If I were to tell you that I’ve never bad-mouthed another mother’s parenting style I would be a dirty, stinking, no-good storyteller. I admit here and now that I have, and to make myself sound even more disgraceful- whilst doing so I enjoyed every minute of it.
I suppose it goes back to the rudimentary definition of bullying which is hurting others to make oneself feel superior. And man alive does it ever!
Each time I roll my eyes at the mother in Walmart that is spanking her bratty kid I can feel my awesomeness grow by leaps and bounds. Or when I gossip endlessly about so and so and her innate obsession with all things sanitizer I feel this floating air of supremacy that encircles me like the first radical effects of a psychedelic drug.
(Not that I would understand what that feeling is like…Pft.)
Eventually the high ends and it is in the aftermath of Mama-Bashing when the cool claws of guilt begin to skulk into my quickly blackening soul. I will be sitting there, for once, minding my own business and begin to think about what others are saying about my mothering skills.
The God-awful fact that I spew mine and my children’s dirty laundry all over the place for a few chuckles and some possible fandom.
The absolute horrors of my home and it’s constantly dirty floors. OH HOW I HATE DOING THE FLOORS!
The wretchedness that is me when I get exasperated with the tiny humans I call Lars & Sophie.
The Dishonor of my loud and proud approach when I am out with the girls and yell to the world that I am ecstatic to be rid of the kids for a few hours. The fact that I do this without shame.
I wonder what the other moms, the strangers who do not know me, the people who only identify with me through the words I write and even my best of friends, think of me in these times of frenzy. It occurs to me that probably as I am screaming at my children to “pick up the damn toys in the living room” my neighbors have already set in on the topic of how terrible of a mother I am.
And I wonder if this is why we all try to be so fucking perfect?
As I write, a concept if you will, floats somewhere between a to-do list and the finishing of this blog post. It begins to take shape and with it a new realization is haplessly coming into view. I don’t know if I will enjoy the execution of my brains pioneering idea- but in times like these- we cannot worry about such superficial things such as enjoyment. This is mothering we’re talking about.
It is a vicious circle- the mothering effect that is. We do our best to be the moms that we mentally showcased in our fantasies while pregnant and still utterly wistful. But somewhere between the fetid smell of infant feces on your cheek and the awful reality that this is only the beginning we start to play this thing called parenting discordantly rather than cohesively
Do we hurt each other- call our fellow mothers down- for mere sport? I desperately hope the answer is no. I hope for us, the people raising this next generation, we have not stooped to such a level.
I am starting to believe there is a pattern when it comes to this mom bashing thing…
I think we indulge in the act when we ourselves desire something more in our child raising regime. Perchance we knock down the ‘faults’ of our fellow mothers to mentally take the strain off what we are worrying about in our own routines. But why are we worrying in the first place? Well, simply put, there is a catty eyed mom peering at you down the produce aisle just waiting for you to fuck up so she can go and gossip to all her friends about it.
But what if we step back, focus on ourselves, our families and our own well-being before looking in on the lives of others? What if we uplift instead of criticize? What if we support instead of censure? What would happen if each time we had the urge to bad-mouth each other we instead put forth an act of love and understanding?
I don’t know. I don’t know what the answers to these questions are- maybe there is no one answer to any of them.
I do know that appearance means little when it comes to the mothering condition. I cannot control what anyone else thinks of my choices. What I can control is how happy my children are, how content my family and I feel together, and how I treat the other women I share this beautiful label of Mom with.