Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The modern mom

There is so much pressure in our world, our society to be a great Mom. Now while I think my mom was a great mom, I know she didn't spend a lot of time obsessing about how she was doing it or if she was making better choices than other moms. Maybe its the internet, blogs, pinterest or facebook, or maybe its older moms looking to find the same markers and job satisfaction they had before entering the world of snotty toddlers.

I'm not sure what is causing it, but it is undeniably - out there. I read blogs that refer to the "judgy-ness" of other Moms (Yes I did just make up that word - its my blog!). The stay at home Mom writes about the virtues of her role and defends her choices, rightfully so. The working Mom writes about the complexities and struggles of balancing all of her responsibilities, and rightfully so.

Being a mom, no matter how you do it is hard. But I think maybe we are making it harder. We parent like we are living in a mirror, watching our own movements, playing back the tape, reviewing our errors and vowing to make changes. Momming (yes I made up another word), has become "competitive," like Olympic figure skating, or bobsleigh.

In the face of that atmosphere, I have a confession. They say confession is good for the soul right? Well, by any standard set by any group or camp, I fail. I suck. You just need to come visit my house, after stepping on a few dozen fish crackers and cheerios (and no my kids aren't toddlers any more so there is no excuse for me), you will see that I am not a good house keeper. I'm not even a sort of good house keeper. Now in my defense, my house has and likely always will be in various states of renovation. A joy to try to work around I assure you. But, not even being to hard on myself, I quite happily admit that I do not like house work and I only do it when forced, or when the family members start making comments.

So, I must be good at something, at least you work right? No don't do that either. OK I try, and try is the operative word to do my husbands book keeping. I'm not a book keeper and frankly I suck at that too - just ask our tax accountant! Don't she might be too candid.

I occasionally pick up a few jobs here and there with the company I used to work with, but I fear I've lost my edge, I don't have the same "clued-in-ness" (yeah I know - I'm on a role) that I used to have.

It would seem the only thing I am still good at is making up words! I'm good at that you have to concur.

Having said all this, I don't mind one bit. I rather like being in this no-man's land of the mom world. You have no idea the respect I have for my working mom friends. How they manage it is beyond me. I know men mean well, but the decisions about the kids and the house and the cleaning and the laundry and the childcare, usually (not to lump all men together), usually fall at the feet of the mom, whether she works or not. So to you moms that work and make the worlds still turn for your families, kudos! You are my hero.

For the mom who stays at home and may even (horror of my personal horrors) home school their children. I don't know how you do it. To bring such meaning and earnestness to your work at home, to your children and their successes. You too are my hero!

Lets just remember that being a mom is just part of who we are. We are whole people and lets not judge ourselves solely on our success or failure in one area of our lives. Even if it is super important (I get that - don't worry).

Because, it is important, even for the more mediocre of mothers to have heroes! So press on and stop being so stinking critical of yourselves. No one else sees your mistakes and if they did, they should sympathize not judge. If you feel judged, sit down and ask yourself, am I actually being judged or am I doing this to myself. If you are being judged, brush it off (easily said I know). You are permitted mistakes, you are allowed to be imperfect.

If you are reading this and you feel judged - DONT! I love the many and wonderful ways we express ourselves as Moms. So go out today and express yourself as who you are and remember you are "fearfully and wonderfully made."

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The problem with platitudes

Our world is full of them, platitudes. Sayings that typify or answer a great question. You've seen them - if you've ever been on Facebook. Usually written on some lovely picture, for added inspirational value.

Here are a few I have heard over the years:
 - God never gives you more than you can handle.
 - What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
 - Whenever one door closes another will open.

Here is a story about a platitude that I have more respect for than the above mentioned. "This too will pass." Let me talk about the last one, as an example of my issue with platitudes. When I was in University and I would be all bent out of shape about something, my Grandma used to say. "This too will pass." And I'd grind my teeth and huff under my breath. Because at the time I didn't understand. I was young and I had no idea that there would be a time in my life when I could care less what I got for a grade in eighteenth century restoration fiction.

Now! Now... I get it.. well, at least I understand more than I did at the time.

Some times we say things to help encourage others. We mean well, really we do. We often don't know what to say and we sure as heck don't know how to fix the problem so we start looking for silver linings, ways to encourage. And this my friends is beautiful in itself, the motivation is always good.

The problem is that sometimes these things can ring empty. But we still need to say them, because we care and we are helpless to do anything else.

I have had several conversations lately where I have been at a loss for words. Friends whose lives have taken such complicated turns that I wouldn't know where to start. So I default to platitudes. Ughhh!!! What the hell is wrong with me!

Perhaps the platitudes are better really because without them my usual repertoire includes things like:
 - Wow that sucks!
 - Go big or go home!

See, as I have said before, sympathy and understanding are not my strong suites.

The problem is that we can't answer the problems of life with a saying or a statement. Our worlds are messy, our worlds are complex. The answers can't be simple and pre-planned.

For me, I am discovering (too bad I'm a slow learner), that I am a better friend when I stop trying to help and just simply listen.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


So the inevitable and unenviable happened... I got sick Friday night and shortly after I started Bronwyn also began. So we all got it. Unfortunately the timing meant that Bronwyn couldn't go to her dance recital.

The good news is that I was sick enough that it prompted me to feel a bit more sympathetic to my wonderful children and husband who suffered it before me! I vow to be a better wife and mother. I promise!! (wink wink)