Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Mommy Guilt - She who smelt it dealt it.

For the next hour or two, I'm going to be writing this post in eight minute spurts.  I'm baking fartcloggers. 

I was creaming sugar and shortening for snickerdoodles and my son remarked that these cookies would be heart cloggers.  I didn't hear him well over the sound of the mixer and confused heart for fart.  From now on a perfectly innocent cookie has taken on the humor of boy children.  That's fine.  If eating snickerdoodles could indeed clog their farts, home life would be so much fresher.

This story, of all things, is an apt segue into the second post in my series on mommy guilt.

Though I may self title myself as a housewife, and I bake cookies, and sometimes I listen to my children, I don't derive my entire worth from my role as mother and because of that, I don't need to feel guilty when that role doesn't go as well as expected.

There is this myth out there, which is fed from all manner of popular media and political arenas and social and cultural meeting places, that a woman isn't a woman until she has the life changing experience of spawning children.  Then, when you've spawned children in some fashion or another, you must put your entire value, being, and soul into the roll or ya just ain't doin' it right.  Mommyhood first, everything else is secondary and frankly, not nearly as worthwhile.

And if you ain't doing it right at any given time, according to popular media and political arenas and to the folks doing all their blabbering in those social and cultural meeting places, you are a failure.  A failure as a mother, a failure as a woman, a failure to the entire human race.

That kind of pressure and comparison can sure make a mommy feel guilty.  Paranoid.  Catatonic.

Except, I know I'm going to make mistakes as a mother and we'll move past those.  And I know that it's always been okay to pursue interests outside of motherhood, and to fail or succeed when it comes to those interests.  And I know it's wonderful to mesh my family and whatever is outside of my family into one big satisfying life.

Just this last week I had interactions with other folks trying to shame me for the way I mother.  I've been told that I'll raise heartless children because I have not raised them in a religious tenet.  In another interaction I was told that I'll raise sheltered and ignorant children for monitoring their computer use and not allowing them cell phones unless they can pay for them.  In yet another interaction I was told that because I drop my children off to school in the morning wearing flannel pajama pants instead of getting dressed in something with more dignity, that I'd embarrass them and thus they'd be teased and bullied.

Whatever.  Bring it on.  I can handle it.  I threw away the flannel pants with the hole in the butt so let's get ready to rumble.

As Popeye said, I yam who I yam, and I don't need permission or approval from anyone to approach motherhood in my own way.  I'm a good person who tries to live my life with integrity.  I didn't have to adopt a square version of motherhood to fit into my round life because Dr. Spock told me I already had the tools I needed to be successful.  I'm authentic.  This is me as mother and as person, and that resonates with my children.

So what if my kids go around calling cookies, "fartcloggers".  Their mommy baked them warm for them and we all had an authentic moment with smiles on our faces.

...and if they repeat the joke in school the next day, instead of feeling badly about it, I'm going to laugh about the whole thing.

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