I think that every woman with a blog is writing a similar type of post about this, but here's my version:
A few weeks ago Steve came home from work and I was like "it's so HARD to be a stay at home mom!" and the funny thing is that I wasn't even talking about maintaining the house and keeping the kids entertained and making meals and changing diapers all day, which are all very hard things to do day in and day out.
I was talking about living up to everyone's expectations. or not even expectations really, just advice. or maybe not even advice really. just preferences. because I think that's really what's at the root of all these "mothering" posts. we all have different preferences about how to parent. and I'm the one who turns them into expectations and advice.
Here's (kind of) what happened.
Some nice mama-encouraging lady wrote a blog-letter called Dear Mom on the iphone, or something similar, about being at the park and missing out on your little girl twirling around in her dress and your super hero son asking you over and over to watch him jump while you sit with your nose in your phone. and moms all around the world read it and probably felt one of three things. either a) that's a really good point and next time I'll leave my phone at home, or b) I'm the WORST MOM EVER because I take my phone to the park, and I LIKE it!!! or c) who the *bleep* does she think she is saying that? I deserve a break every once in a while!
and so then iphone mama writes a letter in defense of all the "c) mamas" (or maybe even all the mamas) saying it's OKAY for you to take your phone to the park and allow the kids to play together and get some fresh air and not be the center of the universe when you don't watch them twirl, because we all know you've already seen about 700 twirls today that you WERE paying attention to.
(and my mama-heart said "preach it sister!!!")
and then another somebody wrote a post requesting that the moms who are making a big deal about holidays such as Valentine's Day and St. Patricks Day tone it down a bit so that they don't feel like they have to keep up with the Jones' house AND holiday parties. and another somebody wrote a post about not saying "in a minute" to your kids all day because they deserve your time. and then somebody else worte a post about something else, and somebody else wrote a post about something else, and my poor mama-brain was like "I HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF PEOPLE TELLING ME HOW TO PARENT!!!!"
and suddenly (or possibly gradually) I realized that the no-iphone mama and the iphone mama and the holiday mama and the in a minute mama and all the other mamas have NO IDEA WHO I AM. and...they weren't writing that letter to Andrea Hydeen. But here I was acting like it was a freaking email in my inbox or a letter that arrived in MY mailbox, giving me unsolicited advice. And I had all my defense statements lined up for them.
*I happen to think that a few minutes at the part without my undivided attention is good for the kids! I already played ponies and Barbies and dress up and made a special lunch and read 6 books, WITH voices for each character and WITHOUT skipping any lines or pages! so I can check my facebook at the park for just a couple minutes!
*I happen to like doing crafty things and making special lunches on holidays. and I don't spend any extra money to do it so it's not going overboard. Don't hate on the crafters!
*and another thing, if you are sick of trying to keep up with the Joneses, then just try saying NO to your kid for once!
*If I spent all day every day saying "yes" to the kids instead of "in a minute" then NOTHING in this house would ever get done!
and it went on and on in my head. all these defenses to people who were not even talking to me.
What really happened was that some sinful moms, who know how easy it is to get wrapped up in the wrong things decided to try to encourage other sinful moms to be better. and we should, shouldn't we? We have so many complaints these days about how our society is turning to crap, but once somebody tries to encourage us to prevent that, we get all freaked out and defensive about it! We NEED people who are willing to say these things!
and we also need to learn how to control our reactions. see, that's the thing for me. I know my flaws. I know them really well, actually. and so it's MY JOB to sensor myself when I need to. (and yes, I think it's your job to sensor YOURSELF too.)
for example, I don't do so well with body image stuff. so for me it's really really hard to go on pinterest and see all the different posts with these perfectly formed female bodies and all the workouts listed to see just how to get my rolly dimply body to turn into that perfect figure. But I know that about myself, and I know that about pinterest. and so each time I head there, I prepare myself for what's going to be on there. and promise myself not to dwell on it. so I go through and unfollow everyone's workout boards, and I made MY workout board private, just because I don't want the rest of the world knowing what my workouts are. Now, here's the thing. you might be the type of person that gets MOTIVATED by perfectly formed female bodies instead of DISCOURAGED. and by golly, you should still be allowed to post whatever the heck you want on your workout board because it's for YOU! and I'm the one who has to react appropriately.
so for me, if everyone takes the holiday mama's advice and doesn't post all their cute ideas for the holidays because they're worried that everyone will think they're going overboard, I will be one sad sad sad lady. I LOVE seeing what everybody does, which is also probably why I post things I that do that I think are cute! and if it bugs you, then please delete me. :) I'll delete your workout boards, and you can unfriend me so you don't have to see my holiday outfits. deal?
for some reason craftiness is a real trigger for people. I'm the crafter-type, so I don't really get it. but a lot of people get really worked up about other people's crafts. but ladies, we're all blessed with different gifts. I can maybe make a cute craft or sew some clothes, but my kids will never know the joys of a mother who can cook. so when people get all huffy about people making crafts for holidays, I'm like DUDE, I don't get all huffy every time someone posts a recipe! lighten up!!! (yes, I do realize I have my own areas that I need to lighten up in, thanks.) :)
so, my post isnt' going to be one of the ones that the whole world reads, because I'm not really saying anything important or controversial. but it's important for me to make something out of all the brain space that was taken up this last month about mothering 'the right way.'
So here's what it is for me:
I'm going to keep reading the blog posts and articles about mothering because who doesn't want to be a better mother? But I'm going to read them with different eyes. I want to see the heart behind the author, not the accusations I create in my own head. when I can take a post that might make me defensive and find a little nugget to make me better, then I can be better! and I WANT to be better! When I can decide to say "I'll do window drawing with you after I load the dishwasher" instead of "in a minute" I'm becoming a better mom, instead of being stuck on the "well then nothing will ever get done!"defensive mode.
so here's my challenge, for moms everywhere (or the 100 or so that read this post) :) to get to know THEMSELVES. what are your triggers? and what are you good at? Let's do our best to avoid our triggers (workout pins), or accept them if we can't avoid them (I suck at cooking), and allow ourselves to learn from each other how to be better moms. nobody is trying to attack you except for YOURSELF. so read with caution, and REACT with grace, for yourself and others.