Mothering with High Expectations
Photo Credit: National Geographic
I’m back. It’s the end of the week and posting has been spotty, but I’m back!
This week was off the chain. Playgroup on Monday, interview with a preschool on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I dropped Ursa Major off at playgroup, went to the grocery store with Ursa Minor, dropped off the food and gave Minor the boob, went to go pick up Ursa Major, came back home and fed them both for 30 minutes, threw them in the car and went to a pediatrician’s appointment, brought them home (after 2 1/2 HOURS at the doctor’s office!), and still had enough energy to make dinner. (ROAR! I eat your day!) On Thursday, I cleaned. And today I’ve had a “normal” Friday of up, bake muffins, receive the peapod order, and otherwise deal with the craziness of motherhood.
Oh, and there is a freaking blizzard here in the North.
And I have a friggin’ cold.
And the boys, I think, might be getting it too.
So while I have contemplated pulling out of my hair more than 50 times this week, I figured out a way to keep it together. Laundry was done, dinner was prepared, diapers were changed, hugs were given, boo-boos kissed. But let’s talk about what didn’t happen: Blog posts. Reading. Sleeping. Working out. Things that make me feel good about myself, things that keep me sane in the face of moments of incomprehensible insanity.
And then I ran across this crazy article and I was like whoa. The thesis? Mommy “me-time” is an unreasonable expectation for mothers, and indeed, is not actually helpful to parents. It breeds resentment.
I’m really sorry, but I have to stop what I’m doing to write something about this.
As a teacher in an urban charter school, I heard a lot about the idea of a “no excuses” culture. It doesn’t matter if a child comes from a broken home, he didn’t eat breakfast, he doesn’t have a warm place to sleep, etc etc etc, he is expected to learn and achieve. There were, of course, a lot of issues with what that beautiful notion actual manifested itself into. I’m sure I will end up having to post about what charter schools really are and what I witnessed as a teacher. But the idea, at it’s core, is a good idea: If a teacher and a teaching community creates high expectations and allows no excuses within the learning environment, children should be able to achieve.
So too, I believe, should mothers.
I am a mother with high expectations. For my sons, for my husband, for my household, for myself. There are no excuses for what I do not achieve, there are simply opportunities to improve. This week I made choices where I met all of my obligations to my children: They were well fed, clean, enriched, exposed, introduced to a school, provided with healthcare, danced, sang, and played with other children. Everyone in my household is happy, and indeed, my house is clean. But I can’t call this a victorious week if I come out of it not feeling solid. Motherhood is about sacrifice, but it shouldn’t be about martyrdom.
I don’t appreciate the idea of mothers giving of themselves and not ever replenishing. It is such an awful message to other women, to men, to our daughters, to our society, when women decide that they are simply going to accept that their lives are worthy of no more than servitude to others. I love to provide my family with the comforts that come with someone solely dedicated to their needs. I live to provide my sons unconditional round the clock stability and love and warmth. But I demand, of myself, that I remain a relevant intellectual, competent conversationalist, avid reader, community contributor, and at least look presentable when out in public. Those are high expectations that I don’t always achieve, but I am not going to rationalize and come up with reasons to next expect these things. Motherhood should not have excuses.
And don’t mistake my high expectations for a need for perfection. I am by no means perfect. I have no delusions of grandeur. I have no desire to win mother of the year. My high expectations are a manifestation of the drive and ambition that got me through high school, undergrad, grad school and the beginning of my career. My ambition and drive didn’t die the day a fertilized egg implanted itself into my uterus.
So I will continue to strive to be the best me I can be, as well as the best wife and mother I can be. I will fail at times and I will excel at other times. There will be no excuses either way. The moment that I choose to give up on myself simply because there are others who I need to care for is the moment that I choose to also give up on them.
Now that I’m done ranting about that, I must now turn my attention to thanks.
I haven’t been around for a long time, but I have 16 followers and I say thank you a thousand million times for choosing to follow my blog.
One of my followers, Amber, from “Normal” is the New Boring, has nominated me for the Liebster Award. And for that, I say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! So I’m going to make a new page right after this post and answer all of her 11 questions about me and my blog. Amber, you rock. Followers, you rock. Thank you.
For those of you who are in the path of the blizzard, I pray that you keep your power and that you stay warm. For those of you not in the path of the storm, I hope that you have a safe and warm weekend too.
and pray for rain, because I’d like for there to not be another drought this year. Do you guys know how much beef costs right now? Friggin’ killing me!
Next week, Valentine’s Day posts, probably. And Lent posts, too.