Thursday, April 19, 2012

Not Perfect, and Not Trying To Be

In the past month or so, several posts have weaved in and out of my newsfeed with the same theme: the unrealistic expectations of motherhood. Variations have touched on why children need a mother who is truly present rather than a perfectionist, the oneupmanship of stay-at-home moms, and an attack on mommy bloggers for publishing idealistic portrayals of parenthood . . . as well as the typical tired mommy wars chatter.

If you believe what these writers (all women, all mothers) have to say, this generation of parents spends an awful lot of time comparing themselves to each other and coming up short.

But is it even true? Does it resonate with most women? Do moms see this kind of gibberish and honestly think I'm not good enough?

I have a hard time wrapping my brain around this. 

Let's start with the obvious: mothering is work (yes, true work), although sometimes what we do can be difficult to verbalize. However, I don't see it as a competition. Really.

To me, it doesn't matter what other mothers are cooking, knitting, tweeting, teaching, designing, or (gasp!) writing.

Tell me I'm not an anomaly for not caring to liken myself to others. I don't do wishful thinking. I don't do second-guessing. I don't do guilt.

Don't get me wrong . . . I love the dialogue. I love swapping stories. I even love commiserating at times. But I never feel inadequate reading about someone else's life. (And if I did, I would . . . wait for it . . . stop reading.)

Are there just not enough mommy bloggers who show the "real" side of parenting? And what exactly would that look like?

Anyone who pops by my blog for more than 30 seconds could not possibly have delusions that our life is perfect around here. Things I ponder in a typical post might include my woeful attempts at becoming organized, how I can prevent my toddler from falling off the couch and slamming his noggin into the tile floor, and potty training a four-year-old. Ooh . .  cleaning out closets, potential head injuries, and poop. 

Envious yet?

I stay home with my children because it's the best choice for our current family situation. (And in spite of the daily insanity it's actually kind of . . . fun.)

I homeschool Agent E because it works for her. (And it has all sorts of surprise benefits.)

I share our adventures on a blog because I like to write. (It's just kind of a bonus that others occasionally find what I have say relatable.)

But I certainly don't do any of those things to make someone I don't even know feel bad. I don't expect anyone to make the same choices we do, nor do I take issue with another parent's choices (assuming they are not verbally or physically abusive). 

How do you feel when you read "mommy blogs"? Amused or annoyed? Inspired or intimidated? Share in the comments.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day.


Aunt Annie said... [Reply to comment]

What I think when I read snide comments and competitive remarks is "Wow, some people really need to work on themselves".
That is the one overarching truth of parenting, I think; you have to be prepared to work on yourself, because parenting will expose your soft underbelly and your reptilian scales like nothing else.

I was never in a race as a mum either, and when I first started blogging and taking part in parenting forums I was totally blindsided by some of the nastiness (especially the semi-organised, team-up-against-someone bullying I experienced on one forum which shall remain nameless). Fortunately I've been bullied by experts through my life and these amateurs didn't have a hope against my resistance strategy (in short, don't insult anyone back, shoot down arguments with calm logic and reiterate your views reasonably).

HeeWho said... [Reply to comment]

Check out my blog where I have come all the way out of the perfection closest. If you don't appreciate it, no one will!

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