Bits 'n' Bites on Motherhood

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Mothers: the good, the bad and the ugly

Image: Photo of, and quote from, Emmanuel Jal: 'The worst people on earth are not only those who commit evil, but those who stand by and turn a blind eye.'“Motherhood is … difficult and rewarding …”

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more www.albertevilleneuve.ca.

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-SinclairMotherhood is not meant for every woman. I have always admired women who understood that motherhood wasn’t for them and decided to forego having children. At the same time, I have always admired women who couldn’t have children of their own but decided to adopt and fulfill their dream of nurturing a child.

Being a mother can be one of the most difficult challenges in a woman’s life because it requires skill, patience, loving care, and a long-term commitment. We can all recall special moms who despite life’s challenges were able to remain focused and happy because the greatest gift you can share with others is your own happiness.

  Image: 'Mother of many' - photo of woman surrounded by many children. Provided by the author.
  Mother of many - photo provided by the author.

Aurore was an amazing mother of the previous generation who raised ten children on the farm. Despite her impressive brood that demanded a lot of household planning, parenting and cooking, Aurore’s home was always open to relatives, visitors and labourers who joined the harvest bees. Aurore (which means dawn in English) was often up before dawn so she could deal with the multitude of everyday chores that required her attention.

Krisztina was an only child but her mother always made sure her daughter was not spoiled. She was open and honest about everything and encouraged her daughter to achieve the highest degree of education. She wanted Krisztina to be able to cope with anything life threw at her … and sure enough, when the Russians invaded Hungary, Krisztina had to leave on short notice and make her way to Canada where she finished her studies, learned French and English and forged a new life for herself.

When you are a mother, you are never alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” — Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty.

For women of my generation, independence came at a cost. We juggled a career while assuming household chores and raising our children. When some of us discovered our spouses were emotionally immature and irresponsible, we went our separate ways, often raising our children on our own and making sure they were well cared for and loved.

This made for a special bond between mother and child. I am blessed to have this special bond with my daughter who is an excellent mother. I also have a privileged relationship with my grandchildren, which reminds me of the law of attraction: “You reap what you sow.”

Until you become a parent, you can’t begin to discover your capacity for strength, love and fatigue.” (Peter Gallagher) * My daughter can certainly vouch for that!

Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. We have all seen or heard of terrible mothers. I remember the story of a mother who vented her frustration on one of her daughters. She would often deprive her of her evening meal. Instead the child had to kneel in a corner of the kitchen with arms outstretched. And when the girl lowered her arms, the mother would hit her arms with the broom. Is it surprising that this young girl ended up marrying a man who abused her both physically and mentally? No one came to her rescue!

Horror stories of children being tortured by their mother or stepmother abound. Two year-old Melody Pheng drowned when her mother kept her submerged in a filled bathtub until she stopped breathing. And that is only one of many incidences of torture. We have all been following the trial of a Kanata former RCMP counter-terrorism officer who tortured and starved his son while the stepmother turned a blind eye. “The worst people on earth are not only those who commit evil, but also those who turn a blind eye.” — Emmanuel Jal.

A mother’s love should run deep and true. Every child deserves that much!


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