McGregor Says: Essential tools for motherhood

A couple of items crossed my computer screen this past week that I thought may help me write a column for Mother’s Day.

Neither one was related to the other intentionally, but they did tweak my imagination.

First, I saw an ad for a book titled,  The Modern Mother’s Handbook: How to Raise a Happy, Healthy, Smart, Disciplined and Interesting Child, Starting From Birth.  The Publisher’s notes describe the book this way:

“While this handbook can be read in only 60 minutes, it’s packed with 10 years’ worth of no-nonsense, actionable advice for new moms who want to learn how to sleep-train their baby, get a toddler to love eating healthy foods, avoid common parenting mistakes, know the rules for playdates, TV and video games — and raise a happy, healthy, smart, disciplined and interesting child.

“Should your baby sleep alone from day one? Can formula save your sanity? Are pacifiers a good thing? What should Dad’s job be? How do you discipline a toddler? What are the tricks for healthy eating habits? All these questions are expertly answered, and so much more!”

Wow, you can learn all that in 60 minutes, what a time saver that would be. I know my Mom didn’t have a lot of spare time raising all us kids and keeping house, but if she could have read a book like that before she had her first child, I’m sure raising her and the next five would have been a piece of cake.

The second item I saw was a picture of a wooden spoon accompanied by the question, “Other than serving food, what else was this used for in your house growing up?”

Now the connection I made is that because the mothers of my era growing up didn’t have that 60-minute handbook to read, they had to find other ways of coming up with “no nonsense actionable advice to raise a happy, healthy, smart, disciplined and interesting child.”

When Mom didn’t have time to sit down and read advice books, and when the wooden spoon was hanging right there, handy, she could develop healthy eating habits in her kids, teach the rules for playing, and set bedtimes very quickly and efficiently.

There is a major debate about punishing children by spanking or hitting and I think we all agree it is good that all of that is no longer socially acceptable, but has the pendulum swung too far the other way?

I read a quote: “I was spanked as a child and developed a life-long psychological condition called respect for others.”

My tiny, sweet mother could get all three unruly sons with one swing of a fly swatter and we knew that if that plastic web came off she would still have the wire in her hand. We learned very quickly to be happy, disciplined, interesting children.

Apparently Duchess Kate read the handbook so we know our future king will probably never have a royal spanking and will grow up to be a kind and caring king. I’m sure that bodes well for the British Empire. I’m also sure that the Queen had thoughts about taking a fly swatter to Charles a couple of times.

But the harshest tool any mother has ever used against a child is when she quietly says, “You’ve disappointed me.”  Nobody ever wants to disappoint their Mom.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Do not disappoint your Mother.

At least that’s what McGregor says.