Mommy world in Western culture consists of the ever present, constant, never ceasing, never winning, and ever losing comparisons between moms of all levels, all socio-economic status’s, and all races. Many of these comparisons are related to what a mother is willing to sacrifice -- time, resources, energy, or sanity -- and for what amount of time for their precious offspring.
AND… THE LONGER AND MORE INTENSE THE SACRIFICE, THE BETTER THE MOTHER.
Recently on a popular blogger’s page there was an intense battle involving the homeschooling moms versus the non-homeschooling moms. I felt slightly judged (by association) being a non-homeschooling mother by the numerous homeschooling mothers who mostly proclaimed that it is a mother’s job to sacrifice for her children at all times and through homeschooling they were making the ultimate sacrifice whereas the non-homeschooling mothers were more interested in their own selfish desires, like sitting around watching The View and running to the mall every other day. The non-homeschooling mothers retorted with all sorts of snarky comments about making time for themselves, making time for their marriages, being introverted, not wanting their children around 24/7,and how the social aspect of school was their way of being unselfish and making sure their children didn’t turn out to be social rejects.
Disclaimer – I didn’t actually participate in the online snarkfest, but I internally participated through a few, “this is what I would write” thoughts towards these mysterious mothers in faraway lands. I’ve learned -- drama is not worth it. Not even in anonymous internet world.
This isn’t the only scenario of mothers stabbing each other in the back over and over again in the realm of who is the most sacrificial mother in the whole wide world. It has become an especially prevalent practice with the world wide web where any mom can join any group of moms who will “have her back” in any situation at any time all in the name of desiring the ultimate selfless crown for their particular group.
And it’s not just the homeschooling moms because the same can be said for breastfeeding mothers. These moms do seem to know it all when it comes to all facets of mothering, and I knowingly fall into this “sacrificial” category. I am the mother who is willing and able to breast feed my children well past their first birthdays, and in the process I am obviously making the best and brightest individuals on the planet (please read that as sarcasm). I’ll call myself out on this “sacrifice”. On one hand, it is sacrificial because breast feeding mothers do need to be a little more conscious about what goes in and out of their bodies, but if they’re staying away from hard core drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol it’s really not that intense of a change, and their babies do need to be fed more often thus allowing for fewer stretches of sleep, but the pros (for me) really outweigh the cons. I don’t mix bottles, I don’t pack a diaper bag, I don’t spend money on formula, and the biggest bonus ever is that nursing past a certain point can become the most incredible diet plan on the planet.
The reality is that 95% of mothers are willing and able to sacrifice for their child where it works for them. Breastfeeding. Vaccinating. Not vaccinating. Running a child all around town to encourage a particular sport or hobby. Cooking everything from scratch. Not allowing electronics when the use of electronics sure would make life a whole lot easier. Growing food. Homeschooling. Working mothers. Mothers in school. Mothers who diligently work on a failing marriage in order to keep their children’s father in the picture and to keep the family intact.
Mothers are sacrificial to their core beings; however, we can’t each be completely sacrificial in all aspects of our children’s lives and that’s okay. Kids don’t need that. Mothers who run their children all over town while employed fulltime probably do not have time to grow their own food or make everything from scratch. Mothers who stay home and send their children to school probably have more time to grow food and make meals from scratch. We each sacrifice where it works for us and where our convictions lead us, and it always has a little bit to do with selfishness and a little bit to do with selflessness. We all want the best for our children, and our individual convictions of what that looks like for our personal situations are just a little bit different for each one of us.
Our end result as moms should not be to raise really good kids. Our end result should be to raise really good adults and part of accomplishing this important task is to learn how to successfully incorporate what works for us in our families in terms of selfless behaviors and what does not work and then be okay with the moms who do it just a little bit differently than we do. In this way all mothers will be able to demonstrate valuable life skills to our children about respecting individual differences, and in the process slowly lead them down the path toward successful adulthood (and we’ll probably all like one other a whole lot more).
(image credit www.mommyworld.com)