It seems like we are living in a culture of two kinds of moms. There are the perfect moms, those women who manage to bake pies, plan activities and crafts and braid their child's hair perfectly straight and without mess. Then there are the "other moms" who can't manage to send the thank-you notes, bake a darn thing or get our children's hair out of their faces. The latter half earn the title "bad mom" or at least we tend to call ourselves that.
Stephanie Thompson is the latter type of mom. As a parent in Brooklyn, where parenting is an art form parodied in books like Prospect Park West, Thompson sees her fair share of perfect parents. Last week it was the rush to get ready for the holidays. This week it is something else. Thompson, who take a much more realistic view of parenting, though still calls herself a "bad mom" has one piece of advice for the rest of us: RELAX.
And oh how welcome that advice is. Because we do all need to just CHILL OUT.
Look at the comments section of any parenting website (CafeMom, included) and you will see hundreds and hundreds of comments calling people bad moms, saying they should not have had children and blah, blah. It is exhausting.
The cult of parenthood has made us all insane and the holiday season often brings out the worst. It is all I can do to finish all my baking, decorate the tree, buy all the gifts for the kids and teachers/cleaning ladies/sitters/husband's staff and make my from-scratch gingerbread house (my one nod to Martha each year), all the while knowing that the next major holiday -- my daughter's birthday -- is less than a month away.
So this came at a perfect time. Relax, indeed. Whose standards are we trying to live up to? Those moms who would judge us and say mean things? Some people may be happy trying to achieve perfection, but for most of us, just loving our children and embracing the chaos that comes with them is enough.
So my daughter's hair is not always perfect, her clothes do not always match and she sometimes throws fits in public places. My husband and I are happy, we are in love and we have two beautiful children we adore. The rest of the details don't really matter.
I am relaxing my standards at the tail end of this holiday season -- and well into next year.
What do you think of this advice?
Image via Flickr/MelB.