I got a sweet note from a friend after my last blog entry thanking me for being "real" on my blog. She said other bloggers (and I'm sure other moms on the playground and in books and magazines and on TV shows) sometimes made her feel that she is falling short of some "good mom" goal and she appreciated reading that someone else might not have it all together either but still managed to get by, maybe even joyfully.
Here's what I want to know: where are they?
Where are all of these "got it together" mamas that we hold ourselves up to and constantly, helplessly, obviously fall short of? I’m sure even those intimidating women I see at the gym with their huge rings and coordinating gym clothes and mammoth SUVs and daughters with matching hairbows feel like they are falling short somewhere. Because most of the women I talk to - real women with real children and lives and husbands and houses that get dirty and laundry that's not done and frozen pizza for dinner - rarely ever seem to feel that they've "got it together". But what does that mean? Where do we get the idea from that mothering has anything to do with being "together"? In my opinion, it has much more to do with just being PRESENT.
Shortly after reading my friend's message, I read another blog entry about very much the same thing. Another mom who might not have a house that looks like the photos in a Real Simple article, but who has identified priorities for herself and her children. Her post centers, to me, around this little snippet of wisdom:
"And then I remember what my most important parenting job is. And that is to teach my children how to deal with being human. Because most likely, that’s where they’re headed. No matter what I do, they’re headed towards being jacked-up humans faster than three brake-less railroad cars.There is really only one way to deal gracefully with being a jacked-up human, and that is this: Forgive yourself."
Can I get an "amen"? How can we teach our children how to gracefully navigate life, mistakes and all, if we pretend to never make them?
At the end of her entry, this blogger asks her readers to leave comments telling what makes them a good mom. Not what they need to fix or forget to do or think that the lady in front of them at carpool does better, but what they do well all on their very own. I think for me it is that I do recognize every day that I am not a perfect mother or wife or housekeeper. My living room rug is currently host to enough dog hair to cover another good sized dog and there is laundry on the bedroom floor that has been there for at least a day or two. I'm not sure what we're having for dinner and it may very well come out of the freezer. But I love my daughter. I love being her mother. She makes me laugh every single day. And what I am good at is allowing myself to fall short of perfect so that I can find joy in those fleeting moments. I’ve found that for me to be a happy, and therefore I think a “better” mother, it's more important to me to BE together than to HAVE IT together.
Happy Mother’s Day, mamas. You’re all awesome.