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I Don't Care If You're a Great Mom

Posted Sep 12 2008 11:32am

I keep promising myself that I will post more often and then I see that days and days have gone by without a new word from me. Not that you're obsessively checking to see if I've written...but if you have...that would be sooo cool. One of the problems I have with blogging too often is that while I'm writing a book, it's tough to write about motherhood. So, yes, I write about other things as well because, obviously, there's more to me than being a mom. But, then again, some of the more pressing thoughts, feeling and dilemmas I face have to do with parenting my child and reflecting on how I was parented.

Lately in the Blogosphere, there's been this whole thing and we all know what I'm talking about so I won't bother linking anywhere, where we moms are being told that blogging about your failings as a mother is ringing false - that we know we are good moms - I am mother hear me roar - and that spending too much time talking about our foibles is akin to calling ourselves fat. This was thought up by Girl's Gone Child - one of my favorite bloggers, by the way, and I understand where she's coming from but...

I have to politely disagree in part. Of course pretending we are flailing about helplesslessly does get a bit excessive, it doesn't help anyone. We're all doing the best we can. But, one of the things I like most about blogging and reading other people's blogs is the honesty I find. I would hope that blogging about the times we fall extremely short in our efforts to be Mom of the Year would be the exception and not the rule, none-the-less, those are the posts that make me feel less alone in this vast uncharted territory we all call parenting. There are about a zillion ways to fuck up everyday and I believe we mothers and fathers feel this fear like a Greek chorus in our heads - a lot. And not just the neurotic freaks like me. It comes with the package.

Here's my take on it. We should all be good parents and I'm sure most of us are. If you're blogging about parenting you obviously give a shit about doing a decent job. You are interested in all things parenting. You want to know what slings your neighbor is using and who you can plan a cyber baby shower for and whether or not you should entrust a thirteen-year-old with the care of your toddler. Let's face it, most likely you aren't living in a trailer, shotgunning Pabst Blue , spanking the living shit out of your child's rear end for daring to ask for another cookie. And if I'm wrong, I guess I haven't come across your blog yet possibly called

Being a decent well meaning parent should be our baseline. Yes, we're all good moms most of the time. We all want our babies to feel loved, nurtured, breastfed (until they're 15) have high self esteem, learn their ABC's (in Spanish, French and Italian) and always always always know how we love them so much we almost can't breathe when we watch them sleep. How we sometimes have dreams we can't find them, dreams so real we wake up in a cold sweat, tears running down our sleep deprived cheeks and walk around not feeling right for the rest of the day. Most of us would throw ourselves into traffic to protect them but first take them on an educational trip to the frog exhibit at the museum. Yes, this is the parenting 101 part. But what about the days where we don't feel we're living up to even the basics? Isn't it cathartic to write THAT? Isn't it cathartic to READ that?

I in no way find that blogging about falling short in our ideals to be like Kate Moss complaining her ass is too big. Or attending Weight Watchers when you weigh 120 pounds. It's not false. It's how we feel and it's real. It's as real as it gets because parenting brings on a new challenge every. single. day. No one day has passed since Elby's been born that I didn't question at least one decision I've made. I'm sorry I'm not as confident and brimming with what a wonderful job I'm doing. Yes there are certain days I bet other women would kill for my patience, my way with a Bernstein Bear Story, my attention span for an almost unintelligible four minute story about a rock. But that's not funny nor highly relatable. So I don't blog about those things.

This morning I took Elby to a concert at the most adorable retro guitar shop in Los Angeles, McCabes. She got to see her favorite "rock star" Gwendolyn and now she's literally "been there got the t-shirt." Her face while she watched and danced brought tears to my eyes and I probably had more fun than she had. But then we brought her home and what did I do? Immediately turned on the Backyardigans because I needed a break. Fine, you say. She had a great morning so why feel guilty about letting her watch some TV? I'll tell you why. I'm sometimes afraid that turning on the TV is the easy way out. Maybe I could've let her color or turned on a CD and just let her hang out for awhile. But I wanted her distracted so I could get a few things done.

I'm not saying that makes me a bad parent. In fact, earlier I'd been basking in the good parent glow, but things can turn on a dime. And that's why I write. And that's why I read. To be honest, I don't care what a fantastic parent you are. That's not what I learn from. I learn from hearing your fears and insecurities. I learn from hearing about how you almost lost it and yelled "SHUT UP - PLEASE!!!" to your three-year-old. Or the time it wasn't almost.

That's how I feel bonded with you. That's what keeps me reading you. Well that and humor. If you make me laugh I forgive all else. So maybe I should cancel my subscription to MS. Magazine? I would but unfortunately I only have a subscription to Entertainment Weekly.

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