Mother’s Day: Three generations reflect on motherhood

Three generations discuss motherhood for Mother's Day. From left to right: Noah Perrin, 3, and his mother Ashlee Perrin, Carol Legge and Tammy Keeler. Ashley Miller/Daily

 MIDDLETOWN – With Mother’s Day on Sunday, three local women representing three  generations from one family reflected recently on what it means to be a mom.

“Being a mom is hard,” Ashlee Perrin of Winchester said. ” No one can mentally or physically prepare you for what it means to be a good mom. But I learned from the best.” 

“There’s no greater joy than being a good mom,” Tammy Keeler of Middletown said. “It’s been the best experience I could have ever asked for. The love I have for my children is unconditional and I would do anything for them. I know everyone says that, but it’s true. Being a mom is such a blessing.”

“Motherhood is difficult and sometimes I wish I could go back and redo it,” Carol Legge of Cross Junction said. “But I cherish the moments I have and continue to make new ones with my grandbabies.”

A Good Mom

Carol Legge and her daughter Tammy Keeler. Courtesy photo

A good mom teaches her children how to live their life to the fullest, is there for her children when they need her, provides food, shelter and unconditional love and teaches her children the importance of self-worth said the women.

As a mom to a two-year-old, Perrin said she didn’t understand what it meant to be a mom until she became one herself.

“I thought I knew what being a mom would be like because I helped raise my nephew,” she said. “I’m still learning all the stages and I’m never prepared for the next.”

Legge said that while motherhood has had its many benefits, she wishes she could go back and change certain moments.

“I was working and didn’t have the time it takes to raise children,” she said. “I didn’t have good examples in my own childhood to show me what it means to be a good mom. I know that love is especially important. And caring.  Just to be able to communicate with your kids and support them in what they do. That’s pretty much what I think makes a good mom.”

Keeler embraces her daughter Ashlee Perrin on her wedding day. Courtesy photo

Keeler said being a mom is the hardest job in the world, but is also the most rewarding.

“I wish I had been easier on my mom, given more time to my children,” she said. “I sincerely hope every woman gets the chance to experience being a mom in one form or another.”

Life Lessons

As a mother of four children, Keeler said she learned the hard way about the importance of putting her own happiness first.

“I know that makes me sound self-centered but it took me a long time to realize that if I wasn’t happy with who I was, I wasn’t being a good mom,” she said. “If I could do it all over again, I would simply reprioritize my life. I lost who I was.”

Perrin said her mother was always in her life. Whether it was supporting her at cheerleading competitions or cheering on her brothers, Keeler was quite literally a team mom never missing a game, field trip or sleepover. 

“It was more she was deteriorating on the inside,” Perrin said. “You could tell she wasn’t happy with who she was.”

It’s taken Keeler a few years but said she’s finally found who she was supposed to be. As a successful event planner and painter, Keeler said she is up for the challenge of being the world’s best grandmother to two little boys.

She added:  “In a way, I’m starting over. I’m being more present in their lives. Which is something I tried to instill in Ashlee. Always be present in your children’s lives. It makes all the difference in the world.”

As for Perrin, she said she’s raising her son to appreciate moments, not materialistic things. Something she learned from her other mother as a young girl. 

“He doesn’t need name brand clothes or the newest toys,” she said. “He needs his mom and her unconditional love.”

“Mom guilt” is something Perrin said she finds frustrating in today’s society because in reality moms aren’t perfect. Raised not to care about materialistic things, she vowed when she became a first-time mom she would raise her son to be the best he can be, not what society deems he should be.

She added: “The best part of motherhood are the times that are tough. Even when he’s screaming in the grocery store and I’m ready to give up, I know it’s all worth it.”  

Favorite Mom Memories

“Some of my favorite memories are sitting at the table at mom’s enjoying her cooking,” Keeler said. “She’s one of the best cooks you’ll ever meet because she puts all the love she has into each meal.”

Perrin said one of her favorite memories was when she was out with friends one night and a man asked for her number.

“I gave him my mother’s because I was nervous,” she said laughing. “And I immediately called mom and told her what I had done. We still laugh about it today.” 

Other memories the women shared were moments of sacrifice, love and encouragement.

“When I learned I was pregnant, I called mom at 4 a.m. in the morning because she had to be the first person I told,” Perrin said. “Never mind I was living with my mother-in-law. She had to know first.” 

Legge added: “Tammy was driving one night and I kept telling her to watch the side of the road because if she didn’t she would end up in the ditch. And sure enough, she did. Moms know best.” 

Final Thoughts 

“She is one of the most admirable people I’ve met in my whole life and I love her a lot,” Keeler said about her mom. “She really didn’t have the best role models in either parent, but I’m so blessed. There are so many moms in this world, and God picked her to be my mom.”

Legge said she knows her daughter, granddaughter and great-grandchildren love her unconditionally. “If anything, I tried to teach Tammy two things: that a mother’s love is something you do and feel,” she said. “And secondly, she can do anything as long as she knows I love her.”

The pride in her voice was plain to hear.