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Sunday, June 29, 2014
Today I spent the afternoon away from the family, at a Christmas celebration with a few of my very dearest friends - we've been getting together for an ornament exchange every year for the last 10 years, and this one was no exception. It was wonderful to see my ladies, and revel not only in the memories we have together, but also in the support we provide each other - as friends and mothers. This year was the first year that we were all mothers, and you could tell - our discussion rarely left the topic of our kids. Each of us has taken a different path in motherhood - we have a mix of full time, part time, and stay at home moms. We have some that read every parenting book and followed the ‘sleep rules’ to a tee, and some that never read one book and went with their gut. Some had their children in their own crib from day 1, and some still have children sleeping in their bed with them. What they all have in common is they have amazing, well adjusted, completely secure, lovely children.
There was one thing that kept coming up that continued to irk me though - each mom, as they would tell a story or an antidote, somehow would mention how they felt in that instance they were a ‘bad mom’ or weren't going to win Mom of the Year Award. Each of these women are absolutely stellar - both as parents and as individuals, and it bothered me that they would punish themselves with such harsh overtones. It’s a habit I've seen in lots of Moms, and read about as part of the American culture today in ‘Bringing up Bebe’ - Mom’s in the US have a habit of cursing themselves for not being perfect, not being Mary Poppins to their children. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be Mrs. Everything, and then chastise every mistake we make.
I know I am not beyond this. I've already seen it - I beat myself up if I forget something of Maddy’s when we go out, if she begins to cry and I cannot fix the problem fast enough, if I’m 5 minutes later than usual picking her up. But I’m not convinced this makes me a bad mommy. I am convinced it makes me human.
Looking back, I can guarantee that not one of the beautiful woman around the table will have children that will look bad and say “My mom really could have tried harder, done more, etc etc”. I know they will only have accolades for their mothers around how they always did their best for their children, loved them, and made them feel safe. And I hope my dear friends know this, and don’t beat themselves up too much in the along the way.