Okay, so let’s start out saying that being a (good) mother is not easy. Being a bad mother just takes a lot of half-*ss effort in neglect and irresponsibility and bad judgment, but it’s a relatively lazy existence, so let’s separate out those moms who are going that path. Anyone in that category is probably not biding her time reading a mom-blog.
But to be a good mom, wow, that requires a lot more. You’ve got to feed these little people healthy food that makes them grow, not just potato chips and sodas; wash them on a regular basis; make sure they’ve got clean clothes that fit and a place to sleep other than at their school desk and that they can read and speak and walk to the best of their abilities; you’ve got to teach people to say “please” and “thank you” and smile at people who speak to them, but not crazy strangers; you have to clap at music recitals even if they were off-key and cheer at their baseball games and be ready with a big hug when they lose the championship game. You’ve got to take a little 8 lb. bundle of reflex movements and grow them into a full-size, functional, contributing, happy, soulful person. Whew. That’s a lot.
And we each will make our attempts to do that in different ways, as many different ways as there are mothers and children (some kind of billion factorial, if I remember correctly from stats class.) And you know what, it’s going to be some kind of challenge for all of us because nowhere in the mom-handbook does it say that this motherhood thing is going to be easy. In fact, I think they forgot to give me my mom-handbook when I left the hospital.
So…. With this recent chitter-chatter about Gwyneth Paltrow’s comments that moms with regular office jobs having it easier than her 1-movie/year career. Yeah, I think she’s wrong in saying that. Yeah, I rolled my eyes, too and thought, “really, Gwyneth? You’re saying that out your mouth, out loud?” Because we’re thinking, give me your salary, give my your nanny and chef and housekeeper and chauffeur and you can have my 9-to-5 and making school lunches before I leave for work and cooking dinner when I get home life. Today, I’m editing in between making biscuits and doing laundry and taking the kids to the movies because there’s no school, pushing aside the manuscript writing I’m already behind on. And someone will read my plans and think “sheesh, glad I don’t have to do that” and someone else will say “ooh, I’ll trade you for my day!” And I’ll say one or the other about another mom.
We focus on the one who’s got it easier, but we ignore the fact that someone’s got it harder. What we need to be doing is focus on the blessing we have, as we are, and what lies before us. And that goes for me, too, undoubtedly. But you know how we think….
The coffee’s always sweeter on the other kitchen counter.
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