by Jean Loxley-Barnard
We all have just one birth mother. But many of us, perhaps most, have more than one mother relationship. More of us than ever have - or are - step-mothers and many of us have relationships with women who function like a mother to us.
Often we are also - or have - a mother-in-law, a relationship difficult for some, often much maligned, and, happily, wonderful when it works.
I had my mother until three years ago and am a birth mother to a daughter and a son as well as a step-mother to three sons. I love them all. My son and oldest step-son work with me and I was delighted when I signed a note to my step-son TWSM (The Wicked Step Mother) and he told me that it took him the longest time to figure out what that meant! It was a very good sign.
Getting along with step-families is probably much easier when all the children are grown before their respective parents marry, as our children were. And we had the additional advantage of both families knowing each other since all five were children.
When blended family relationships work well, as ours thankfully does, it really adds joy to life. It is the way it should be.
I really have a sixth child, a daughter who grew on me rather than in me over the last 24 years of working together. She too has known her 'sister' and four 'brothers' all these years and they have a sibling relationship.
I was delighted when I signed a note to my
While I know not everyone is thrilled with the people their children marry, I can only say it is a great gift when we are. I carry with me a loving poem my daughter-in-law wrote for me last year for Mother's Day and it is one of my favorite gifts of all time. She is a better mother, homemaker and person than I am. If I were to feel bad about that I would hurt only myself. But I am thrilled for my son and for me!
And I could not be more pleased with my sons-in-law if I had selected them myself. When each of us rejoices when our children and their spouses are better than we are, the world will become a better place.
I have other mother-type relation-ships, as probably most of you do. The main thought for all of them is this: life is infinitely happier if we adopt 'the mother viewpoint.' Regardless of the relationship, be it birth, adoption, heart, step, in-law or Godmother, let it be love-based and it will grow and bring the only true riches.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.