When the Tables Start to Turn (by Darah)

For years I had been so focused on mothering my own kids—reading, observing, conversing with peers, and essentially learning all that I can about all this monstrous job entails—that it never occurred to me that I could put those same skills to good use to help me better understand my own mother.  As a mother, I am constantly striving to improve my abilities to communicate with and relate to each one of my kids and the respective stages {crises} they are going through.  Having survived so many intense experiences myself in so few years, {which will all be presented in my not-yet published memoir,} admittedly, I realize that I have become hardened to the sensitivities of others.  In lieu of offering compassion, I try to motivate those closest to me much like a drill sergeant {thinks he is} inspiring his apprehensive wet-behind-the-ear recruits.  I guess this style doesn’t work so well for most civilians or many of my loved ones.

These past few days spent around the house, we have been with my brother’s family who had been lodging next door at the neighbors, {my parents!} Doing a lot of thinking, I have been trying to understand family dynamics from a fresh optic. It was truly amazing when I finally made a discovery, and in the blink of an eye, saw things in a whole new light—a true awakening.  It doesn’t happen all too often, but when it does, I embark upon a crusade to encourage others to share in this grand epiphany.

I am trying not to be evasive and there is really no earth-shattering news that I am neglecting to report. Basically, it is just the realization that there comes a time in a woman’s life, when she must openly and honestly regard her own mother as simply another imperfect woman, vulnerable and insecure, toiling with those issues that mature women face.   Our mothers may not be up all night consoling a frightened preschooler, or tending to a sick baby, but they battle their own demons—menopause, retirement issues, body image, mortality, feelings of regret, loss—you name it.

Absorbed in my own world writing about my personal adventures with parenthood, I often forget to look towards my own mother with empathy and an acceptance for what may lie ahead for me and my own daughters—decades down the road.  The journey is full of surprises and each era brings new joys and new struggles.

Like a pendulum ceaselessly swinging back and forth, one day we find ourselves relying upon our mother {or spouse or friend,} for emotional support and the very next day, they are the weary one in need of a shoulder to lean on.  The key is to recognize when it is our turn to lead. Being strong for another is a daunting proposition.  Especially a parent.

I think we are only given in life what we can handle.  And I do believe that we are more prepared to assume our changing responsibilities than we are willing to accept or admit.

It is all just a cycle.  Life is like that. 


Written by Darah Zeledon. Mother of five, freelance writer, small business owner, and fitness freak, Darah has just returned to the US after living 9 years with her large brood in South America.  Through an angle of humor, Darah´s uniquely optimistic perspective of raising children in today’s unstable world has been strongly influenced by her experiences running a household and various businesses in several foreign lands.  You can read more of her here.