Overjoyed that my lovely little daughter makes me several crayoned, sparkly construction paper cards that tell me just how much she loves me. That my husband gives me flowers and showers me with love and gratitude. If I could capture the meaning of Mother’s Day in this little cocoon, it would be beautiful and perfect.
Unfortunately, Mother’s Day outside of this bubble is just plain confusing, guilt-ridden, and at times, downright ugly. Mother’s Day has been hijacked by Hallmark, diamond manufacturers, and mail-order-flowers-build-a-bear-pajama-gram-type places. Seriously, when did being a Mom become so commercial? And when did it become so political?
Being a Mom is such a spiritual, personal, incredible, unbelievable experience that is as unique as the fingerprint of each child born. No two Moms are alike, just as no two children are alike. Yet our culture would have us all believe that all Moms need to be lumped into very specific categories in order for them to be acceptable and valued. And then there are very specific standards that a Mom is to meet within those categories to be considered a true representation of said category. Confused? Then you must not be a Mom, because we deal with this shit every day.
Are you a Working Mom? Then you suck at parenting and spend zero time with your children. Are you a Stay At Home Mom? Then you must be the perfect parent with a hot meal each night and your children incredibly well behaved in every situation. What, you don’t breastfeed? Then you are a failure as a Mom and there is no hope for your child.
These are the messages we hear and feel every day from the world around us, and from our fellow Moms. Seriously, a so-called fellow Mom can be either your best friend or your worst enemy. Some who I thought were friends turned on me if I shared something about my parenting that they disagreed with. The judgment and shame can be so harsh within the Mom community. It is a sad, twisted reality that is just plain disgusting.
Case in point: the so-called Mommy Wars that continue to get fueled by whatever is the latest “mom trend.” Attachment Parenting is the latest trend that is getting a ton of attention, criticism, and controversy (just check out the latest issue of Time Magazine, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days). Breastfeeding, vaccinations, working … these are all very personal decisions that should only impact you, your partner and your child(ren), yet somehow either of these, or all at the same time, become “hot topics” on the talk show circuit, become political talking points, and fuel the judgment of Moms.
The worst part is that with any of these topics, you are either right or wrong. Black or white. No gray what-so-ever. If you breastfeed, you are a saint; if you don’t you are an outcast. It’s unbelievable. What about those of us who have to make some tough choices based on our personal situations? Unfortunately our culture, and other Moms, do not always care about the details. It’s more like “either you are with us, or against us.” Not cool.
Thankfully there are plenty of Moms out there who do not buy into all of this nonsense. There are witty, loving, gracious, non-judgmental Moms and Dads who are living their lives by their own terms. Luckily, I have been able to find a lot of them, especially through Social Media outlets. We can connect in new ways, share our stories, laugh at the craziness, and feel accepted and loved for who we are. Not be held to some arbitrary standard that will most likely change with the new trend of the month.
Mother’s Day will always be a strange day for me. All the confusing emotions swirling around in my mind and body. Happiness, guilt, gratitude, and confusion. It’s all there, at the same time, pulling me in a million different directions. But hey, this is exactly what Motherhood is all about, right?!