The initial plan was to indulge in an essay wrought with “bad mother” confessions. A list of shortcomings and explanations defined the original direction of this piece. Yet such data will not be provided here.
And in lieu of boring my readers with narcissistic banter, I choose to spare my family (and myself) the unnecessary humiliation and engage in a task of a different nature, a positive one: why you're doing a great job. And how I know that to be true.
Each mother knows in which areas she is faltering or rather, not thriving. So what if we don’t prepare homemade organic foods representing all food groups despite the fact that yes, some of our Mrs. Perfect Mom Pageant colleagues do. And big deal if our kids by age 8 are not already excelling in some artistic or athletic endeavor, resulting from years of professional training initiated at age 2.
So what if our kids don’t always brush teeth before bed, wash hands before mealtime, or respectfully greet the elderly neighbor.
Of course there is always room for improvement: as women, as wives, daughters, friends, and as mothers.
And isn’t that what Ghandi always encouraged and challenged us to do? Be introspective. Learn. Change. Evolve. Improve. It’s a lifetime endeavor.
But yet, how do we really measure a woman’s degree of “bad mother-ness?”
What standards have we set as a society? Should we base our mother-icons on those that receive the most media attention such as Kate Gosselin and Britney Spears, just to name a few?
Like a scale reflects an accurate indication of one’s weight, despite deceptive appearances suggesting otherwise, our children’s (healthy) development must signal our success, or lack of, as a parent.
How about this as a barometer?
1. Are my kids emotionally stable? (Barring any diagnosed mental illness or condition which is out of our control.)
2. Are my kids happy overall?
3. Do my children engage in play like average children their age?
4. How is my child’s school performance?
5. How does my kid behave in various social situations?
I, for one, know I am light-years from being a model parent. However, upon closer examination, my answers to each one of the above questions is relatively favorable---some more than others---but good enough.
So this Mother’s Day, let’s cut ourselves some slack, celebrate without the “coulda, shoulda, woulda and if-onlys.”
Because the real “Consumer Reports” can be read upon our children’s faces, day after day.
And that gives us all the information we need to make a fair and honest evaluation.
Happy Mother’s Day to all.