In this recent quiz I did on facebook, claiming to be able to tell me What kind of a mom I am, it said I am a Lilly Munster kind of mom. “A kind of mom who would be embarassing at times but if my kids really needed me, they would always know I was there.” I remember watching the Munsters (and later adaptation Munsters Today) on tv when I was young. Lilly was the kind of mom who kind of floated through the children’s existence, being too dreamy sometimes, or reversely too inquisitive, too liberal at other times but generally always too supportive of both the good and the bad. As the kind of teenager I was, she failed to impress me. I mean what kind of mother was she that she didnt take a stand? Rule with some sense of discipline and rule? And this is who I am like?!?
While growing up, I was surrounded by friends who all had parents that ruled the school-work with an iron fist. There was strict and non negotiable homework time, rules about TV watching, about socializing, rigid timetables to be followed regarding most of the after school time. In all this, my parents, who in my memory of them never EVER forced me to do my homnework, stuck out like sore thumbs. While my friends swapped stories about their evil guardians and concoct plans to run away from their authoritarian parents, I would stay uncomfortably quiet, feeling left out, that I wasnt suffering at the hands of mine. I would not share stories of how we all watched a movie last night or how no one threw a fit in my house when I didnt get top marks in Arabic. My mom involvement was always a cheerful, almost bland acceptance of who we were, the you know you can do better right? Or the way to go- next time lets top that, shall we? I never got the feeling that they laid much emphasis on the whole first in class thing- or getting amazing grades. It’s weird now that I think about it but I simply have no memories of being made to study.
Of course the teenage years are meant to be angsty and hardly anyone I know actually liked their parents parenting skills. If they were too lenient they didnt care enough, if they were too strict they were ruining our lives. As far as being a parent goes, at that age, its a lose-lose situation. Someone quite wise has said, that nothing like being a parent to put your own childhood in perspctive, and as I sit here having been labelled a Lilly Munster mom by the Gods of Facebook, I realize that my mom was also embarassing in that sense- of never being the “normal” parent who doled out punishment when we failed to perform, for being the one who didnt lay emphasis on the studying as much as the education, for being the kind of parent who doggedly knew that her kid(s) were going to be good-great-brilliant at something, maybe just not at the academics of it all. While I wanted the texbook mom that the people around me had, I got one of those Lilly Munster types. And it looks now like history is about to repeat itself.