You learn to be a mother on the job | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

THE AUTHOR’S mom Lourdes Corrales Razon
THE AUTHOR’S mom Lourdes Corrales Razon

It is Mothers’ Day. Moms all over the planet—take a bow. This is our day to shine!


Long ago, when there was no social media or Facebook or texting (I can hear young people gasping, “OMG that would be like being dead!”), telephone lines were jammed with calls on this special day. Telegraph offices worked overtime with messengers delivering, nonstop, words of love and devotion to millions of mothers all over the world.


Flowers sold out as fast as on Valentine’s Day, especially red roses. Needless to say, Hallmark always made a killing.


With Internet today, it has become easy (perhaps too easy?) to reach across time and space to communicate the “warm and fuzzies” to one another. Bouquets of blooms in all shapes and colors zoom through cyberspace. One has only to imagine the fragrance.


I dare say that it is no longer a show of thoughtfulness to send good wishes and love with beautifully written, carefully edited prose or poetry. It is done for us with just one click.


The heart need not be engaged. Pity.


We have instant contact. Nothing could be faster or more efficient. And absolutely nothing could be more impersonal. Someone recently wrote, “We are so connected, and yet so very disconnected.” True.


I miss old-fashioned door-to- door greetings, the sound of a voice on the telephone, the touch of a hand, a hug. Where are my mushy slobbery kisses?


When my children were little, I got drawings made in school; arts and crafts that took genius to identify. My son once gave me a cardboard house and had used up all my scotch tape to keep it together. It stayed in my room for months until it fell apart.


They grew up. The gifts started to become more expensive. The cards had longer words, deeper thoughts. Reading them made me gasp in disbelief and often feel guilty. I was an unrelenting disciplinarian. How could they still love me?


Mommy 101


My introduction to motherhood began the night my firstborn came into the world. He was my parents’ first grandchild, so until his sister’s birth, the sun rose and set on this bedimpled little boy who knew the make of every car before he was two.


On the night he was born, my dad helped wheel me out of the delivery room where (I later learned) I had just survived a harrowing breech delivery. Thank God I was a young mommy (19); otherwise it could have been worse. They also said I just missed having a C- section because I had come to the hospital a little late.


Mama and I were in Diliman that afternoon listening to the bells of the UP Carillon Tower while timing my contractions. Labor had started gently that morning.


There was a concert, and those 48 bells forged in the Netherlands made wonderful music. We sat in the car happily eating boiled peanuts and loving our quality time together. She never let on that she was nervous for me.


My dad had an uncertain smile on his face when he took me to my room. Solemnly he said: “Eres ya una mama.” And I replied: “Y tu un abuelo!” And we both laughed. Nervous laughter.


Was he perhaps thinking I was too young? Did he know I would fall on my face? Maybe he felt I was not ready?


Or was he thinking of his own mother who died before he was 3?


Did he wonder what kind of a mother I would be?


Unfortunately, he had reason to worry. I was never pedestal material. And I did drop the ball. I messed up, royally. But God picked up the pieces!


What makes a woman a mother?


World famous guru Rajneesh says:


“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”


I asked several senior moms what word comes to mind when they think of a mother.


One said, selfless sacrifice. Several agreed on unconditional love. Many said patience. Still another said, happiness. A lady close to my heart wrote: “I didn’t have one.” This made me sad. I cannot imagine growing up without a mama.


Looking back on my long and incredibly blessed journey, I have discovered that being a mother is a role a woman fulfills in small increments. You can’t be a mother all at once. You become one. You learn on the job.


It is full-time, for life, 24/7, heart-wrenching, frustrating, exciting, painful, ecstatic, nerve-wracking, beautiful, thankless, bitter, sweet. I could go on and on.


Even at its worst, a mother cannot throw in the towel. I don’t know a mom who has not considered it, even only for a moment. But through the roughest times she must keep on trying.


At this late stage of my life I don’t know if I finally have gotten it right. Does anyone, ever?




I thank God for my mother—Lourdes Corrales Razon, the epitome of generosity and kindness, beautiful in every way, the love of my father’s life. When she was only 55, Jesus took her home to heaven. Although she left us over 50 years ago, it still hurts. I miss her every day.


My favorite writer Mitch Albom in his bestseller “For One More Day” says it like this:


“You count the hours you could have spent with your mother. It’s a lifetime in itself.”

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