I read this post yesterday by a fellow mom and felt a sort of heartbreak and shared pain for this person I don’t know but who sounds like somebody I could know — or somebody who could be me. She talks about how she feels she’s constantly failing when she compares herself to other moms with picture perfect kids and nurseries, while she’s just “getting by.” She also admits that mom blogs make her feel bad because the moms on there are always whipping out crafts that would take regular people a year to make and are just basically a virtual “f you” to everybody who is normal and trying to keep peanut butter out of their hair.*
I don’t know about you, but I find parenting, parenthood, and living my life as a parent incredibly difficult. And I know I’m not going to be the first to say this, but comparing ourselves and judging ourselves is beyond counterproductive. I get it: we love our kids more than anything in the world. They are the “perfect” versions of us we can give our all (and if we don’t, we feel like we’re failing them). They are cuter then us, smarter than us, and they deserve everything their friends have and more and more and more. Guess what? For every choice to give them one thing (that “thing” being an object or opportunity or pair of purple pants), you could also not give them that thing and it is impossible to know whether they’d be better off with that thing or without it. (Unless that thing is love, duh). Even twenty years from now, you won’t be able to say, “My kid turned out great ’cause I did this or that” because, for all you know, your kid may be great IN SPITE OF this or that. It seems to me that raising kids is a (very non-scientific) experiment (with no control group), no matter who you are or how much experience you have. (And, of course, the irony is that the people who actually “know how” to raise kids — those who have done it before – are retired from the childcare game and probably pretty happy about that).
I don’t remember whether my mother bought me the purple pants. Sometimes she did. Sometimes she didn’t. She was a great mom. I know she didn’t obsess about what other moms on the internet were doing (yeah, because it didn’t exist. Obvi). She just did her best, and that was “mom enough.”
Postscript: Those crafty bloggers show off all those shiny photos of birthday cakes and glitter muffins ’cause it’s a job. I bet you anything that if you went into their home, they’d have paint in their hair and glitter muffin crumbs under their nails, and all those crafts would be literally eating them, so they’d need to go on one of those Hoarders shows or else, like, die.
*Could somebody please explain to me why (and when) elaborate-ness of one’s craft projects became an indicator of the quality of parenting in our society? Like, is making an exact replica of two hummingbirds in love and placing them on a home-baked red velvet cake going to get my kid into Harvard or ensure he’s a nice person? I’m confused; thanks.