As a mother, I have had the privilege of reading some fantastic blogs and articles about motherhood. There were women out there who were willing to share some of their most private struggles with the rest of us. When I struggled with breastfeeding, I read articles about moms who struggled and it gave me hope. I was so thankful to find other moms discussing their issues with PPD and PPA (read about my struggle here) , when I didn’t have a name for what I was going through. But mamas, I am so very concerned about the path on which we are embarking. A path where mothers are praised for apathy and borderline neglect. I am by no means perfect. I am afraid of what may happen if we continue supporting some of these behaviors in ourselves and one another.
Apathy Reigns Supreme?
Everyone has seen the funny memes about fed up moms and moms hanging on by a thread. Some days, I can totally relate. Some are light and funny, while others reveal a darker attitude. Many have glorified mothers for their apathy. While I fully support being honest about our struggles, we have been charged with the care and nurturing of these beautiful and innocent children. Before we open our collective mouths, I think we need to consider what we say and how we behave. Sure, there are plenty of times when I have opened up a box of mac and cheese for dinner after an exhausting day. There have been plenty of times when I have not been my best self as a mother. I am no saint, but I take this job of motherhood seriously. I want us to look around and decide whether or not this is what we truly want for our children. Parents who barely care? This should never become our standard.
Stop the Name-Calling
And then there’s the name calling. Children can be challenging. In fact, I don’t think that is even a strong enough word. They test our patience and our resolve. They even cause us to question our capabilities as parents. Still, we love them fiercely. So why are we calling our children a**holes? Yes, their behavior can push us to our limits at times. Yes, they can be spiteful and difficult. Yet I have to wonder how often you would refer to your husband, mother, or even best friend in such a manner. I’m no prude, as evidenced by my often colorful language (sorry, mom). But something makes me uneasy about this. I would be crushed if my own mother spent her time calling me an a**hole to her close friends, let alone an audience of strangers.
Take Pride in Your Appearance
We often rationalize that motherhood is a job. A job without days off or downtime. We beg our husbands to understand just how difficult and important our work is. We joke about what our salary might be like if we were paid for being a SAHM. However, we don’t approach our “job” with the same level of professionalism that we would a job in the “real world.” I certainly don’t look like a Hollywood starlet every day of the week, but I wouldn’t be embarrassed to run into a client on a random morning. Would you show up in pajamas without having brushed your teeth to an important meeting with clients? I think not. If we are fighting so hard for others to recognize the value of the work we do, how can we glorify the lack of care and attention to ourselves and to our children?
Clean and Healthy, Please
While we are on the subject of work, I have to ask when you might submit a coffee stained report to your boss. Why then do you laugh about the appearance of your children? Why is it funny and not sad that your child hasn’t had a bath in days or that your child is running around with snot filled cheeks? I look back on the times when my family endured great financial hardship. What I notice is that my face was wiped clean, my hair was brushed, and my clothing had been washed. I remember the pride that my mother took in making sure that her kids had clean clothing and clean bodies. I can’t imagine how it would have affected my sense of self-worth if she hadn’t. Our children should be a source of pride. Keeping them clean and healthy should be at the top of our lists.
We Can Do Better
Moms, if we are to be taken seriously, we have to be willing to give it our all. We are exhausted and emotionally drained. Many of us are without sleep and on a shoestring budget. We are in need of some free time and relaxation. Yes to all of those things. But we do not need to use our job as mothers to be lazy, indifferent or apathetic in our approach to parenthood. I know we can do better than that.