Skip to main content

Beacon Senior News

Mom wasn’t royalty, but she ruled

Apr 26, 2021 04:06PM ● By Michael Murphy
Cartoon drawing of ’50s mom holding baby with pink silhouette

It won’t be long before Meghan Markle’s royal baby bump results in Meghan and Harry’s second royal baby. Despite the couple’s efforts to no longer be working members of the royal family, the worldwide fascination over the births of their children continues.

When Prince Harry was asked his thoughts on parenting after baby Archie was born, he responded, “It’s great. Parenting is amazing. It’s only been two and a half days, three days, but we’re just so thrilled to have our own little bundle of joy.”

The timing of all this royal baby talk coincides with the observance of Mother’s Day on May 9, and has triggered thoughts of my own mother and the six children she raised.

While it’s true that parenting is amazing, it seems that for mothers, royalty or not, it goes beyond amazing. For mothers, there’s a dimension to being a parent that fathers simply don’t or can’t experience, no matter how much they cuddle, coo or carry the baby once it’s been delivered.

Like many fathers of my generation, I was in the hospital room as my wife gave birth to each of our three sons. I honestly felt sort of helpless and in the way, yet wanted to do my part. It seems that no matter how earnestly men try to share that entire process, the vicarious experience still falls way short of what the mother is going through—and childbirth usually isn’t the last time that proves true.

Since my generation, there’s been a big push to encourage fathers to take the opportunity to bond with their children more. However, during my childhood, I have the sneaky feeling that bonding with his six children was not high on my dad’s list of priorities. That was Mom’s job, and that’s just the way it was.

The year I was born, the country’s average family income was $3,100. I’d guess Dad’s 1940s policeman salary was below that, as he often moonlighted at other jobs.

While Dad worked as a cop, it was Mom who “walked the beat” at home 24/7. Back then, everything Mom did was by hand: laundry, cooking and discipline. Unfortunately for us six kids, “time out” had not yet been invented.

She never did get a driver’s license. Day trips were by city bus, and those were few and far between since dragging four or five little boys downtown on a bus hardly qualified as a fun outing. As a result, Mom was basically stuck at home, which was good for us kids but had to be rough on her.

I know that our situation was not unique. Most of my friends’ families mirrored ours.

Dads were employees while moms were just moms. As far as us kids were concerned, that worked out fine.

Dads can be hard to figure at times, but moms are different. Their love is more tangible. They’re not afraid to lay it out there for their kids to hear, see and feel. 

Because of that, although our births did not garner the worldwide attention as the births of Meghan’s and Harry’s babies have, none of us kids had any doubt that our mom welcomed each one of us into the world with the same love and feeling of amazement as Archie’s parents did.

Mom was not royalty. And none of us kids sported the title of prince or princess. Yet, while growing up, I certainly had everything that I needed to be happy—and I wouldn’t trade that for any fancy title.