Friday, May 7, 2010

International back patting day

There is a dangerous trend these days to highlight, even glamorize, all that we do wrong as mothers. As a society we are notoriously ‘glass empty’ people. You know what I’m talking about. You see a mom in the mall or the grocery store, and instantly dismiss her as being either smothering or neglectful. Or worse, you turn the knife in on yourself.

I was guilty of this cardinal sin myself. For the entire first year of my son’s life, all I saw were what I (mis)interpreted as glaring failures. How, despite the raw, bleeding nipples, I FAILED to breastfeed. How, despite the countless hours I held and rocked him, I FAILED to soothe the pain my son suffered at the hands of colic and later, teething. My list of perceived FAILS is longer than I care to admit. And I'm sure yours is, too.

With hindsight, I now know that the World’s Best Mother (were she not a creature as mythical as the Pegasus or the self-cleaning husband) would have done no better in my place. Yet the guilt I racked up during those early months of my son’s life led to a not-so-great depression post partum.

All the while I turned a blind eye to the incalculable time I spend reading and singing to LGO, chopping fresh fruit for his snacks, hauling myself out of a warm bed to feed or otherwise comfort him, escorting him to play dates and parks and activities, not to mention the billions of hugs, kisses, and tickles I subject him to on a regular basis.

Which begs the question: why are we moms so hard on ourselves and each other? Beats the heck out of me. But isn’t it time we stop the senseless beatings? This Mother’s Day I dare you to put the blinkers on your shortcomings as a parent. I challenge you, just this once, to open your eyes to the good you do for your kids, no matter how old they are, every single day. After all, if you can’t pat yourself on the back every now and then, how can you expect anyone else to?


  1. Excellent points. Maybe when we - women, our society, etc - start really valuing what moms do, we will, too.

  2. Aw this actually made me cry a little. Very very true. I think since I am such a good mum I shall ask for an extra Canadian Mother's Day present even though I already got one for UK Mother's Day. I am, after all, a dual citizen!! ;o)

  3. Sorry to make you cry, Susan! Hope they were (valued) tears. I agree, Cheryl. But think as women we are sometimes our own worst enemies.

  4. true, true, true! And double the guilt the more kids you have. Its nice to have a reminder and check ourselves once in a while. I'm a big advocate of paying it forward even if it just means giving an empathetic look to the mom whose kid is throwing a tantrum in the grocery store (when its not my kid that is).