Moms Are People Too - A Mamafesto
Stuff to live by as a Survivin' Mama. Please feel free to add to it at will.
- The Limits of Self-Sacrifice. I don't buy the bullshit notion that having a child puts me in the backseat of my life forever. Mother's Day just passed and there were too many messages about self-sacrifice. Motherhood is self-sacrifice by it's very definition. We don't need to further moralize an already incredibly hard job by stating that we will forever be in the service of our child. I say, once your kid can wipe it's butt and make toast, self-sacrifice can be notched down a tad.
- A Commitment to Equal Parenting. If you are in a couple scenario, may you always fight for the right to have an equitable balance of childcare responsibilities in your home. If you are a single parent, you deserve a medal and a lifetime supply of anti-depressants, dark chocolate, red wine and/or craft beer of your choice. You're killin' it! Don't listen to anything I have to say.
- Try to Be the Person You Needed as a Kid. Again, not trying to be too advicey, but when I was a kid, all I wanted was to be wrapped in a love sandwich all the time, preferably full of chips and peanut butter with a side of Coke. Loving your kid can be hard when you are spent and they are dangling from the raw exposed nerve that becomes a clear and present reality once you have children. Love them anyway. I worried for about five minutes that I was spoiling Aya and then I was like, I was super spoiled and I'm a functional adult so let the spoiling continue! (People actually think that picking up your child when they cry is spoiling them which makes me feel a little sick to my stomach). There is a difference between spoiling with love and spoiling with stuff as a substitute for being there and actually caring. But totes get them the stuff too, because you are the parent and you make the decisions dammit!
- Trust Yourself. You're rad. Need I say more?
- Do Not Trust Anyone Who Acts Like Parenting, Especially Mothering, Is Easy. Those b*tches are liars. HOWEVER, they still need your love, kindness and support because it is isn't easy and pretending it is makes it SO MUCH WORSE.
- Me Time is a Thing That You Deserve. Any parent does. Every parent does. Take a shower. Walk. Ten minutes, one hour, a whole day. How can you get what you need out of the time that you can carve out for yourself? No one is saying it is easy, but without it, you're f-ed dood.
- Try Not to Lose it When Someone Makes Generalizations About Your Kid. This is more just a Jackie-reminder: People are trying to make conversation, not indoctrinate your daughter into uncomfortable gender stereotypes that will restrict her view of herself and disable her from becoming the world leader she is destined to be. So, calm the f down, okay? A clerk in a store recently suggested my daughter was "SO shy" and I almost LOST MY FREAKING MIND! Nope, I snarled, she just has a thirty second warming up period. Why did that make me so bonkers? Something to examine in another post. But seriously, can't you just ask her about her future career as the first woman to build an international school for the really cool thing she is super talented in? I mean, IS THAT SO HARD!??!?!?!
- Always Connect With Other Mothers. Even when they are saying to you that their little boy is terrorizing your daughter because "He likes her," just try to shield your kid while chatting with her about something momtacular and then form a bond that allows you to later be like, "I think that telling girls that little boys hit them because they like them sets a problematic precedent for abuse and suggests to girls and women that they at fault or responsible for any assaults they may experience." You know, something super casual like that.
- Don't Judge. Just don't.
- Practice Self-Compassion. The only way any of us is getting out of this parenting thing alive is if we give ourselves a break and I don't mean "don't beat yourself up about giving your kids chicken nuggets" because is there really anyone out there who does that!?!?! If you do, you definitely need to lay off yourself because everybody knows that toddlers (and I imagine kids in general) hate a broad range of foodstuffs and will easily survive on chicken nuggets and white bread. I know I did (plus the peanut butter and Coke mentioned above of course). Are they growing? Is anyone crying at dinner (that might be a trick question!). If they are growing, fantastic! You are a wonderful parent. Yay!
That's it for now but I am sure I will have other obnoxious and wonderful things to add in future!