Reflections on Motherhood

By Barbara P. Benjamin, poet and author of Beneath the Surface (as Barbara Scott), children’s author of One White Christmas in Alabama and My Best Friend Millie

I am the mother of a 26-year-old daughter. I received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Auburn University in 1979. While my daughter was young, I happily chose to be a stay-at-home mother. When the school days arrived, I became a substitute teacher in the local school system where my daughter attended.

Homeward Bound
By Barbara P. Benjamin

Why, they ask, do you stay at home,

Where no one pays you, where you remain unknown?

Why, they ask, do you waste your degree,

In this world of ours, where knowledge is the key?

It opens the door to success…so they say,

As they rush out the door, day after day.

Looking in their eyes, face to face,

It’s as if happiness left, without leaving a trace.

Why, they ask, do you waste your degree?

If only, if only…they’d see what I  see.

I was raised in a military family. My father was a General and his career took him away from the family unit a lot. In this regard, my mother was my major hands-on parent on a day-to-day basis. She was (is) my complete role model from the feminine side of things. She is 88 and still my very best friend.

My family was (is) everything to me. As an Army brat, you move all the time. The only “constant” in your life is your family. You’re always the “new kid,” so the first friends you have in your new environment are always your own family. My parents were always there for me emotionally and physically (except where the job prevented my father from doing so).

I learned love and nurturing from day one. Our home was always peaceful and loving. There was no shouting or spanking. Friends were always welcome.

My mother was there 24/7…before school, after school, etc. I was a priority, and I felt very secure in that fact. She was a great homemaker and provided a warm “nest” time and time again, with each move we made.

I always knew she was happy being a mother and wife and homemaker: truly running the household on all levels. I inherited her joy for this job. I can honestly say that the only time in my life I have felt totally complete, is when I was raising my daughter. I awoke each day knowing who I was and what I would be doing. I never doubted my significance as a person.

As for knowing and/or using the principles of Attachment Parenting, I loved my child into adulthood, enjoyed each phase of her growth, enjoyed being a part of all her activities and interests, enjoyed her friends as they played at our house, and so on. Did her father and I actively use a family bed? No. If she wanted to sleep with us, that was certainly fine. Did I breastfeed? No. Did I nurture, love, rock, and cuddle with bottle feedings? Yes. Did her father and I respect her as a person with thoughts and feelings worthy of acknowledging? Yes. Do I regret spending so much time of my life raising her? Absolutely not! I lived for those moments, and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t deeply miss them!

Milestones
By Barbara P. Benjamin

First she’s a baby

So tiny and small,

Delicate and fragile

Like a china doll.

Then she’s a toddler

With words and emotions,

Running and laughing

Causing so much commotion.

Watch as she grows

For in no time at all,

You, too, will have a child

Entering school in the fall.

My husband and I live in Huntsville, Alabama USA. Fortunately, so do my daughter and son-in-law.

Wide-Eyed Innocence
By Barbara P. Benjamin

Hand on the door,

You’re not a little girl anymore.

Stepping out into the world of school and all its splendor,

Yet I still see you as fragile and tender.

Are you sure you don’t need me…just to fasten your coat?

Or maybe walk beside you and carry your tote?

I watch you shake your head no, as to say…

I can do it, Mom! Don’t spoil my big day.

So off you go, away with the others,

While I retreat slowly, a teary-eyed mother.

2 thoughts on “Reflections on Motherhood”

  1. Thank you for sharing! I relate to this so much! My parents both went to Auburn; I was raised as an Army brat (my dad is still in the Army), and I just became a SAHM to my daughter after teaching and being in the Army myself! I love the idea of the constancy of a SAHM. But, my mother typically worked while we moved from place to place. And, I can say that it was still the constancy of my family and the love that my mother and father provided that helped during these times of transition.

  2. I loved reading about your experience. I too chose to stay home with my children and then when they were in school got a teaching position nearby. I still felt that my most important job was raising my children, and I enjoyed every minute of it. After they graduated from high school, I went back to school and got a graduate degree in counseling. Now I have a new wonderful career and I have no regrets about the time I spent at home with my children. I have one grandchild who lives nearby and spend all the time I can with him.

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