Well, girlfriends, I have something I want to talk to you about. Our lives are busy, sticky, grimy, tumultuous, and sometimes it's all we can do to feed our children on any given day.
However, sticking my children in front of their fourth consecutive Calliou episode has given me time to think about something oh, so very important.
Oh, man! Another blog post about those darned mothers? Who do I think I am?
Well, I’ll tell ya.
I’m a mommy.
Attention: Mommies of all kinds. Single moms, married moms, working moms, two mommies in a home, step-moms, grandmas, moms who haven’t yet had the opportunity to have children, mother figures, ANYONE.
And please don’t tune out if you’re not a mom or if you never want to be a mom or if you’re a dad or if you tie balloon animals. This post, while geared toward mommas, is applicable to all forms of teacher and/or leadership positions. (Sorry, balloon-animal tie-r, I don’t have much to tell you. Keep making those cool flower hats for my kids.)
Along the highway in the area in which I live, there are several billboards featuring a mother/daughter pair baking up a catastrophe in the kitchen. (Side note: When I bake up a catastrophe, it usually involves a couple of swear words, cocoa in my hair, sugar on the floor, and me looking a lot less imperturbable than those two gals in the picture. FALSE ADVERTISING, people. I digress.)
Anyway, these billboards are part of an award-winning effort to promote the need for families in foster care. The billboards, as explained on the host website, www.adoptUSkids.org, and in conjunction with the U.S. Children’s Bureau, illustrate “that children in foster care don’t need perfection; they need the commitment and love a permanent adoptive family can provide.” What I want to call attention to is the caption, which states,
“You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.”Now, can I get a collective “WHAAAT?!” Because that is, you know, SHOCKING. Absolute news to me!
And, although the ad is specifically geared towards adoption and fostering programs, what a gentle reminder to moms, dads, teachers, mentors, peer-counselors, even carousel-workers working with children of any and all ages that PERFECTION IS NOT A REQUIREMENT WHEN LOVING AND TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN.
There is no box to be checked that says, “Yes, why I am perfect continually, thank you” or a hiring sign for parents that says, “If you are perfect, apply within. Others please stay away.”
Children are brought into this messy, scary world saturated with imperfect people. And that’s perfect because, in the spirit of solidarity and unity, we can bond together to strengthen each other and build up each other’s spirits.
I mean, isn’t that what moms are for? To be unified in a bond of motherhood?
Yeah, I know.
I know that sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes it feels like we are competing against each other. A competition to get our children into the best schools with the best education. A competion to participate on the best sports teams or dance classes. A competition to dress our children in the best clothes.
Sometimes it feels like we pit ourselves against each other as we defend our ways of raising our kids. We fight to show that our way is the best way instead of acknowledging that we are moms together, and although we raise our children differently, we can be supportive of our quests to be the best mommas we can be.
Sometimes we feel like other moms have it all.
Sometimes we feel like we’re better than some moms.
Sometimes we think that if we were successful in keeping our children alive that day, then we’ve truly succeeded.
SOMETIMES, we think we are in this alone, not understanding that there is a world of moms out there that SHOULD have our back.
Sometimes we just need someone to understand.One of my favorite books is called Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It’s a wonderful short novel about, as the title suggests, a land full of “hers.” Of women. Strong women. Loving women who support each other in a society of communal mothering and friendship.
They take care of each other, ease burdens, comfort, and mourn with one another. They build each other up and are truly devoted to one another.
They understand that not all roles are the same, that women are different, and that, regardless of those roles, everyone needs to be supported. And these beautiful women do support each other in helping to raise each other’s children and be a part of a true communal sisterhood.
Why shouldn’t we be this way?
Here’s the thing. We should. Instead of breaking each other down because we are different, we CAN help build up each other’s spirits. Be one in purpose. Be united in the cause to support each other even when we don’t raise our children the same way.
Here’s a call to action: a Mommy manifesto.It starts with us. With you and me. Standing together as moms who are, together, raising our children in this imperfect world full of imperfect people.
And there is a common ground between us. And I want you to know that I am here FOR YOU. And that I don’t care if you are red or blue or green. I don’t care if you’re one of two mommies in your home. I don’t care if you are coiffed and high-heeled. I’m the one in Tevas, and I will walk right next to you.
Our world will be a more beautiful and wonderful place (imagine a little Louie Armstrong here) if, at our hands, we teach children to love and respect their fellow people inhabiting this planet and help them figuratively join hands in building each other up.
We can help each other by putting on our work vests, grabbing hammers, and contributing to the construction of a more united society!
I love you, Mommies.I understand that it’s hard. I understand the days of tears, struggle, boredom, fear, anxiety, guilt, and rage.
I understand that one day out of ten may be a good one, that it’s sometimes easier to have a nanny around, that WonderPets saves a mom’s sanity as long as we don’t have to listen to them sing, and that sometimes the most important part of the day is that you showered.
Join with me in supporting each other. In giving a hand to the mom with a colicky newborn. In participating in a Walk for Autism for your neighbor’s son. In holding a mom who lost a child to suicide. In loving and supporting each other.
WE NEED YOU to be a part of our quest for support and solidarity.
Let the judgments go, both against others and against yourself. Tomorrow is a new day. We can try again. Being our best is a process, and remember, my dear, beautiful mommies, that you don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.
Kiera Durfee is a spunkalicious Army wife and sassy mother of two equally spicy girls. She gratefully represents Utah military spouses as Armed Forces Insurance’s Utah National Guard Spouse of the Year, clearly illustrating her never-questioned maturity. Actually, she’s more comfortable on the floor building Lego forts or perpetually playing the villain Captain Hook in dress-up. She enjoys dance parties in her living room, yummy Pad Thai, avoiding working out, baking treats (she has to maintain her lovely curvaceous figure somehow), being funny, and writing about human foibles that she herself exemplifies. Check out cleverlittlewords.wordpress.com for more Durfee-tastic adventures.
Photo credits go to Morgan Slade Photography at http://morgansladephotography.com