Good Mothers

I may be in love with Felicity Huffman. I’m not even kidding.

felicity motherFrom the moment I first watched her wrangle those fake kids of hers on Desperate Housewives in the first season she became my Florence Henderson.

For me Felicity’s portrayal was the closest thing to what I consider my life as a new working mother: chaos.  And now after reading this, I love her all over again.(Big thanks to Emma Waverman over at Embrace the Chaos  – another blogger I love- for posting it)

I love writer Candace Derickx too.  She’s not on TV (though she should be) and her honest take on motherhood over at Life in Pleasantville  always get my head nodding.

These are only three of many women who are doing what I admire: Mothering their children on their own terms.

It’s what I aspire to as well.

I threw in the towel on mothering by the book a long time ago.

kids sand

That's Ish and the boys building a sand castle. I played the role of "supervisor."

From the moment I first read the opening pages of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and ditched it for the “Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy” I knew I wasn’t going to be able to live up to the stereotypical model. I don’t even try.

My version of motherhood has never been one that fit into traditional streams. In fact it has come to a point where I’m not always sure what the “good mother” would do anyway.  Case in point: Our current trip around the world. Would a good mother take her kids out of school for a year to travel? Would she force them to do math when there’s a pool nearby? Would she let them eat ice cream for breakfast? Would she ditch the curry (but never the naan)  and take them to McDonalds in India?  I’ve done all of that and more.

mcdonalds mom india Would she sit and play cars with them for hours on end? Would she join them in the pool when they call to throw a ball around?  I’ve been known to say no to both.

Does she breastfeed or bottlefeed? Go in to an office or Work at Home? Hire a nanny or do it herself?

What would a good mother do?

I don’t know. I do know that my  version of motherhood has no rules. There are no hard and fast answers. There are no must dos.

Today I might walk away from the computer to play. Tomorrow I might not.

I have left them at home with their dad early and often to travel to places where I spa’d it up and ate grown up meals. I’ve shipped them off to the grandparents to take a romantic getaway.

And I’ve taken flack for it – mostly from other mothers. I try not to take offence. I know it comes from that place in every mother that knows that this is the one job they so desperately want to get right. And in a bid to get it right comes the need to validate their decisions and defend them at all costs. I get it. I just refuse to buy into it and I try not to be guilty of it.

boys hd indiaInstead of ruling my world the ‘Good Mother” (GM for short) has become a very small voice in the back of my head that offers up another option when a situation is presented.  It’s my trigger for trying to weigh whether a decision I’m making is truly my own. I’m most concerned when what I’m doing coincides with what the voice suggests.

Reading Felicity’s post was a reminder to keep  GM in the closet.  Candace’s recent post over at the Yummy Mummy Club was another.

We don’t have to be perfect. We can’t be.We just need to keep our eyes on the prize – the adults we’re trying to raise our kids to be.

My job as a mother is loving these kids until they burst and never letting them think for a moment otherwise.

And anything that conflicts with keeping our relationships real, whole and happy holds no place here.

Take that GM.

kissing cam

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{ 14 comments… add one }

  • SeeMummyJuggle February 29, 2012, 8:58 AM

    Ok, first, they have Naan at McDonald’s in India?! Second, I’m incredibly touched that you said such kind things about me in this post. Coming from someone I adore, it’s a HUGE compliment. Let’s start a mutual adoration society? Third, I never once sat down and played dolls with my kids. Hello? I’m not a kid. I don’t ask them to sit and drink wine with me. So, I’m sure I’m on some bad moms list somewhere for that. Who cares right? The only report card I’m worried about is the one my kids give me in another 15 years or so ;) 

  • Maija @ Maija's Mommy Moments February 29, 2012, 9:01 AM

    Heather you are an amazing mother. Your “GM-ness” radiates out of you. #thatisall :)

  • jillianwalker February 29, 2012, 3:11 PM

    You constantly inspire me my dear! Fantastic post. 

  • Kat February 29, 2012, 3:55 PM

    I love your take on GMs. There’s so much advice floating around and it’s easy to get sucked in and doubt what we’re doing. If we love our kids and we do right by them then we’re good mothers. 
    And as far as I see it you are providing the best education possible for your kids. They get to experience new places and people. Very cool.

  • Onica @ Mommy Factor March 1, 2012, 5:45 AM

    Such a great post. I also liked the “mother” that Felicity portrays, just closer to realness ya know.  I agree that there’s no hard and fast rules to motherhood besides keep them feed, clean and happy.  Beyond that each mother has to discover what her families needs and how to “mother” in her own way

  • Heather March 2, 2012, 1:35 AM

    lol. No Naan at McDonalds but they should!  I’m in for the mutual adoration society and you’ve never played dolls? Love you even more now.

  • Heather March 2, 2012, 1:38 AM

    I’m not even sure I even meet the “fed,clean,happy” every day! But I think if we strive for that we’re golden, right? :) Seriously though I agree with you: each mother has to discover what her family needs and how to “mother” in her own way

  • Heather March 2, 2012, 1:39 AM

    And have you noticed how so much of the advice is conflicting?!? So infuriating. Glad you’re enjoying the ride with us.

  • Heather March 2, 2012, 1:39 AM

    Thanks Jillian! I would say the same of you!

  • Heather March 2, 2012, 1:40 AM

    Nah. Just doing the best that I can to make sure they feed me when I can’t feed myself. ;) I’m lucky in that I don’t know any mothers who aren’t incredible people. You among them!

  • Sheena March 2, 2012, 3:08 AM

    Love this, Heather.  I’m tired of being the grumpy mother at the moment – time to get back some fun!

  • Heather Greenwood Davis March 6, 2012, 1:35 AM

    Oh I do grumpy mom well! But I agree, fun mom is better

  • Mikki99 March 14, 2012, 9:53 PM

    Yes, no need to feel guilty you are growing and helping your children grow. It helps if you have family support and a supportive partner to allow you to fulfill your dreams. How about visiting Israel?

  • Jan Marie March 21, 2012, 5:08 PM

    I just found this mom today and you seem like one of the best moms EVER!
    You have something that works and are raising cultured children,
    emphasizing the importance of travel, other cultures and people. You’re
    literally preparing them for the real world. The real world for them
    doesn’t have to be boring school then college then a 40 hour desk job.
    You are stepping out of the box and letting them grow in ways that most
    people don’t even think of. THAT is what makes a good mother.

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