Well, it’s about damn time.

It appears as though, FINALLY, parents are rebelling against this new fangled idea of “perfect parenting” and just saying screw it, we’re doing the best we can – so leave us the hell alone about it.  I just delighted when reading this article at Salon about a new slew of books being published by parents who are just openly admitting that they can’t or won’t conform to the modern American version of parenting.

In Ayelet Waldman’s new book, Bad Mother a Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamaties, and Occasional Moments of Grace , she talks about how failing to try to do everything by the book will put you in the dreaded “Bad Mother” category.  Here is a little excerpt from an interview with her.

Q: What is your definition of a good mother?

AW: As one of my interview subjects said, “A Good Mother remembers to serve fruit at breakfast, is always cheerful and never yells, manages not to project her own neuroses and inadequacies onto her children, is an active and beloved community volunteer. She remembers to make playdates, her children’s clothes fit, she does art projects with them and enjoys all their games. And she is never too tired for sex.”

Q: Okay, so what do you consider the responsible, attainable ideal of a modern mother?

AW: One who loves her kids and does her level best not to damage them in any permanent way. A good mother doesn’t let herself be overcome by guilt when she screws up.

First of all *RANT ALERT*, I like this idea because I, being a mother (and newly single mom) of two young boys detest the way mothers judge each other over insane little things like breast-feeding, sugar intake, television time, and the mack daddy of all issues – the working mom vs. stay at home mom debate.  Oy Vey.  By today’s standards I am probably not a bad mother, but a horrible one.  I work full time with a long commute.  I detest housework.  I have never tracked a bowel movement.  I sometimes swing into Mickey D’s instead of preparing a nutritional dinner.  I forget to give my 9 year old son his ADHD medication.  I give my son ADHD medication.  I yell, hell sometimes I scream!  I secretly rejoice when soccer practice is rained out.  I am not good at matching socks.  I get annoyed that every freaking activity your kid is in has to have a “snack schedule”, and I don’t really understand why today’s child needs a fucking snack for every freaking thing they do.  I do horror movie night every Friday night with my boys, and sometimes there are curse words and usually always gratuitous violence involved.   and I HATE, and I mean I REALLY hate the word playdate.   Aside from all that, I know I am still a good mom.  I do what I’m supposed to do, and I teach them well.  Most of all I love them more than I can stand, and they know I am their number one fan and that I will always be there when they need me.  I love being a mom, and I do the best that I can for me being me.   I’m glad people like Ayelet Waldman are standing up and saying the same thing!

Ayelet Waldman, if you recall, is the woman who was raked over the coals for saying on Oprah that she loved her husband more than her kids.  I think what she was saying was that she didn’t want her life to revolve around her children, that she wanted to be herself, a woman, a wife, and not just a mother.   I can see why the way she phrased it rubbed some people the wrong way, but I give her kudos for having the balls to say it, especially on Oprah…whoa.  I dunno how she made it out of there alive.

Other interesting  titles include  True Mom Confessions:  Real Moms Get Real by Romi Lassaly and Most Popular Mommy blogger Heather Armstrong aka Dooce’s book It Sucked and then I cried:  How I had a baby, A Breakdown, and A Much Needed Margarita.

8 Responses to “Well, it’s about damn time.”

  1. Skye815 Says:

    I love love love hearing you bitch. W2G on saying what needs to be said. What a brilliant and beautiful mind u have…

  2. Please God that when I start popping them out, I love my husband more than my kids. I think that’s one of the main problems in half the failing marriages out there, that women start finding more of their identity in CHILDREN WHO WILL LEAVE THEM (hopefully) instead of in their relationships with their husbands (who will hopefully not leave them) or, you know, themselves.

    And ditts everything you said about love vs. nutrition/extracurricular activities/matching socks.

  3. Bookie,
    A very interesting post. I’m always a little surprised at the amount of judgment among mothers…I always wished to see a little more of the Red Green attitude of “keep your stick on the ice…we’re all in this together.” (I don’t have kids but hope to; most of my observations come from watching mommies in the public library all day long.)

    Although I did judge when I had to pull mothers’ toddlers inside when they were toddling out the front library door. That really pissed me off. But you know what would have made the difference? One mother who said, “Oh, thank you, god, toddlers can move so FAST.” That’s all I would have asked, because I know that sometimes kids are going to get away from you. I never got it though, because I waited on entitled suburban mommies.

    So interesting that you bring up Ayelet Waldman. I just finished her novel “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits,” and although I have mixed feelings about it, it was interesting. I would guess it all depends on the day–some days wouldn’t you love your husband more, and some days wouldn’t you love your kids more? Seems like there would be more of an ebb and flow to it. I give her credit for answering a question honestly. No one ever gives women shit for saying they love their kids more than their husbands, and that’s not really a nice thing for the husbands to always hear, is it?

  4. Skye – Thanks! If you ever feel the need to hear me bitch just mention the word playdate, it’ll just send me over the edge.

    Raych, I hear ya, I had a bad marriage so my kids were always number one but I would have preferred of course to be part of a loving relationship in which my kids could hopefully one day model.

    CR – I think you are right about the ebb and flow. My marriage was so dysfunctional that I certainly did love my kids more, at least they didn’t remind me of my inadequacies on a daily basis. I liked Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, I think I blogged about it here at some point.

    To be honest, I really don’t care for taking my kids to the library/bookstore. I do it because I know its important and I want them to learn to love books as much as I do, but selfishly…I really want it as “me time.” My eyes just sort of glaze over the minute I walk into a library or bookstore, and all I really want at that point is to be left alone to browse. Not possible with the kids…they run of to the children’s section only to plop down on one of the many computers that are displaying spongebob games. I really wish libraries would keep computers out of the children’s section, its such a betrayal of the books. I have lost my kids in the library before *don’t hate me* but I know I said thanks to the poor librarian who helped to track him down. Now, my Modus operandi for libraries is just to request the books online then run in and pick them up from the desk. *Sigh*

  5. Oh, I should have replied to this long ago. I could never hate you! As stated, I know that kids will get away from you. But I’m guessing if I ushered your kids back to you you’d do better than giving me a contemptuous stare and looking at your kids like they’re not yours, which is the response I usually got.

    I hear you on the bookstore/library bit. My eyes glaze over too. If we have kids I’m hoping to leave them in the care of others and make a quick “me” run to the bookstore.

  6. parents PARENT when did parents get so goddamned lazy????

    discipline is a huge part of it and I don’t mean corporal punishmnet i mena u being the adult setting rules not ending every command with “o.k.?”
    and assuming that we all find your kid as charming as u do my job is not raising your brat you made it u bring it up

  7. OMG, do not get me started on these ‘perfect’ mothers and the micro-managing they do of their children. I see so many of them at work and all I can say is THANK GOD I work in the adult area!

  8. Hey I clicked on your blog by luck on feedburner while trying to find something completely obscure but I am truly glad that I did, You have just earned yourself another subscriber. :)

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