Monday, April 5, 2010

Perfect Mothers

Dear Soccer/Hippie/Overly Opinionated/Overly Involved Moms,

I am finding it increasingly difficult to relate to, let alone tolerate, you... and it is leading to some pretty serious urges to slap your hand and tell you "NO" like I would to my own toddler. (Oh yes, you read that correctly; we use hand-slaps in my house. Feel free to report me to CPS.) Whether it is my own insecurities or not, I resent feeling inadequate when compared to your Mothering Might.

The last I checked, all capable, loving, sane and otherwise "good" mothers do the following with their children:
1. Feed them
2. Clothe them
3. Diaper them
4. Play with them
5. Watch them

I fail, then, to understand why there is a 'holier than thou' attitude amongst us moms. Aren't we all on the same, spit-up covered side?

Since I already have enough crap on my hands, what with my son's increasingly disturbing diapers, I have brainstormed a (brief) list of "behavior modification" suggestions.

1. Stop acting like the food you provide your child is the freaking Bread of Life.

(So what if you provide Jr. with all-organic, homemade, gluten-free mush? I'm guessing it comes out the same way that my frozen fish stick meals do. Don't believe me? Feel free to stop by Bruce's daycare in about, oh, 45 minutes... I'm sure he'll have a fresh example just for you.)

2. Making your child's clothing, or spending $50 on a name brand onesie does not a great mother make. Stop acting like it does.
(It does, however, make you come across as extremely condescending when you preach about this in chat rooms, at play dates, and in casual passing. I don't care if you raise the sheep, shear them, spin, dye, and weave the wool yourself; making your child's clothes is a great thing... for you. I, however, don't have the time or talent to do so. I also don't have the interest. When it comes to spending large amounts of money on something your child will grow out of in a month (if you're even that lucky), well, great. I think it's stupid but, most importantly, it's passing along the belief to your children that they just have to have whatever is most popular. I can't wait to see how THAT turns out.)

3. Preaching about your chosen method of diapering makes you sound like a freaking hippie.

(This is where my bias will come raging to the forefront. I, like most mothers-to-be, considered the pros and cons of cloth diapering vs. disposable diapers; the effect on the environment, the cost, the convenience and, most importantly, the effect on my child's butt. When Bruce was born, the choice was clear for my husband and I, and disposable it was (and is). Here is where I get a little pissed (pun intended):
Asking how another mom diapers her kid? Totally fine.
Proceeding to tell her, whether directly or passive-aggressively, about the evils of her chosen method? Grounds for throwing a mashed-banana diaper in her face.
You have your routes, I have mine. LEAVE IT ALONE ALREADY.)

4. Play should be fun... not dysfunctional.
(Whether on a play date or spending some good old fashioned 'tummy time' on the floor, do you know how to play with your child? I mean, actual play; that thing you do when your entire existence, for that moment, is comprised of trying to make your little tyke coo, laugh, or smile. That's it. When did the point of playtime become expanding your two month-old's vocabulary, or teaching your toddler the violin? Children only get so long to live life completely worry-free, so why would you cheat them of that simple, sweet quality time? Think back to when you were a kid, coloring in your favorite _____ coloring book (for me, it was Barbie). How would it feel if your mom took it away and replaced it with a book on fractions?)

5. Quit thinking that daycare is the devil.
(While I completely agree that the ideal situation would be for the mother and father of little Susie Homemaker or Jack Sixpack to stay home all day, every day with their child for the first year, that is next to impossible. Not only is there this small thing called "money" to consider, but you also have to take into account the mother or father's feelings on the matter. In our case, I HAD to go back to work full-time when Bruce was 7 months old; we needed the money, we don't believe in going on DSHS support while I could be working, and I need adult interaction to keep me sane. By looking down on moms who work outside the home, you come across as judgmental, lazy, or ignorant. My holding down an 8 - 5 job with travel and the occasional late-night required doesn't make me less of a mother than you, it just means I go about caring and providing for my son in a different way.)

All-in-all, I'd say this was a very therapeutic letter. I was able to get things off my chest and, if you were to read this, you would (of course) take all of my suggestions to heart and magically transform yourself into the Relate-able, Less Egotistical Super Mom that I know you have inside of you.

Just like every child is different, every approach to mothering is going to differ as well. I respect the hard work and great effort that so many of you go through to provide what you feel to be the best possible environment for your child, and understand feeling so passionate about your chosen route toward child-raising. I hope that your children know how lucky they are to have someone who cares so much for their well-being. Your choices are your own, and no one should make you feel inadequate or unqualified for how you have chosen to raise your precious child.

Now, get ready for the first tattooed President of the PTA, 2014. It'll give you a whole new topic to gossip about, I'm sure.

See you on the playground,


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