A few years ago, we asked readers to tell us what they appreciated about their moms.
One writer responded, "That she has died." And added the phrase, "Ding dong, the witch is dead."
Certainly, some people feel that way about their mothers -- and perhaps with good reason.
The sentiment is extreme, of course, but a good reminder that family relationships aren't always modeled after 1950s TV shows.
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We know very few June Cleavers.
But readers who have shared stories about their momsare more likely to remind us that a great many women are doing a great many positive things.
A century ago, women worked from dawn to dusk, only to darn socks by candlelight. It was a physically demanding way of life.
Today, women have appliances and shortcuts to handle most of the heavy lifting. Mom can buy cookie dough ready for the oven and prewashed salad ready for the plate.
But being a mom remains demanding. For every June Cleaver, there are lots of single moms and blended families and wayward children of all ages. And lots of fears and uncertainties come standard with every child.
Aprons are chic now, but not usually because Mom has been home baking all day.
More likely she's been picking the kids up from day care or school on the way home from work before she rushes out to some evening obligation. And somewhere in there is a load a laundry and a trip to the grocery store.
Truth be told, it's hard to be a mom -- with or without the apron and appliances. It's a tall order to be "all things" to a little person.
And the job description doesn't change much even when that little person grows up.
Even in a rough economy, a person would be nuts to apply for the job of "mother." The hours are long. The pay is laughable. And the responsibilities are immense.
Some days are better than others. And talk about an emotional roller coaster.
Some women become a mother by giving birth -- whether they want to or not. Others desperately want to have a child, but it never happens.
Either can be heartbreaking.
On the other hand, many women fill the role of mother without actually giving birth to those they nurture. Friends, grandmas, aunts, mothers-in-law, wives, sisters, daughters, teachers, coaches, mentors, caregivers and neighbors can fit into this category. (And despite what you've seen in the Disney movies, not all stepmoms are evil.)
Women proved long ago they can do anything -- from running a nation to running a backhoe -- and it doesn't diminish their accomplishments in the slightest to also recognize that they're uniquely qualified for motherhood.
One story about inherent differences between a man and a woman illustrates the point.
If man is in a china shop and there's a loud crash, he will quickly back up so nobody thinks he was the oaf. A woman, on the other, instinctively will step forward to see if she can help.
Nurture is part of a woman's nature, for her own children and others' as well.
Anyone raising a child is appreciative for the "other mothers" in their child's life.
And generally, we love our moms.
Even as adults, we remain grateful today for the many "moms" in our lives.