Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

May 27, 2005

beyond good/bad mom

I'm writing this post with the keyboard actually placed on Teresa's lap while she's nursing and mostly sleeping, nesteld in blankets to kind of absorb the shock of the typing. Have you ever tried to type quietly? It's pretty weird, and pretty much impossible. But Teresa's a tolerant sort of person, and the loud hum of that fan in the computer keeps her asleep.

I've been thinking lately about the words good mom and bad mom. Since language both describes and shapes society, it seems important to me to improve our language along with our conceptions of social roles. I want to see growth in the area of how mothers talk about themselves and other moms. Just think of how it feels if you try calling yourself a bad mom (if you're not a mom, just pretend. it'll be fun) Do you feel like you can or want to behave kindly and responsibly toward your children? Or do you feel defeated and misunderstood? Now try calling yourself a good mom. Do you feel releived, like you've made it into some club of good moms? Or do you feel a little uneasy at the lack of meaning and disconnect from the complexities of actual parenting? Come on! We can do better than this! It doesn't really help to judge ourselves on such a meaningless scale. Judging doesn't necessarily help make change and growth happen anyways. Have you ever heard anyone say, "I felt like such a bad employee today'? I didn't think so. So let's open up the discussion to more precise descriptors that might actually be useful. How about hustle and flow, how about transformative days, how about creativity boosting to get over the dullness of routines, how about creating circles of community, learning to be better examples of virtues that we want our children to posses? How about talking about off days or weeks, disonnecting and reconnecting with kids, dealing with the ups and downs of hormones and moods and whatever challenges you're facing right now as a person?

Parenting is a huge responsibility but we don't need to feel self-denigrating or so absurdly judgemental about it. We could just try to be humble about the awesome task of forming another person's view of the world, and with that mindfulness, be confident in God's assistance. Today I'm a contemplative mom, tomorrow I may be a weary mom, or maybe a peaceful or joyful or grouchy mom. There's just so much more that can be said than bad or good.

Posted by Bahiyyih at May 27, 2005 08:50 PM

Yes, Bahiyyih! Thank you for opening up this discussion. I think it's healing for me just to hear other moms talking about this good/bad mom thing going on and searching for ways and language to raise above it. I like the array of descriptors you've brought to the table!

Posted by: Suzanne at May 28, 2005 08:18 PM