If you want to do something extra nice for your mom this Mother’s Day, try this: Allow her to be human.

We hold mothers to incredibly high standards.

We expect them to be all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving, all the time, without a single day off, not even a coffee break. (We should have gone union long ago.)

We expect nothing shy of perfection from our mothers.

We expect them to see out of the backs of their heads, administer swift justice from the front seat of a mini-van, and know every child’s motivation, mood and shoe size at the drop of a grilled cheese.

Well, sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes mothers crack.

They snap answers, cut lose with an unwarranted tirade, or one day sit at the kitchen table in a daze saying, “Oreos with peanut butter for dinner? Fine. Sure. Whatever.”

The fact is, mothers are human. This is a startling revelation to some of you, but it’s true.

Mothers are fallible and, as such, they sometimes can be shortsighted. They can say the wrong thing, take a wrong turn, and on rare occasions (and I do emphasize the word rare) make a bad decision.

You think Elvis’ mother never once grabbed her pulsating head and begged the kid to give up the guitar and consider accounting?

You think Paul Revere’s mother didn’t beat herself for saying she didn’t care how late his friend stayed out, his curfew was midnight? You think Sylvester Stallone’s mother doesn’t regret telling her son that fighting is never the answer?

Mothers may pretend to know it all, but they don’t. Most mothers try to do the best they can with what they have and hope their mistakes don’t cause permanent damage.

Pity Emeril’s mother

Consider Joseph Ratzinger’s mother. Insiders say she once told her son he didn’t have a good head for wearing hats. How was she to know he would one day become Pope? And poor Emeril’s mother. Not even a saint world have the patience for a boy constantly running through the kitchen yelling, “Bam! Bam! Bam!” and adding garlic to everything you cooked.

You have one bad day, one bad moment, one terse slip of the tongue, and that’s what they remember.

One time, one measly time, Shakespeare’s mother says, “Will, you should go outside and play cricket like the other boys; all this writing can’t be good for you,” and that’s what the neighbor’s talk about.

Ben Franklin’s mother makes one off-the-cuff remark, “You take that kite outside in a storm one more time mister, and I wouldn’t want to be in your knickers when your father gets home.” They still talk about it at family reunions centuries later.

Mothers are human. They get tired. They get crabby, and on really bad days may attempt to get even.

Mothers long to be perfect, but they aren’t. They are a good group over all and it’s time we cut them some slack. Allow your mom a bad call now and then, and even an occasional slip of the tongue.

To err is human, to forgive is a divine gift for Mother’s Day.

Lori Borgman’s new book “All Stressed Up and No Place To Go” is now available wherever books are sold.


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