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Mother's Day Music Mix: What Makes a Mom?

by Leigh Shulman May 9, 2010
The roots of Mother’s Day run deep and wide.

The day is celebrated differently on different days for different reasons worldwide, but all have in common a connection to some birthing body. It could be Mother Earth, Mother Mary and the day of the Immaculate Conception. It could be in protest to a war and the mothers who lose their children.

And every reason for Mother’s Day reflects tenfold the complicated relationships we have with our own mothers and children.

Maybe you lie about what you’ve been up to in order to keep her from worrying or asking questions. Or maybe you’re honest with her. I’m a bit of both; the older I get the less I need prevarication. It ain’t easy having a kid who lives like a gypsy, so all you traveling folk, call your Mama Kin.

Mama’s Got A Girlfriend to all the mamas whose papas aren’t around or those who never wanted one in the first place.

Moms are blamed for everything. Sometimes it’s their fault. You made me cry; you told me lies. You could have been a better friend to me, but Mama I’m Coming Home.

Bob Dylan’s lyrics always hit home whether sung by Jeff Buckley, Jack Johnson or the original Mama, You’ve Been On My Mind. “I’d just be curious to know if you can see yourself as clear as someone who has you on his mind.” Because I’m not sure we ever see our mother’s the way they see themselves. Or the way they are.

There’s Danzig’s Mother.

And what I think of as the Rolling Stone’s homage to American stay-at-home mom’s of the 60s. I won’t speak for moms today, but I’d like to think things have changed. Although I know from experience how difficult it can be to stay at home with your kid. Then I also know from experience the difficulty involved in making the choice to work. Often, it’s other mothers who criticize the most for choices made in this arena.

And finally,Rosanne Cash’s Motherless Children captures exactly what a mother means when she sings of life without your mom. Your father will do his best. Your husband will try to understand. Auntie will do. Sister will be there until she gets married, then she goes to her own life.

No matter who your mother is. She can be the perfect hot chocolate when its cold mom or she can miss your birthday or maybe your mother is an abusive alcoholic. Mom will always be in your life in some way, even when she is absent.

Moms aren’t perfect and never will be. Something that becomes all too painfully clear when you become a mother yourself.


What mama songs sings most loudly to you?

To see some of Matador team members and their moms, check out our Matador Mother’s Day celebration.

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