All Star athlete, theater nerd, poet, bully, teacher’s pet, girlfriend, big sister, honor roll student, victim, prom queen, warrior… Oh, how high school was filled with so many cliques & labels!
Runner, writer, baker, reader, gardener… It goes on.
Labels can be tough because they don’t necessarily define a true individual. Sometimes those labels need further defining. That last one is especially tough. Everyone wants to be a good mom, but what is a good mom these days?
The Internet is a fabulous place to connect with like minded folks, share ideas, spread philosophies. There are tons of mom & parenting groups to help with parenting and where women can swap mom stories as well as shame & ridicule. I have joined an awful lot of them in the last four years, but have never really found one to truly fit me. I have found that they can be just as cliquish as high school & feel myself being ignored or even shunned within them. They were also making me feel guilty, insecure, and inadequate as a mother.
I wasted an entire day mulling this over. How could these women, whom I’d never met, cause me to feel this way? By examining the posts & what these groups stood for, I was easily able to determine what kind of mother I am not.
I am not a dedicated ECer (“elimination communication” or early infant toilet training). I was with my 1st, busy with my 2nd, and can’t be bothered with my 3rd.
I am not that into co-sleeping. Once the babes are sleeping through the night, they get their own beds. No family bed here.
I am not a peaceful parent. I yell sometimes. I spank sometimes.
I am not a permissible parent. I am not an abusive parent.
I am not a crunchy mom. I am not a soccer mom.
I do not use only cloth diapers. I do not homeschool. I don’t follow the recommended infant feeding guidelines. I don’t even always buy organic or hormone free food. I don’t let my kids break the rules, no matter how small. I don’t always step in on a sibling squabble.
I let my kids cry sometimes. I let my kids play unsupervised sometimes. I push my kids to do chores. I push my kids academically.
What is wrong with me?!
After an afternoon of feeling like crap about myself, I figured something out. I am not a monster mom. I realized that I would never fit the criteria or mold for any specific brand of mom, as I’m sure no one does. The more I thought about it, the less I cared how others parented, and even more importantly, the less I cared how they perceived my parenting. I do what I do because it is what’s best for my family & I don’t need to justify any of it to anyone other than my husband & my children.
Just like the end of high school, I graciously bowed out of these cliques and deleted my mom groups. It was liberating. When I stopped comparing myself to everyone else, I saw that I was actually doing alright. My kids are happy, healthy, and smart. And there is no need to pigeon hole myself in any particular group. I realized that the monster mom was the one that didn’t focus on her own, that judged others, and tried to follow a model rather than go by instinct & do what was necessary. Good parenting comes from within; we know how to be good moms naturally because we all have children who have different needs. But trying to be popular about it will always get in the way of doing what’s right for the family. Seeking that validation & definition from others was keeping me from focusing on actually being a parent & that was my greatest flaw.
- Can I Be A Renaissance Mom? (iloveyoumorethancarrots.com)