Monday, December 27, 2010

Ain't I a Mama?

As I read more of the natural parenting and "mama" blogs out there, I feel as if I am in the minority on many issues, however, in the real world of Portland, Oregon USA I think I'm pretty typical, and in other parts of the country, dare I say, "weird."

The quintessential Mama is an educated (usually with an advanced degree) woman who relinquished her career in order to funnel her intellect into parenting and writing about it while her husband works to pay the mortgage or a woman who works at home part-time either in her chosen profession or creating some kind of hand-made items to sell on etsy (how's that for a run-on sentence!).  She goes to playgroups, effortlessly whips her baby into that Moby wrap, has never given her child a bottle or let him cry while she pees or showers.  She also does not send her children to public school (unless it's a magnet or charter).  She never uses the word "no" with her child and somehow manages to keep her composure and always re-frame everything in the affirmative.  The Mama never makes mistakes.  She does everything right and agrees with all the other Mamas about all things parental.  She does not do TV, or Santa, or candy and her kids don't mind because none of their other playgroup peers have access to these evils either.  The Mama knows everything there is to know about attachment parenting....she can actually channel Dr. Sears...and she is more than willing to advise you on how to pee on an airplane while baby is in the Moby (yes, I have had this conversation with one of them).  The Mama is the ultimate PC-er (except when you're referring to computers, then it's Mac all the way).  She bends over backwards to accommodate those less enlightened because she prides herself on being tolerant of others.

The most important thing to know about a Mama is that.........................................................................


This is something I have to remind myself of every so often when I'm rolling through Bloggyland.  Because I do not fit the Mama mold in its entirety, my guilt snowballs as I click through page after page of like-minded woman spouting their reasons for doing elimination communication, not doing circumcision, not vaccinating and the plethora of other things that exclude me.  I find myself lamenting with a bag of Skittles and asking ain't I a Mama?  

The answer is a simple one: Yes, you are! 

The truth is The Mama is an illusion.  She is a composite of all things deemed "perfect" in modern parenting.  She is like a Barbie in that she has bits and pieces of us, but in totality is a physical impossibility.  Most of the Mamas in Bloggyland are writing about their successes, not their shortcomings.  They are writing about their topic......natural/attachment/whateveryouwanttocallit parenting, so in order to stay on-topic they do not write about the time when they bribed their child with a cookie so she would just hold off the temper tantrum until they left the grocery store.  They write about the aspects of perfection that they can attain and just don't talk about the ones that don't fit into their realistically imperfect lifestyle.

But guess what.......I will!  I will share with you my successes and my failures.  What works for me and what doesn't.  Because I would hate for any of you to sit on your couch at night crying into a sugary snack while sobbing, "ain't I a Mama?"


CML said...

I definitely understand where you're coming from! We don't vax but we do (gasp!) circumcise. I don't always babywear. I had 2 c-sections - I've never even been in labor. But even Dr. Sears himself says that all of what he advocates will not be doable in all families and all situations. As long as we do the best we can at the moment...

Kristen @ Adventures in Mommyhood said...

I think you (general you) have to remember AP/NP/whatchamacallit is not a list of things to check off, it's a guideline and there are people that fit in (or don't) all across the spectrum.

One of the things I'm really trying to work on is not comparing myself to others, whether in parenting or etc.

And I hope you're not lamenting over Skittles reading my blog as I fill the landfills with disposable diapers (see where *my* mommy guilt lies) and give Beanie a cookie at the store nearly every time we go. Not for being good, but just bc that's what we do.

It's all about what works for you, not what works for anyone else.

The Irreverent Mama said...

Hahaha I'm not literally crying. I have gotten so much better about perfectionism, but sometimes it creeps in and I allow myself to wallow in guilt and self-pity. Mostly stemming from not being able to be an at-home parent.

Kristen @ Adventures in Mommyhood said...

I'm a perfectionist too. My counselor told me it's one of the worst traits to have as a mom.

I knew you weren't really crying over your Skittles ;-) My fav blogs are the ones that add a dose of reality once in awhile, too.

Swimming-duck said...

Wow. This was such an amazingly good post. I wish I'd read it sooner. I am very much a perfectionist and it's so easy to compare myself with all of the seemingly perfect mommy bloggers. But I drown myself in Oreos, which is probably even worse than skittles. :P I like how real you are in your blog. It's pretty inspiring!