Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Alright!  It's been a little while since I shared an opinion piece. This topic really got my attention today because I recently and frequently get phone calls and emails from my past clients about various challenges of young motherhood.  From requests for care providers to questions about the relationships between friends and other mom's during this time of transition.  I get questions about dealing with family who may not support certain choices, and the list goes on and on.

Check out this article at HuffPost, and then come back to hear my 2 cents...if you want!

First, I'm going to go on record as saying that I like this Mommy...a lot.  She's going to be just fine.  My 97 year old grandma just told me that she (and her whole family) is healthy largely because of how much we laugh together.  A good sense of humor about motherhood, and being willing to show those less than glamorous moments with humor and humility will carry her a long way.

First the photo.  I loved it.  I am confused about why she was accused of oversharing.  You can hardly see anything. I'm so sick of the ridiculous double standard of seeing breasts in this country...if that's what it was...which it often is.  We love boobs in this country, so long as they are shown as sexual. I have seen far more boobiness in victroria's secret commercials, celebrity awards shows, DWTS, reality tv, even video games show more than this. There is less than 20% of her skin showing, modest by most standards, she even opened the cupboard door to hide the side of her leg (revealing a messy cabinet just like mine). So it's not the amount of flesh showing.  People are freaked out by the fact that she is nursing her young toddler while on the toilet?  Really?  Mom's getting no privacy in the bathroom is a cliche.  there are meme's about it.  It's a joke among mothers.  The minute you answer the phone, or go to the bathroom, you know that your child will need something. It's a given.  This is not a big deal, it's life.  She was just going to be sitting there anyway, why not take care of two things at once?  Would the image have been less offensive if kiddo had been sitting on the floor next to her, drinking from a bottle?  News for you, there is no difference between those two things in regards to practicality.  Breastfed babies nurse, bottle fed babies take a bottle...both WHENEVER NEEDED.

I love that she said that she posted it to share her truth.  We all need to do more of that; enough with all the "supermom" crap.  Motherhood is as real as it gets.  I have cut little fingernails too short and made babies bleed (a little) and cry, caught blueberry paste barf in the palms of my hands, I have closed little hands in doors, I have lost my temper, I have reached the end of my rope and had to pass off crying babies in the night to my sweet husband, who knew the baby only wanted to nurse, but I just needed a few minutes to re-group.  Motherhood is messy, can't we all just admit it and let go of striving for a false representation of perfection.  It's ok to be messy.  It certainly makes better stories.

No ones story should read:

Once upon a time I had a baby, and everything was joyous, the baby slept all night and never cried.  Everything was so perfect, we had two more perfect babies. Our home was always "just so" with everything exactly where it was supposed to be, and no one ever misbehaved, fought, spilled things, broke anything, got sick, disobeyed, etc. We never had any problems with friends or family, we all get along magically.  School was so easy, my kids excel at everything, they play the harp and program computers.  They now have perfect lives of their own and I just love knowing that I did everything right, always.

That is the most boring story in the world.  I actually can't stand that person, and it's not because I envy them, as I'm sure they might choose to believe.  It's because I don't like people who are not authentic.  The best memories are made in the messy moments. Don't miss them or hide them because those moments are what make you interesting. They also allow you to find your tribe.  If you are misrepresenting yourself, how can "your people" recognize you? And believe me, you need your tribe. The statements this Mom made: I hate folding laundry, I like wine sometimes, and I need chocolate, will allow her to find other Mama's who relate to those personality traits.  Along with other truths about herself, these become little beacons that attract certain people onto your life, and may repel others.

Speaking of that, I have an issue with another hot button word.  It's "judgement".
I am so sick of this word being used by and against mothers.  If we don't use our judgement, how are we to learn the ways in which we want to parent.  WANT to, or CHOOSE to, do not mistake that as the "righteous" way to parent.  Also, I think people sometimes confuse the word "judgment" with the word "asshole". Choosing certain parenting styles does not give you the right be, or  act, righteous.  In the beginning, when we are not confident about our own mothering, or our own choices, or balancing our other responsibilities, we may cling to a certain belief or style, we are really just needing validation because we are insecure.  We all are; we have that in common.  As we grow in our motherhood, the dogmatic, prescribed, parenting styles tend to become more individualized. We look to and learn from each other all the time; we watch other moms at parks, at work, at the grocery store, we are discerning. We may walk away thinking, not my style...or hmmm, good idea. Like it or not, we all learn from each other all the time; for someone out there, sometimes we are all the example of what to do, and sometimes we are ALL the example of what NOT to do.  Looking back, I'm totally ok with that.  If in my moment of weakness, some other mother looked at me and thought, "I'll never do that!"  I'm ok with it.  If someone saw something I was doing and they thought "great idea!", that's just fine too, I'm humble enough to admit that I probably picked up that idea from someone else.  My motherhood is an accumulation of ideas and styles and my own nature and it is for my children alone.  I know them, I've learned them since birth, I always did my best...not perfection by any means...but my best.  I'm sure there were times when my best wasn't good enough. I have to forgive myself for that because I am only human. There are a lot of variables and we never get that crystal ball to tell us that what we are doing is, or is not, right for our children.  Spoiler alert: Even the best intentions, planning, routine, or style, even when backed by experts in the field can become regrets later, because no one can write the book on how to parent YOUR child...except you...and even that happens retrospectively.  Be messy, be real, attract your tribe, eat chocolate, have a little wine from time to time, and those socks will still be there when you need them, in the basket, in the corner, behind the chair.

1 comment:

  1. NPR posted this this morning. Come on. I'll just speak about my own mothering now. I had all the time in the world to make sandwich art and elaborate brown paper bags, but I didn't. Why can't we just be happy for those kids that they have creative parents who thought to do that? It doesn't threaten me. I express myself differently. I would say that if this pisses you off, that you are suffering from envy or jealously, or a forgotten passion of your own heart. It has NOTHING to do with that artistic mom ar or dad that made that bag or napkin. Look in the mirror.


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