I’ve been thinking about this week’s cover on Time, mostly because I have not been able to go to a news website or facebook without seeing someone’s take on the matter. For those of you who have not seen it, envision a picture of a pretty young mother nursing a three year old who is standing on a chair to reach her breast. The caption is, ‘Are You Mom Enough’. It is about attachment parenting, I haven’t read the article and don’t know much about attachment parenting. Further, I don’t much care whether other moms do or don’t breastfeed or for how long, as long as they feed their kids don’t judge my choices or try to make them for me.
I was struck by the question though, ‘Are You Mom Enough?’
I spend my days with a two year old child and an eleven month old puppy, shouldn’t I be doing more? I have not yet gone back to work; does that mean I’m not carrying my weight for the family, not living up to my earning potential and in fact costing us as I continue to pay off my law school loans? Am I limiting my child’s social future by only having her in nursery a few hours a week or could she be learning more there than with me?
Yesterday the three of us, Mum, toddler and puppy set off for our daily walk. Forty minutes later, after a costume change, time out for the LO for hitting and time out for the furry one (FO) for jumping up or some such, we set out in the drizzle, LO on my back and FO on the lead.
I waved to a friendly neighbour as we slowly made out way down the road, FO sitting walking sitting walking sitting walking and so forth. LO waving two (right now it’s always two) crackers. We reached the fields and I let FO off the lead. This is usually my favourite part of the walk; I see dog ears flapping in the wind, a tail wagging and then a wet nose at my hip looking for a treat. Not today. She was a black streak as she sped around a corner and disappeared. I, on the other hand, was anything but a streak as I lumbered behind, LO on my back, wellies on my feet, and LO in hysterics bouncing around and watching FO’s escape.
As I caught up with my usually amiable puppy I found her jumping on a neighbourly golden retriever she often plays with. I called out, ‘gentle gentle!!’ The golden retriever, who is apparently on a diet due to weight gain at the kennel, came running (I walk around smelling like a liver big treat), and FO went for his ears. No!!! At least the golden retriever came toward me so I could grab FO, but no, she knew I’m slow with LO on my back and dove to the right. Thankfully friendly neighbour grabbed FO, making some comment about puppy exuberance. I apologised profusely and we sheepishly headed home.
As my, now somewhat damp and bedraggled family started up the street we ran into the waving neighbour who told me, ‘you always look like such a superwomen as you train your dog and care for your baby’. I didn’t know whether to laugh at him or kiss him! Neither seemed appropriate so I told him it was nice to hear, particularly on such a not superwomen kind of a day.
It was so funny to me to hear someone refer to me as a super mom when I do not go out to work or create Martha Stewart-esq cookie bouquets or even spend any more time than absolutely necessary cleaning.
So am I mom enough? Well it seems so as no one is going hungry, naked or without love (and the freaking law school loans haven’t stopped us from putting food on the table).
More to the point, why does this question come up over and over in one form or another? I suspect that it is because motherhood is such a loaded issue. No one wants to mess it up and there are so many ways to go about mothering. Further, families can feel defensive, and in some cases competitive and judgemental, about their lifestyle whether it is the question of working, breast feeding, co-sleeping, toilet training or the myriad of other choices that we make about how we want to raise our children.
For all the discussion, obviously being mom enough or supermom or anything in-between is a question of perspective. What is impressive to the passer-by may or may not be of true value, or even real.
We don’t need to do it all to be ‘mom enough’. We might continue to pursue or career, or bake beautiful cakes or become dog trainers, but then again, we might not and most of us are still mom enough and even have our supermom days.
Guest Blogger – ‘US Sarah’
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