Why Motherhood Needs A New Superhero
As any mother can tell you, they don’t need to go far online to feel inferior. There are dozens of blogs, articles, and parenting sites all providing “helpful” advice about how to be the perfect parent. The worst offenders, for the most part, appear on social media. They can be random strangers in your mommy groups offering “just their (loaded) opinion” or close friends posting every obnoxious detail about how they made the perfect bento lunch, the best Halloween costume, or the nicest sign for their kids’ 100th day at school. It comes complete with pictures, of course. While they may write off these posts as harmless shares, the meaning behind them is far more insidious: “look at me, I am the perfect parent! You should do this too because don’t you want to give your kids the best of everything????”
This (unhealthy) competition for the parenting trophy begins early. Heck, it begins in utero. Women compare all of the foods they have given up (What?!! You had one sip of champagne at your cousin’s wedding??? Well…I’d never do that. I guess I just don’t want to put my baby at risk.) It then moves on to who has the “natural” birth and who can breastfeed the longest. (Plenty more on this later). They want to have the perfect pregnancy, the perfect baby shower, and the perfect birth. They want to have the perfect family and the perfect child.
At this point, I know what you’re thinking. “MM [Mediocre Mom]-what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with wanting it to be perfect?” On the surface, nothing. But in reality-everything. For starters, nothing in life is perfect. You are certainly not, and, news flash, your child won’t be either. Life does not always go according to plan, especially someone else’s. So when you set out to attain someone else’s idea of perfection, you are ultimately just setting yourself up to fail.
You are also teaching your child a poor lesson: that it is more about the final product than the experience. Certainly this idea can work in a business sense, but in a family situation, not so much. If you are taking so much time to set up the perfect scenario, what is your child doing during this time? Consider these examples: Instead of enjoying an outing with your child, you are obsessively taking photos and video to later post on Facebook. You see your child through the lens, but are you actually spending time with your child? You are making the perfect bento box lunch the night before school, complete with a lion-faced sandwich, ants on a log, and perfectly cut grapes. You know what you could have done with that time? You could have read another story to your child. You could have had sex with your spouse. Or heck, you could have sat down on the sofa with a nightcap for some well-deserved me-time. (I’m going to let you in on a little secret from my elementary-aged daughter: whether your kid brings to school a bento box made up for a picnic, a lunchable, or yesterday’s leftover pizza, most of it ends up in the trash).
The competition continues through the school-aged years. It even rears its ugly head outside of school. Consider the example of extra-curricular activities. I know parents that have their kids in an activity every night of the week. I know some that have multiple activities on one night. There are even ones I know who have their kids in the same activity for around twenty hours per week-that’s a part-time job! (If you are going to have your child do that much work, why not at least have the kid do something that makes money???) And these kids are not even in middle school yet. The parents tell me that their kids “love the activity”. Do they really? Maybe a small percentage, but I imagine most would rather come home after school and relax, the same way adults want to come home from work and unwind. Others claim they want their kid to be “well-rounded” and to get scholarships, but at this age, is any of that really going to materialize? Unless you have a budding prodigy on your hands, they will probably do something else by the time high school rolls around. Honestly, I think parents just do it as a status symbol in yet another piece of the perfect parenting puzzle. That, and they desperately want some time alone.
These are but a few of the myriad of examples of what I call “pinterest perfect parenting” in our society. This is why I think we need a new battle cry. We need a new standard-one that relaxes this image of perfect and eases our feelings of inadequacy and inferiority by showing that motherhood is not one-size-fits-all. I am here to say that “adequate” is good-enough. I am here to explain that at the end of the day, all that matters for your child is being loved, even if that love is not picture-perfect to the outside observer. I am here to tell you that there is no such thing as the perfect parent, and to ask you to join me in a new quest as we embrace the freedom and satisfaction of mediocre parenting. I am the new superhero of motherhood. I am Mediocre Mom.
I am mediocre mom!
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