In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Monday, May 10, 2010

Motherhood: A Choice of Imperfections

Photo by socyo/

"It's true that the impossible idea of a perfect mother has become a tyranny . . ." ~Julia Bard, deputy editor, Newsweek

I didn't agree with everything Julia Bard wrote in her article, "Lowering the Bar: When Bad Mothers Give Us Hope."

But that's okay--I like it when writers shove my preconceived ideas around a bit.

One thing Bard and I agree on: We moms trip ourselves in our pursuit of perfection.

I lived under the tyranny of my own making for too many years--the belief that I needed to be more than a good mom. I aimed for perfection. I suffered many figurative skinned knees and literal bruises to my mom-ego as I stumbled over my imperfections.

Here's another funny thing about trying to be a perfect mom: Your definition of a perfect mom and my definition of a perfect mom and the ever-authoritative"their" definition of a perfect mom is going to differ.

You may be a gotta-stay-at-home-to-be-a-perfect-mom kind of mom.

Or you may be a prefer-to-work-and-be-a-mom kind of mom.

There are moms who make dinners from scratch every night--bless them, one and all--and moms who are so committed to their kiddos' extra-curricular activities they are known at every fast-food restaurant in town. They've looked at their choices: meals at home or cheering at the children's games--and chosen "To go, please."

There are moms who homeschool. Moms who send their children to private school. Moms whose children go too public school.

Some moms pack their kids' lunches--and some moms believe their children need to learn to be responsible by making their own PB&J.

Thinking Out Loud: Whatever style of motherhood you choose, it becomes overwhelming if you aim for perfection. Breathe in, breathe out, as my friend Evangeline says. Define motherhood according to what's important to you--don't fool yourself into thinking you're going to be a perfect mom. And don't criticize another mom's choices. Really, she's probably doing the best she can--and could use a mom-friend, not a critic.

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