Monday, January 4, 2016

                             So What Makes a "Super Mom" Anyway?

Quote from my daughter, Katey’s latest discovery about parenting from a recent article she read:

“Well, first of all, we didn’t have 24/7 access to cartoons, video games, and YouTube, so she did what all moms did: told us to play. The end. It never crossed my mom’s mind to “entertain us” or “fund expensive summer endeavors” or “create stimulating activities for our brain development.” She said get the hell outside, and we did. We made up games and rode our bikes and choreographed dance routines and drank out of the hose when we got thirsty. I swear, my mom did not know where we actually were half the time. Turned out in the neighborhood all day, someone’s mom would eventually make us bologna sandwiches on white bread and then lock us out, too. We were like a roving pack of wolves, and all the moms took turn feeding and watering us. No one hovered over us like Nervous Nellies.
And never one time, not once did I feel unloved or neglected. 
My parents majored on the majors and minored on the minors. 

Confession: as we head toward summer, I get this itchy, panicked feeling, because we are staring down twelve unstructured weeks, and all I can picture are my five kids sleeping too late, losing brain cells on their various screens which I will feel conflicted and guilty about, and driving me crazy. How will I balance work? How will I keep them entertained? How will I occupy fourteen hours a day? How will I maintain their reading levels? I already feel like a Bad Summer Mom.”

Laughter effects' response from a 70s Mom:

     When I was raising my young children in the 70s, I remember spending many hours playing with them, especially when they were toddlers. I do recall lying on the den floor with the oldest where I read her the French Dictionary for children until we both fell asleep.
     I remember shlepping them back and forth to Nursery School when I was working, and I recall smiling as I listened to them play with their friends in our tri-level basement. 
     I remember them outside playing with friends, but I never recall worrying about their brain cells or entertaining them. I was much more concerned about whether I had any brain cells left. 
     I recall teaching them and their little friends French in our basement, and inviting their parents over to see the French play they learned and performed.
     I remember dropping them off at the country club pool where they had the luxury of buying anything they wanted at the pool snackbar while they swam and played with their swim friends for hours while their father and I played golf. They will tell you that they were abandoned there, but that’s not true. They were safe, and they had a wonderful time, even staying overnight and watching the stars poolside.
     For their birthdays, I made up games about them that their little friends had to play to win prizes, and I always bought them their favorite cake and showered them with  gifts. There were no bouncy houses, ponies or clowns hired. I was it. They didn’t suffer.
     I do recall, however, thinking that I was never a good enough Mom. Those were the days of “Super Moms” who were supposed to juggle work, parenting and being the perfect wife. Then there was a big controversy about whether women should work at all, and the question of the day in my social circle was “What do you do?” 
     People ask me today if I liked the music of the 70s or if I remember the lyrics of certain songs. I remember nothing about the music of those days; I was too busy trying to live up to the “Super Mom” image by writing a Master’s thesis, tending to my children’s needs and trying to be “Super Wife.”
     This begs the question, “What is a good Mom?” I never had one, so I was winging it from day one.
     The rest of my story is not so rosy, and I have prayed for forgiveness for the pain caused by an acrimonious divorce and child custody battle. Despite all of that, I am a very proud mom of two beautiful daughters who are healthy, successful wonderful moms. Kids are all much more resilient than we give them credit for. The constant is love; the bonus is strength and humility. How do you parent compared to your own?