Wednesday, January 14, 2015

[Good] Enough Already!

You guys. I was looking through my blog for the first time in FOREVER (insert Frozen Sing-Along here) and I found this post that I wrote almost exactly a year ago but never posted. I remember why I didn't post it. It felt preachy and intense and even silly, since I hadn't posted on my blog in so long. Who is even reading this now, after years of neglect? I don't know. And today I don't care.

...well, there goes my dignity! Oh, right. Never had any. Well, good. That makes this easier.

I re-read this un-posted post today, and I'm so glad I did. I'm posting it now just for me, because I needed to read it today. I hope you like it. Or at least don't hate me for getting my Big Girl voice on for a minute.

______________written 1.22.14____________

Today I was driven to the blog for the first time in far too long, and it wasn't because I am dying to share pictures and stories of my insanely adorable (and sometimes just plain insane) children or tell you all about our big move back to Idaho or holiday updates or even my yearly New Years Resolution stuff. 
Today I got mad because, for the five hundredth time this year so far, I heard someone refer to another person as a "good mom"

Why, after months of blogospheric oblivion would this phrase drive me online? 
Because enough is enough.
Ladies, I'm talking to you. 

We live in a world of scarcity, it's true. Every woman I know wakes up and begins running the numbers...
"Shoot, I didn't get enough sleep."
"I don't have enough time."
"Is there enough money?"
"I don't look good enough to be out in public."
"I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. And, gosh darnit, people don't like me enough."

With all of the comparisons we put ourselves up against every day, whether it be our neighbor who has the same amount of kids we do and a husband who works the same hours yet she always seems to be put together and you always feel one toddler tantrum away from driving your minivan off of a cliff a la Thelma and Louise, or the hundreds of images and messages we see everyday online from friends, celebrities, media, etc. that seem to whisper (and sometimes, shout), "Look at me. I'm better than you. I have it together. I still fit in my size two jeans. I never yell at my kids. My sweet children's lips have never tasted Kraft macaroni and cheese. Young Winston and Arabella took violin lessons before they learned to walk and never, ever pooped out of their diapers and up their backs and onto my designer jeans. I mean, can you even imagine?!"

Here's the truth.
There are no "good" parents and "bad" parents. 
Yes, there are awful, despicable people who abuse, neglect, under-nourish and mistreat their children. That is a sad, sickening fact. 
But these parents are ABUSIVE
And, no, it is not abusive to feed your kids a non-organic apple or let them run around the house in their underwear or tell them "no" 100 times a day.
As for the rest of us non-abusive parents, we are all. just. PARENTS. 
Even if some days you turn on Nickelodeon and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner, and don't blow dry wash brush touch your hair, 
 You are enough every day that you are trying to be better than you were the day before - win, lose, or draw. 
You are enough if you have parenting goals, even if every morning starts with, "I will NOT lose my temper at my children today!" and ends with 
You are enough if you are trying to notice your children, their hopes and fears, and remain close to them through their transitions and changes. 
You are enough if you have a three year old that still refuses to use the potty, so you are back to diapers for the fourth time because it's her body and not yours and you don't control when and where she pees no matter how hard you try! ...At least that's what I've been trying to tell myself for the last week.
Borrowed (stolen) from here.

This jam goes out to all of my non-mommy friends, too, who worry about what others think or wish that things could be different or are tired of feeling guilty for whatever reason. Guess what? You are enough, with or without kids, in your skinny or fat jeans, with six million friends or just three good ones. 

The labeling and put-downs and endless, endless competition has got to stop! These labels just tear us down, collectively, and weaken us. We are women. Whether or not you have children, we are a part of the most influential group in the world. We run the world (girls!). Instead of looking at a picture of Jessica taking her son to the park on Instagram and thinking, "Ugh Jessica you freaking show off! Crap. I can't remember the last time I took my kid to the park. I suck." let's try thinking "Go Jessica's kid! You slide down that slide with your bad self!" or whatever your inner monologue sounds like. Apparently today mine is one Jive Turkey. 

What if we embraced our differences, loved ourselves, and made motherhood a community that didn't allow comparisons and labels? Being called a Good Mom isn't going to mean anything in twenty years. Why? Because there is no way to measure it! What is good to you is someone else's mediocre (have you ever attempted a Martha Stewart craft that wound up looking like it was made by a person with hooks for hands? Then you will know what I am talking about). Also, you CANNOT control your kids. I repeat: YOU CANNOT CONTROL YOUR KIDS. You control the consequences of their actions when they are young. You control what they are taught and how they live, but you cannot take their agency away forever. If you want a measure of a good mom do you look at who logged the most hours? Or was the nicest? Or gave the most punishments? 
Your kids are going to be adults someday and you need to impart to them the knowledge they need to succeed. Whether facebook called you a good mom will not matter in the long run. 
You know what will? Whether your kids enjoy their relationship with you. The number of hugs and kisses and I love you's given in a day, a week, a year. Whether you kept trying, even when things sucked.