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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Breaking the Good Mom Myth

"Ah, motherhood - This is fun, right??

What makes us a good mom? What makes us a good wife??
I'm sure we could ask 100 different people of different ages, backgrounds, sex, and we would never get the same answer.
So, where do we get all of our ideas or "beliefs" of what a good mom/wife is? Is it something that we learned from our own childhoods, a belief that has grown with us? Is it something we see on TV, something we read in books, or is it something that society has done to us? Maybe it's a little of all of these things combined?
For me, it is definitely society. I look at my girlfriends, I read about people on Facebook, all of the great meals they are cooking, fun things they are doing with their kids, looking at pictures or reading status'. Everyone else's life looks so darn perfect!
After seeing/reading/watching all of this,, I feel like I have to keep up with everyone. Gosh, some of you even make me feel like I must be neglecting my children! Thanks for that! lol
I didn't take my girls to the park this week/month, didn't have a play date! Oh my gosh, I didn't do any crafts this week and I forgot to read them a book at bedtime!! I look at all of you moms doing this stuff, and I feel like I just can't keep up! Some days, we have lots of fun, doing fun things, but I just don't have it in me every single day.

I stumbled across this book in Chapters before Christmas. BREAKING THE GOOD MOM MYTH by ALYSON SCHAFER. I think that every one of you should go buy it, or get it from the library. She talks about so many of the issues that I have already mentioned, and more. She lists so many of the common "myths" that people believe make a good mommy.
Myth#1~ Self-Care is Selfish
Myth#2~My Children are a Reflection of Me
Myth#3~My Marriage Can Wait
Myth#4~Good Mothers are All-Caring and All-Protecting
Myth#5~Good Mothers are in Control
Myth#6~Good Mothers Manage Sibling Conflict
Myth#7~Only the Best Education for My Child
Myth#8~Good Mothers Make Life Fun and Entertaining

I could go on an on about each chapter and each myth, but I think it is something that everyone has to read for themselves. My favourite Myths are #'s 1,3, and 8

Self Care is Selfish~ The author gives us an awesome example from the airlines: Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Makes sense! You can't take care of your children or anyone for that matter, if you don't take care of yourself. So,, self-care is definitely not selfish!!
This is so true and I think that so many of us forget it. Why do we feel like we can't run out for a haircut, or enjoy a pedicure? Why do we feel bad if we feel like we need a night away?? Why do we put off girls nights??? Guilt, Guilt, Guilt!! What a horrible emotion!

My Marriage Can Wait~ This is a great chapter as well. The author states that we all seem to make the mistake of thinking that our marriages are made of Titanium. That marriages will withstand the neglect that comes with raising children. Without work though,, unfortunately divorce rates prove that they won't. She states that we all need to make sure to make time for our marriages/husbands.Even if it is just 5 minutes a day, to laugh, cuddle. Make sure to talk about something other than the kids (Is it possible??)... Try to make the laundry wait, making lunches can wait.. sit on the couch and cuddle... take a week vacation once a year WITHOUT the kids (YIKES!), the kids will thank us for it later!! A happy, loving marriage produces happy, loving children!! Wow! So true!(I personally have never thought of it this way before) I'm booking a weekend away for my hubby and I in the next couple of weeks, I can't wait. I'll miss the girls, but i know that they'll be just fine when I get home. It will probably even do them some good to be away from mommy!

Good Mothers Make Life Fun and Entertaining!~ This is the one that I seem to struggle with the most.. I'm just not a "Mom Fun Factory",, I don't act as "Mom-u-tainment" (as it is referred to in the book).. I feel bad almost every day that I'm not doing more with my kids. At the end of the day though, they're happy, they can entertain themselves,they don't seem to mind, and they really don't bore easily.
Is that me trying to justify being a boring mommy??
My favourite line in the book is ~ Boredom is beautiful- Don't rescue them!!
She says ~ long gone are the days when moms kicked their kids out of the house, telling them to go play with the pine cones in the backyard.... I know a lot of our kids are too young to do that with, but the point is there. We don't always have to keep them busy, we don't constantly have to be entertaining them. Sure its nice to do fun things with them, but it doesn't have to be every single day, or every single hour.
I read this,I take it all in and I know that it is all true, yet I still feel bad about everything I DON'T do with the girls.
The guilt that goes along with being a mommy is crazy.. they say it gets easier as you go,, but I'm not convinced of that.

