Monday, December 05, 2005

You are a good mother already.

My mom photocopied this article and gave it to me. Reading this along with my new find (How She Really Does It: The Secrets of Success from Stay-at-work Moms) convinces me that things in society need to change, and soon.

Did anyone see Desperate Housewives last night? Lynette said "I'm a good mother" and the other mom said, "But that's not good enough for me, I want to be a GREAT mother" (so she won't put her child in daycare or let anyone else touch her.)

Why do we buy into this crap? Why do I have to APOLOGIZE for needing to work so we have health insurance? Why is it that a man can have three kids, work, and travel, and be considered a good father because he's such a good provider, but if a woman does it, she's an awful mother for neglecting her children, even if her husband stays home to be with the children full time?

Why is there such a divide between mothers? Mothers who work, mothers who quit their jobs and stay home. Mothers who make everything from scratch, mothers who order a pizza so they can spend another hour having one on one time with their kids. Mothers who nurse, mothers who can't or won't. (There's nothing that makes you feel worse than having another mother say to you, "Well, as long as you know that formula isn't the best thing for your baby." I was so tempted to say, "Formula is better for them than a mother in a mental institution right now." but I held my tongue.)

Listen up:

Mothers need to stop letting others dictate what being a good mother means. Not Martha Stewart, not that horrible nazi-esque What To Expect series of books, not the super-mom at the park or playgroup, not anyone you see on TV. This is seriously one of the most important things I've learned about being a mom. What works for me may very well not work at all for you. We've been blessed to have hours where one of us can be with the kids all the time, in our house. Not everyone is so lucky. I work, not only because I need to, but because I want to, and the fact that I have my family's and employer's support is wonderful. I try to cook as much from scratch and organically as possible. If you open a can of Beefaroni in front of me, I will say absolutely nothing about it, because obviously this works for you. That doesn't mean I won't try new things, or ever stop learning, because Lord knows these kids are growing and changing and hopefully, so am I. But can we please stop being so critical of each other, and maybe join forces to make this world a better place for our kids?

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