Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mothering Guilt

Because I don't have a picture of myself breastfeeding...
Last week, Time Magazine gave the women of the world the best Mother’s Day present ever: an abundance of guilt. 

Thanks, Time, but I’m good. 

First, I must admit that for the past five years I’ve anticipated mother’s day much like the underdog anticipates a dodge ball game.   With much wincing and squinting.  Something about all the hooray regarding the great mothers of the world always left me feeling wholly inadequate. 

So when Time Magazine, picturing a perky young mom on its cover breastfeeding her three-year old son, asked, “Are You Mom Enough?” I wanted to overnight express a newborn into the sole care of their male editor. 

Who asks the mothers of the world THAT question on THEIR day?  Seriously?

Just a couple weeks ago, I decided I was an okay mom because I wasn’t barbequing any of my children in tanning beds.  That lasted approximately 12 hours before a handful of our children decided the futon in our basement made for a better teeter totter.  And before those same children boycotted the flushing of the downstairs’ toilet.  And finally, before my youngest offspring thought microwaving a nickel might be fun.

Four years ago, Dr. Phil said sleeping with your children was wrong.  At the time, I was a single mother with a three-year old boy edging me out of bed.  Conclusion?  I was a horrible mother with no thought for my child’s future wellbeing.  Now, after taking great pains to kick aforementioned child out of my bed (i.e. I got married), I am, once again, a horrible mother with no thought for my child’s future wellbeing. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I have no problem with attachment parenting as it’s described within the pages of Time Magazine.  I also have no issue with Dr. Sears promoting extended breastfeeding, the family bed and babywearing; in fact, I wish I could stuff all my children into a giant fannypack every time I take them grocery shopping. 

I just don’t want to be made to feel guilty because I have chosen to parent differently.

So my final question is, can I regift the guilt you gave me last week for Mother’s Day, Time?

If so, I’ll definitely be giving it to my children.  Because as far as parenting techniques go, I’m pretty good with guilt.

In conclusion, I’ve decided the only thing constant in life is that my children will always want to microwave nickels, and I will always want to write about it. 

And to all you mothers in the greater Idaho Falls area, that is my gift to you.  Because really, don’t you all feel better about yourselves after reading my column? 

You’re welcome!

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