Tag Archives: Mothers Day

Being a mom is a job

Mom_Rusty_rocking_chair_v2Teddy Roosevelt once said that a Mom’s “career is more worthy of honor and more useful to the community than the career of any man …”

Too bad we don’t treat our Moms that way.

My Mom raised two boys.  My younger brother, by three years, was Charlie.  When Charlie came home and my Mom put him in my lap with my legs dangling over the side of the couch, and said, she’d gotten my brother from the hospital, I asked, “When does he go back.”

I found out he wasn’t going back and my Mom spent her time clothing and washing and cleaning and feeding and walking and reading and entertaining and teaching and getting us to school.

We lived at 143rd and Willis Avenue in the South Bronx and my Dad was the Superintendent of our building after he returned from service in World War II.  My brother and I never knew what we didn’t have.  But it must have been challenging for this young post war couple.

Our society is high on child-rearing but doesn’t fairly judge the worth of Moms who raise children.

Not then nor now.

Moms who are college educated pay a “mommy tax” of more than a million dollars in lost income when they have a child, according to Ann Crittenden, who wrote “The Price of Motherhood,” about “why the most important job in the world is still the least valued.” Continue reading


Mom with son

Mom with son

I remember being washed in a bassinet by my Mom, her friends looking on, and then not understanding why she thought it was such a big deal that I was born weighing 8 pounds 10 ounces and colicky.

It was a tough neighborhood, 143rd and Willis Avenue in the South Bronx, where my Dad was the building superintendent in the “picturesque” tenement we called home. There was a candy store next door, a firehouse with brass poles and friendly Dalmatians, the “el” train station, and, across the street, the Gramercy Boy’s Club.

My Mom’s favorite book was Black Beauty; it was the first book I read.

When I had a fight with “Johnny Upstairs,” my Dad got down on his knees and taught me how to punch “Johnny” back, at 5 years of age, and I found out soon my mother was a fighter.

We went to a bakery.  Mom said, “Sit here Johnny,” pointing to a straight back chair.  I may have been 10.  A woman entered the bakery yanked at my right arm, and said, “Give me that chair!”  My Mom, standing by the slanted glass bakery counter, took the woman’s right elbow, in hand, pulled her, quite quickly, and threw her, aiming at the slanting glass counter, saying, “You keep your hands off my son.”  Mom’s final coup de grace was swinging her heavily laden hand bag with her right arm from behind her back, with such force, the woman splashed up against the glass, and slid to the bakery floor.  The other patrons cleared a path.  My Mom looked at me, extended her hand, and said, “Come on Johnny.” Continue reading