So you may find it a bit confusing to come across a post about mothers on a blog about fatherhood. The first thing to keep in mind is that, as we all know, there would obviously be no fathers without mothers to begin with. The second is that this is my blog and I can do whatever I want. Nyah.
In all seriousness, there’s been something nagging at me about the perception of mothers in society (no, that is NOT a pun about nagging mothers. I’m not suicidal). We Dads have it pretty easy. For the most part, we’re seen as the B-team. The perception is that we’re the well-meaning stooges that chip in when Mom is absolutely unable, usually with hilarious if not disastrous results. Now I obviously don’t buy into that vision of fatherhood (as you can read in my previous post, “What It Means to be Dad”), but I get where the idea comes from. We can be clowns, and we do tend to “improvise” a lot (that stretched out sheet was a totally appropriate trampoline, and yes it was harnessed properly. Not my fault the kid can’t aim).
Point is, we have it way easier as far as general expectations go. For Dads, just showing up is a medal-worthy occasion. Moms, though? You don’t get to just show up. You have to show up looking like you just stepped off the cover of Glamour Magazine, with children who look like they stepped off the GAP KIDS catalog cover. Dad picked up a Lego he stepped on? Get that man a beer. Mom? She better make sure every toy has been put away in its very own mom-made, super crafty, organizing tub, that the spot on the floor it laid on has been swept and Lysoled, all the while insuring every inch of the rest of the house is the same. Dinner has to be home-made, nutritious and delicious, made only from the finest all natural, chemical and preservative free ingredients.
I fed my kids chicken nuggets and Jell-O last night. I think you get the picture.
You know what the worst part is, though? It’s that the group of people who are hardest on, and most judgmental of moms……are other moms. Why do you hate each other so much? I don’t get it. I’d think you would all link arms in a united front just to survive us and the children. My God, it’s gotten to the point where it’s not just the way a woman chooses to raise her child that’s up for dissection, BUT HOW THEY BRING THEM INTO THE WORLD, TOO. Oh, you didn’t go out into a specially prepared spot in the woods and give birth in crystal-clear water while Brahms was gently played by a string quartet in the background? Don’t you care about the child????
Yeah, it’s gotten a bit nuts. Don’t even start me on the whole breast vs. bottle fed war. I want no part of that.
Ladies, I’m not sure where you got this idea that you have to embody some impossible standard of perfection. If it was from us (the dads), you have my heartfelt apologies. I don’t think that’s the case, though. At least not totally.
I think there are two influences here. The first is that while Dads are result-driven, Moms are process-driven. Dad doesn’t really care what he feeds the kid so long as the child is still upright, healthy, and doesn’t have any body parts falling off. That’s not how Moms are wired, though. It’s driven into them from the time they pick up their first Cabbage Patch Kid that parenthood is supposed to be this wondrous journey like something out of a fairy tale. I don’t know about you, but my kids are more like a cautionary warning. They are messy, loud, and from what people have told me, just like other kids for the most part. Unless people are just being kind. That’s another story.
The second thing is that because of all those ideas that are pounded into their heads, some mothers feel so insecure about the job they’re doing that they judge lest they be judged first. It’s easier to feel good about the job you’re doing if you’re knocking someone else you don’t think is doing that same job as well. I feel for those people, I do. I feel for them because they’re so obsessed with perfection that they’re missing out on the beautiful crazy merry-go-round that is raising kids. Call me nuts, but with all the demands placed on parents, you should probably still have the opportunity to let go and just ENJOY it sometimes:
Lord knows you deserve it.
So ladies, there’s no point in trying to hold yourself up to some impossible standard of perfection, whether it be from others or yourself. You know why?
Because you already are perfect.
For most, you’re the first person that your children ever loved or was loved by. If nothing else, you’re definitely the first that comes to their mind when they think of someone loving them unconditionally. As long as they never question that love, you have done a perfect job. Delivered your child naturally? Perfect. Delivered caesarean? Perfect. Adopted? Perfect. Fostered? Perfect. Breastfed? Perfect. Bottle-fed? Perfect. Make them a roast to die for? Perfect. Give them Pizza Night? Perfect. Married to your high school sweetheart? Perfect. Raising your young’uns as a kick-ass single mom? Perfect. So long as those children grow-up knowing you always have their back, that you believe in them, and that you love them as adults just as much as you did when they were infants, you’re already perfect. You have nothing to prove to anyone.
So give yourself a break. You’re the best thing that ever happened to us, and we know it. We’re not always good at showing it, fathers or kids alike, but we know we’d be lost without you. Maybe life isn’t the fairy tale you imagined as a kid. Regardless, you’ll always be the queen to your own little brood:
ALL HAIL THE QUEEN!!
FOR MAMA ANGEL, GRANNY AWESOME, AND ALL THE OTHER ROYAL MOMS OUT THERE.
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