Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's Good To Be Bad

Great video from CNN that features Her Bad Mother. (Who is from Toronto!)

They mentioned some things she'd blogged about, but of course they only chose the ones that would be MOST controversial. I went to find The Whole Story and here's a paragraph from her site:

I have left my children alone in the bathtub. I have spanked my daughter. I have turned my back on my crying son. I have had intrusive thoughts. I drink. I curse. I have put my own needs first. I have thought that I love my husband more than my children. I have had moments of resenting my children. I have thought that motherhood is boring. I document all of these things and lay them bare for the world to see. I have been called an exploitative mother. I have wondered whether that might be true.

I get what she's saying. I really, really do. Just about every mom I know knows a Super Mom. A person who not only Does It All, she knows it. She knows that she's doing a better job than you and she's not afraid to mention just one more thing that you are doing that she isn't.

But it's in a subtle way, like "the other day, I found the perfect glue stick in the craft section at Superstore." And she knows that you didn't even know there WAS a craft section at superstore.

I'm far from innocent here. I wonder if there's a mom out there thinking these things about me. When M first started school, one mom said she thought I was the "mean mom". I had a kindergartener and a baby who was just a few weeks old... I showed up in my big Dodge truck (with the Hemi, sigh, I miss her.) and climbed out and walked M in and then walked out. Apparently when I'm sleep deprived and working on a book, I look "mean". No shock there.

Thankfully this mom and I are now fast friends and she could tell me this. I now hang it over her head mercilessly everytime we gather to guzzle some wine.

I sometimes hold things back because I don't want to share all the stuff that I do. I know I'm over-committed:

  • Chairpeson of PTA/School council
  • director with community association & communications committee chairperson
  • board member of my MLA's riding association
  • Chairperson of PWAC Chapter in my city & gov't action committee member
  • Beaver leader (thank goodness that's over!)
  • writer/author (book comes out in less than 6 weeks!!)
  • full-time sales manager & team leader

This means that I have no less than 4 monthly meetings to attend and sometimes one meeting a week for M. And I haven't started anything with E (though riding appears to be something she might like!)

What it comes down to, is that there are moms I know who are handling things MUCH more difficult than I have on my plate. Health concerns, children with cancer, divorce, money problems.

What do I have? A great system of family support. Encouragement. Love. With a handful of ambition and a desire to DO STUFF. And there's so much stuff to do! I'd love to start going back to school part-time, volunteering at school more often, writing more, doing more team building at work, speaking more, presenting more.... there are awesome causes out there: early literacy, anti-bullying, city issues... I know I can't do everything, but there's so much to do.

Do other moms see me as a Super Mom because of those things above? The problem is that very few things in that list have anything to do with parenting.

When it comes to parenting I'm as good/bad as the rest. I've yelled at my kids, I've said "shut up", I've had a glass of wine too many when they are asleep, I've left them at childcare later than normal so I could have a coffee alone for a few minutes, I've let them watch too much TV, I've left them in the car while I ran into 7-11 (they could still see me, I could see them!) and I've been less than patient.

But I've also devoted hours each week to working with and for my son, to advocating for his educational needs, to reading about ADD so I can help the school, to learning about who he is so I can help him, to playing referee in school yard squabbles, to talking to him about all his childhood issues. I've read hundreds and hundreds of books to my kids, put a high value on reading, kicked them outside on good days, taken days off work to take them to the zoo, I'm the one who stays home when they are sick.

So what's the judgment? Even if it sways one way or another, it is rarely as harsh a judgment as in my own mind. It's almost as though one can never be good enough.

That's one of the reasons I love this quiz, Are You a Good Mom or Bad Mom, because it really speaks the truth.

No comments: