mommy dearest

I'm reading a new book -
Breaking the Good Mom Myth: Every modern mom's guide to getting past perfection, regaining sanity, and raising great kids, by Alyson Schafer.

and here's a blurb (ok, it's really a few paragraphs) I'd like to share to get you (and me) thinking ...

"I don't think it helps matters that our generation is coming into motherhood at a time in parenting history when our culture wholeheartedly believes that children are ever-so-fragile and utterly-dependent. we feel that whatever happens to them is on our shoulders, we have taken on the entire responsibility for how our children's lives evolve, and that's a BIG deal! we're near paralyzed by the fear that we simply can't afford to slip up. we're told that what we do as mothers will forever cast their future. how do you like having that responsibility?

so, what do we do? we take on childrearing with the same driven attitude and perfectionism that our achievement-oriented, competitive culture espouses for seemingly every task these days, from education and careers to driving, cooking, and sure, why not go for your black belt in yoga while we're being ludicrous? "competitive peacefulness." wow - this is a sign of how far off the mark we've come!

parenting has become a competitive pursuit, and it's fuelled by a child-focused culture that has our children on a precious pedestal. we've lifted the childrearing to new heights. this is no longer an intuitive job for the masses. no. it apparently requires resources, research, and skills training to "execute." seems we're now in the business of "people-building" and "unlocking potentials," and frankly, it's starting to look a lot more like project management than parenting, without kids become the measure of our mothering success. yech! the trouble is, our own self-worth is so tied to it all that we can't seem to let go of it, even when we know better. let's face it - deep inside we abide by the belief that if we fail motherhood, it will be our ultimate failure and, alternately, if our children "work out," it's our crowning accomplishment. isn't it? are we courageous enough to admit it?"

wow. well, what do you think about that?
to me it sounds a bit extreme, but that is the kind of world we live in now. you have to be the best of the best, at any job or talent, in order to stand out or move ahead. could parenting be included in the competition?

I would have to agree with that last part, I would feel failure if my kids became unsuccessful in some way. whether it was being homeless and jobless, or just unhappy with their life. at the same time, I know their lives are in God's hands, not mine. God has given me these children to mold; in teaching them I teach myself, yet He holds control ... luckily. it could very well be His will that Sam be homeless - God's glory can be revealed in countless ways, and that's the part I need to focus on.

I tend to get jealous rather than competitive. it's not any better; jealousy can still eat away at you and tear down your confidence. I know a constant disappointment in myself, in any area, will find its way onto my kids ... that's how evil spirits work; a deeply rooted issue of ANY kind inevitably gets passed on. so, realizing my weaknesses, I try to change it.

as silly as it sounds, I think part of my new crafting kick with Sam is because I've gotten jealous of other moms. they're able to do it and enjoy it, but mostly because their child(ren) have a creative outlet that I just wasn't providing. instead of sitting there being envious any longer, now I too am providing it.

creativity shapes a child's mind, and I think children should have some options for expressing themselves. I often think about what Sam will be when he grows up, and I believe stuff like this can make a big difference. so maybe when he's angry, he'll make a violent-looking, abstract painting rather than yelling at someone or punching his fist in the wall. does that even make sense? well, in my mind it does. if for nothing else, we're making memories, right?

anyway, back to the book -
I think as I'm reading it, there will be more good stuff to blog about. I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Robyn said...

Wow, great book. Can't stand all of the talk about damaging fragile little psyches. We don't give kids, or God, much credit, do we?
While you're giving Sam a valuable creative outlet with the projects, you're also giving him tons of your time and love, which will no doubt benefit him even more.
Have a great weekend!