I have been praised for my mothering skills as have most mothers at one time or another. The person that says how perfect of a mother you are and how lucky your kids are or the lady behind you at the supermarket who praises your children's behavior and says you must have "raised em right". I often feel like laughing at these times. Yes, I am not great at taking a compliment but more so because I inevitably flash back to that morning where I threatened them with grounding for all eternity if they didn't stop fighting or the night before when I told Dan "OK, I am done. Good luck." and locked myself in my room with the t.v. up loud enough to drown out their sweet little voices. I have a secret philosophy to parenting and it is ...don't be the perfect mother. I have this philosophy for a few reasons and here they are...
No one likes the perfect Mom...including her own children. We all probably know a Mom who just thinks she knows it all. She uses the "latest" child rearing techniques, keeps an immaculate house, has her day wrestled and scheduled within an inch of it's life, her kids take lessons on the lessons they take, she tablescapes for every meal, her kids wear only name brands as does she, her husband jumps into action when she gives an order, she is probably head of the P.T.A....well you get it. Someone like this is more of a chore than a friend and as her children you would have a hard time ever measuring up or realizing she is actually a human being. It is all surface and no depth. I think the deep dirty depths is where all the good stuff is.
Also, I am not perfect and trying to outwardly project that I am would take up too much time and energy. I have flaws. I can be impatient. I am often single minded. I swear like a drunken sailor when I am super angry. I sometimes get super angry. I am human and trying to be perfect would drain all the spunk, creativity, realness right out of me. I can't imagine how much time it would take out of my life to keep the house "company ready" constantly or make sure I was brushed up on the next trendy parenting book,device, etc.... I mean I have a 3 year old people! He is like the perfect storm just plowing his way through my house everyday. Right now I hear him upstairs moving the stool around to reach something he shouldn't...be right back.
The most important reason of all is I am not the role "Mom". I perform acts of mothering because I care about and love these little beings I brought into the world. Just as I do not belong to the role of wife...I do not identify myself with the role "mother" I don't do things because it is what is expected or because the role is who I am. I just Am. There is no role, no word, no dictionary definition that could define me. I like things that have nothing to do with mothering. I don't believe that mothering is the "whole reason I am here" "the most important thing I will ever do" and all those other little phrases that are used to rope and guilt us women into thinking that our kids have to be every part of our existence and if we aren't doing it all with style and grace we failed. I believe that following my passions and showing my children my flaws and how to overcome them and that there is always room to learn and improve is a wonderful thing for them to see. The truth is that there isn't one single thing you do that is that important in the big scheme of things. The bigger truth of it is that your kids will grow up and move away and if all you ever were was "Mom" than a.) your kids never really got to know you b.) you never really got to know you and c.) you are gonna have a really tough time when they leave.
I believe my objective in this life is to improve and learn all the lessons that are brought before me. Mothering teaches a lot of lessons and being blessed enough to share some time ,love and knowledge with the children you are gifted with is awesome. So, I offer an alternative to perfect parenting. Throw the shallow surface scraping perfect parenting out the window. Just be yourself ; face each present moment really experiencing your children and let them experience you and how you improve, love, laugh, fail and learn. Today I will probably get immersed in my own world for awhile, might skip the dishes, heck I might even drop an "F" bomb if I stub my toe and that is O.K with me.