Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bad to the bone

Her Bad Mother: The Bad Mother Manifesto

First of all - go read this. Right now. (insert Musak version of Purple Rain) you done?
Back now?
OK - let's discuss.
This post was eye-opening to me and apparently to many many other mothers. What was eye-opening to ME is that many other mothers found it eye-opening. And that is sad.
For those of you who lied and said they read that post without actually reading the brilliance, let me summerize - Media definitions of 'good mothering' are ridonkulous, dehibilitiating, demoralizing and full of crap, and we, meaning all mothers, should rise up and call bullsh*t on it all. We need to shrug off the yoke of stupid expectations and just focus on loving our kids and being honest with them, and ourselves, and especially, each other.
I love this, but was a little surprised at how many mothers were shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that other mothers struggle. That other mothers aren't perfect and don't color coordinate their kids socks, or home make baby food, or spend hours developing their tot's brains with classical music and latin flashcards. Good God people you have a child, you should know better than to buy that crap! MOST mothers are excited when everyone, including themselves, simply survives the day.
I started my blog when I was pregnant, and I didn't glow, I bloated. I didn't have magical dreams, I barely slept. I didn't float, I could barely walk without blinding cootchie pain. It sucked, and I was pretty clear about that from day one. I guess that honesty just stayed intact, cause I am more than happy to post about just how much of a butt-head my beloved child is becoming now that toddler-hood has hit. And about the suckitude of every other stage to date, 'cause, well, it's true. I'm also just as happy to blog about the sheer joy of hearing her giggle, and the thrill of her learning how to give a kiss (I will regret teaching her that when the hormones kick in I'm sure). I'm pretty bummed to discover that approach is not the norm.
I think the reason that I was mostly able to avoid falling prey to the 'perfect mom' syndrome is because I have amazing friends, both real and virtual. Mommies who aren't afraid to say, I love my kid, but I don't much LIKE them right at this moment. Friend who said, ignore the hype, just do what feels right. Twitter moms and blogger moms who are huge fans of gnomes, and bubblewrap, and Xanax, and who always offer sympathetic non-judgmental support when you have a 'holy f I'm losing my mind' mommy moment. And there are many of those.
The worst days were the early ones, when you are exhausted and clueless and terrified. That's when the 'authorities' can really get in your head and screw with you. The sheer panic and desperation of the early days of your first child can not be overestimated. It's horrible. And who do you turn to? No one teaches you how to be a mom, all you have are the books and the tv shows and the news articles. I think this is a core failing of life as we know it today - everyone is mobile, no one is anchored and we've lost the community of mom's next door and grandmothers passing on their knowledge (however flawed), and the history of mothers helping mothers.
Or we had, until the mommy blogger phenominon. Women like HerBadMother and every single mother who ever wrote a blog post, commented on a blog post, even read a blog post, tweeted dug or facebooked. We are rebuilding that vital community that we all need to be mothers. We are sharing knowledge, and creating the support network that can guide us and help us as we perform the most difficult job in the world - raising a child. Specifically raising a child to not be a d*ckhead.
And all communities, all relationships are built on trust, and trust comes from honesty. So mommies who blog, mommies who comment, mommies who just talk to other mommies on the playground - don't lie. Tell the truth - if you are struggling, SAY you are struggling, it gives the rest of us the chance to help. If another mother tells you she is struggling, don't be a d*ckhead yourself - HELP! Tell the truth, tell them you were there, tell them you survived, tell them what you wish someone had told YOU when you were in the same place. Don't front to make yourself look good. It's selfish and dishonest and isolating to the parties on both sides. You deny all of us the opportunity to help or to be helped, and you feed the ultimate lie - that there is a RIGHT wat to mommy.
We all deserve better than that.
Love your kid, love yourself, and tell the truth, for it shall set you free...
Preach on HerBadMother!

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