I don't try to sell much, but this book has really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I hope some of you check it out.
I am curious to hear from you ladies. What are your opinions on why we put these high expectations on ourselves? Where do they come from? Am I the only one that is so hard on myself? Am I the only one that feels like I have to live up to these Myths that make me a perfect mom??

Have a good night ladies,,, hopefully we can all let our kids experience some "boredom" tonight and take a few minutes to enjoy the men in our lives!! I'm going out for dinner with a girlfriend (2x in one week and I don't feel bad!!!)
Should we talk about men tomorrow, or should I wait until Monday so that we don't hate them all weekend??! lol


Anonymous said...

Great points Sarah. I have to find this book and start reading it!!! Have a good night out hunny!!

Victoria said...

Wow, this book sounds great. I think I will have to pick it up. I can totally relate to the points. I was raised to believe that You should ALWAYS put your family first, and at the cost of your own wants / desires. I always feel so guilty about doing things for myself. Even going to the gym ( which keeps me healthy and gives me the energy I need to keep up with my boys) I have that pain of guilt like I should be at home doing bath time instead. I know that I am not the only one who feels like that, but it is nice to hear of others too. So thanks, keep the blogs coming, they go great with my morning coffee(s).

Kristen said...

Wow Sarah, where was this blog about 7.5 years ago for me!!! When my first was born and I was feeling like I was sinking fast. (my heart is heavy right now and tears welling up as I write this) I was used to being busy and working long hours with my career but that was nothing compared to being a first time mom. The normal things like lack of sleep, hormones, your body being completely out of whack... to top it all off things were stressed with extended family and the stress spilled and adversely affected my marriage. I too sought counselling and grew very close to an incredibly strong and smart friend and got through it day by day and not a day more. The power of a good friend is unmeasurable!

I think what you are doing with this blog is so remarkable and what everyone is feeling is so normal! Having 3 kids 3 and under was so hard for me and then I started journalling and validating what was important to me and what I valued. This is when I realized if I can't make myself happy, I cannot be an example for my family to look up to. Values are huge and when I identified them I found it easier to live them.

For me, taking care of myself is not getting pedicures, haircuts etc... those are wonderful but they are bandaids for me... for me it's being a part of a committee that is going to make a change at the playground at school, it is being a part of a book club, it is helping someone with their christmas urns, it is working. Those things make me happy. So giving up the notion that it was the right thing to do to be a stay at home mom, for me, released so much stress! I am blessed to have had the first three years at home with the girls but I am really happy to be back at work. Everyone is so different.

Amanda said...

I am going to have to look for this book! As far as I'm concerned there is no "perfect" mom, except Mrs.Brady of
Stay at home mom or not they are both tough. There are days I want to go back to being at home and then I have a week with the little "angels" and I am so happy to be back at work. If only we could have our cake and eat it too. I try to stay positive, but sometimes it's really hard. Sometimes I laugh to myself now about how as kids we thought we could get to my mom by saying "we're going to call the cops on you" and she'd reply "please do, I would love a holiday at the homewood right about now". are NOT alone....

Sarah said...

Thanks ladies! It is so true, no matter whether you work or stay home, it's tough!
I want to stay home more than anything, yet I still struggle with what my "purpose" is. I know that I need something just a little more. At the same time, I know that I'm not ready to be back at work... Either way,, I'm not happy!! lol.
Amanda, you're right when you say that it would be nice to have our cake and eat it too!
Kris, you've come a long way, I think it's great that you're doing what makes you happy, that you "put your oxygen mask on"
Different things make all of us happy, but I think that the main point is, we have to make ourselves happy to make our kids happy. So, if it's going to the gym, getting a pedicure, going to work,, we gotta do what we gotta do!!! Thanks ladies!

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