

Who would have thought that a woman born in the 1920s in Ohio would become the patron saint of mothers in the Twentieth Century? This is the woman who said, “Children make your life important” and “Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving.”  Mrs. Bombeck’s miracles include raising children on a single income as she was an unpaid stay-at-home mom.  Writing only six stories for her local paper before she became a syndicated columnist. Her third miracle was not turning water into wine but preparing homemade casseroles with cooking instructions for her family once fame came knocking on her door. Most importantly, she bridged the gap between feminism and traditional twentieth-century housewife norms.   This seven-minute video is the best introduction to this amazing woman.

Erma Bombeck became a celebrity who made motherhood cool while articulating the emotional rollercoaster of this journey.  She was traditional and revolutionary.  She fought to protect women. Her columns were therapy for generations of women. I cannot match the quality of her prose in expressing my admiration for mothers everywhere.

Version 1.0.0

Erma Bombeck – When God Created Mothers

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of “overtime” when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?

  • She has to be completely washable, but not plastic.
  • Have 180 movable parts… all replaceable.
  • Run on black coffee and leftovers.
  • Have a lap that disappears when she stands up.
  • A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair.
  • And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ’What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course, the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, ’I understand, and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

“Lord,” said the angel, touching His sleeve gently, “Go to bed. Tomorrow…”

“I can’t,” said the Lord, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick… can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger… and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

“But she’s tough!” said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

“Can it think?”

“Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. “There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You were trying to push too much into this model.”

“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “It’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

“You are a genius,” said the angel.

The Lord looked somber. “I didn’t put it there,” He said.

Monica Stynchula

Founder and CEO; Reunion Care – Credit for Caring

Monica is the founder and CEO of REUNIONCare, Inc., a health information technology company, and Credit For Caring (USPTO Trademark), a virtual social worker and e-commerce technology company. She founded and administered the AARP Innovation Lab Caregiver Accelerator, helping 43 companies enter the $72 billion caregiving marketplace.
Congress appointed Monica to the USA Small Business Administration National Women’s Business Council from 2019-2022. She served on the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration Telehealth Advisory Council, which developed Florida’s first comprehensive Telehealth statute. 
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