MamaBlogger365 – The “Other” Mother by Kate Fineske

Every Monday morning around 8 a.m., my mother-in-law arrives at my home and immediately starts to settle in.

MeAndMyMIL-REV2She hangs up her coat, opens up her laptop, and passes out the traditional donut holes for my kids’ breakfast. (Grandma’s “special” treat!) After a quick talk about the forthcoming weather and then a brief review of the day’s schedule, she moves on with her morning routine – grabbing book bags, organizing kids’ coats, gently rinsing leftover dirty dishes from the prior evening.

Meanwhile, I jet out the door – coffee in one hand, large briefcase in the other. I race out to begin my one and only loooong workday away from the home as an adjunct college instructor – confidently leaving the kids with their very capable “other mother” for the day.


At the end of this very long day I come home exhausted to a neat and tidy house, with finished homework in book bags, packed lunches prepared for Tuesday, and three children quietly tucked into bed.

As my mother-in-law slips out of my house (that she has so lovingly cared for in my absence) I try my best to regroup from the long, draining day. On occasion, I sneak up to my children’s rooms to peek in on them as they sleep.

And it never fails – after only a day of being gone from them – my children still always look a day older to me.

Moving Forward Yet Moving Further Away…

Minute by minute. Hour by hour. Day by day. Week by week. Year by year.
We watch our kids grow. (And they grow so quickly.)

We watch as they develop from newborns (who barely open their eyes), to babies (who are just beginning to crawl), to toddlers (who can walk, then run, then jump and dance).

We observe proudly as they learn what we sometimes take for granted, such as “pumping” on a swing or maybe swimming across a pool. We often continue to watch as they take on more complex assignments like forming their own friendships and dealing with conflict and sadness.

Each step, each milestone taking them closer towards their own independence.
Each step, each milestone taking us as parents further away from their dependency.

And this is when it hits me…
Someday, eventually, I may be the “other” mother.

The change is imminent.

I hear laughter and I see tears. I fix boo boos with Band-aids and a kiss. I assign “time outs” for bad behaviors and try my best at modeling and teaching my own kids how to be compassionate, hardworking and unique individuals.

And so did my mother-in-law with her own children when they were small.

Somehow, she has successfully survived this change.
And it gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, I will too.


The days of the week continue to fly by.

Tuesday comes and goes. Wednesday and Thursday pass by in a blur. Suddenly the weekend is here and is over just as quickly as it arrived. And again it is Monday.

Like clockwork 8 a.m. arrives, bringing with it our “other” mother, to settle in for the day.

I race out the door – coffee in one hand, large briefcase in the other. Yet what I neglected to mention to you in my opening story above, is another consistency…

Almost every Monday I forget to grab breakfast.

Likewise, without fail, almost every Monday on my drive to campus I find, tucked away in my purse by my mother-in-law, an everything bagel with cream cheese (Yum! My favorite!), cut neatly and ready for on-the-go eating.

It reminds me again and again that there is one thing us mothers never forget how to do, and that is to take care of our children – even as an “other” mother.

And of course, every Monday, I silently wonder how I got so fortunate to find my own amazing “other” mother…

Leave a Comment. Sometimes I forget to reflect on my mother-in-law’s life and how hard she too has worked as a mother to got from point A to point B. What “other” mothers have played an important roll in your life?


This post has been contributed on behalf of The National Association of Mothers Centers, whose mission is to create a community of women, who through mutual support and public advocacy, explore, enrich and value the maternal experience.

The post author, Kate Fineske, currently is a staff member with the National Association of Mothers’ Centers where she maintains and provides the content to the Mothers Central Blog – the Parenting Blog of the NAMC. She is also responsible for helping the NAMC work to build stronger connections and support with the local Mothers’ Center Chapters nationally.

Kate is a longtime member of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers through her local chapter of the Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo in Ohio. She and her husband are busy raising 3 children ages 1-8. Kate’s professional background is as a graphic designer in the creative and education industry. Since 2005, she has been using her professional skills by actively volunteering with the Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo in various leadership positions. She also blogs personally at

You can connect with Kate via Twitter (@katefineske) and/or also connect with the NAMC via twitter (@MothersCenters) or Facebook.

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