I feel a strong need to start this post with a disclaimer. I DO NOT have the answers. I am not an expert on motherhood. I am as close a thing as there is to being an expert on mothering my own children, but even with them I screw up at least six times a day J -- as evidenced by earlier posts on such fantastic topics as patience and disciplining without yelling.
However, despite my total non-expert status, there’s something that has been niggling away in some remote corner of my brain where useful thought sometimes – sometimes – takes place.
Motherhood has changed since my mom did it in the 70’s and 80’s (she’s still a mom, obviously, but I’m talking about the day-to-day raising of children into semi-responsible adults). Back then, mothering seemed to be a whole lot more about what went on within your family and a whole lot less about what went on in other people’s families. The focus was not so much on how other mothers dressed (other than the mom who wore a full-length fur coat to high school basketball games – we all talked about her J), or what kind of car she drove, what brand her sandals were (am I the only one who didn’t know or care who Tory Burch was?), or how much she worked out and how little food she ate.
Today’s moms seem more stressed than ever despite the ever-increasing number of so-called conveniences meant to make our lives easier. My admittedly old-fashioned view is different. I believe that all of the additional technology has served to make us less efficient, less genuinely connected and – most importantly – less satisfied. There is a never-ending stream of information showing us how someone is doing it better, cheaper, more expensively, more extravagantly, more organically, more spiritually, etc., etc., etc. Some of this information – a small portion of it – can be helpful or even inspirational. But I maintain that the vast majority of it makes us feel less – makes us feel like we don’t measure up. And that makes me a little nuts.
We ALL have areas where we are strong, just like we all have areas where we are not. But spending all that energy focusing on what the mom next to you in carpool line – or God forbid, the latest celebrity parent – has done or is doing or may at some time in the future do is detrimental to all. It’s detrimental to each one of us as mothers, and more importantly is seriously detrimental to our children. If we are expending all this energy outward, worrying about what others think of us – of our inability to get made up and dressed before morning drop-off, of our lack of interest in crafting or baking or removing dairy and sugar and processed foods from our children’s diets – we are spending less time being truly with our kids. And we’re spending less time helping them become good people. People who respect and honor themselves and others. People who know how to communicate properly and respectfully, people who are kind and considerate, people who love to learn and who appreciate how much fun it can be to just get outside and run. People who love to curl up with a good book and just be.
And so I will end by asking those who are mothering alongside me, either literally or figuratively, to please forgive me if I don’t notice – or frankly care – about your expensive new shoes or handbag. Forgive me if I don’t oooh and ahhh over your latest vacation spot (but I will ask and truly care if your family had a wonderful time), forgive me if I still choose to feed my kids ice cream and fruit that is sometimes not organic.
What I will notice – and will care about – and will always mention not just to you but to others is when your kids are proving themselves to be the wonderful little people you are raising them to be. When they are kind and thoughtful, when they are funny and sweet, when they are clever or remember to use good manners. I will ALWAYS notice those things. And I will try to remember to always share those things with you. Because at the end of the day, that is all that truly matters in this world of mommyhood.
We're all on the same team.