Mothers have a keen sense of what parenthood is all about.
| 6:00 a.m. May 5, 2021
With the number of “Best Mom Ever” mugs sitting on desks, counters and coffee tables in the world, clearly many moms are doing things just right for their families. These Longboat Key moms share what makes a good mom in today’s world, and in their homes.
Donna Sharp-Blaney, who has two daughters in their 20s, said that trying to see the world through your children’s eyes is essential. Letting go of the “boomer” way of thinking, Sharp-Blaney said, is key.
“You have to listen and understand that it’s going to be their world,” Sharp-Blaney said.
For Heather Rippy, being a good mom in 2021 means taking the time to really know and listen to her children — often, that means eschewing the gobs of screen time so prevalent today. The family doesn’t do cell phones or other “time sucks,” Rippy said, and tries to spend a lot of time outside.
“You have to find time every day to look at their faces and listen to them,” Rippy said. “It’s about allowing them to be who they are and allowing them to grow older.”
Rippy has two daughters, 9 and 11. She said that saying, “Let’s try that,” is better than, “That won’t work.”
Linn Torres has a 26-year-old daughter whom she said is “the apple of (her) eye.”
“You have to give them space,” Torres said. “You care deeply but let them live their own life and make their own mistakes.”
In other words, you can’t have the leash too tight on your kids, no matter what age, Torres said.
As a grandmother, Sandy Wood has plenty of mom experience. The key to being a great mom these days, in her opinion, is that you must teach your child coping skills and teach them to take responsibility. Teaching a child to navigate any scenario will help them throughout their lives. You can offer help, but they have to take care of things.
“You never know what is going to happen,” Wood said. “That way, that child is going to be able to say, ‘I can get through this.’”
Judith Zunz has two daughters, one in elementary school and one about to graduate college, and tries to teach them to be respectful and inquisitive.
“It’s important to teach them respect and love for all things around us,” Zunz said. “And always say the truth, because why not? It’s good to have limits and sometimes say no, but teach your kids to ask why.”
Kids are smart, Zunz said, and they’ll be better off if things are explained to them rather than parents just saying “because I said so.” And if all that makes you tired, then Zunz said that moms need rest, too.
“Moms have to take care of themselves, because if you are good, everything’s good,” Zunz said.
There are four generations of mother-daughter relationships in Jorie Riesen’s world, and Riesen, who’s the second-youngest. To be a mom these days, she said, requires a lot of flexibility and a willingness to not take yourself so seriously.
“We have a lot of mother-daughter dynamics going on, so it’s interesting to see that,” Riesen said. “We’re all still learning from each other … it’s nice to have the freedom to be a work in progress.”
Karen Pashkow loves watching her daughter be a mom. She said her daughter, Megan, does a great job of listening to her kids and keeping up. A good mom these days should stay in tune with her kids and help them carve out life paths.
“Especially with a 12 year old, he's really aware of what's going on and he has concerns and sometimes they don't know how to verbalize how they're feeling,” Pashkow said. “She really zooms in on them, and is able to connect to it to connect with them and know when she needs to step in. And you know, sometimes you have to step away. She's really good at that.”