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