Throughout the last few months I’ve actively participated in a class on American Motherhood. I have absorbed information on everything from the economics of parenting to the effects of slavery on African women. I learned that my mother’s generation is the product of history’s patriarchal control exerted on women. Really, it’s not her fault she felt compelled to scrub our house incessantly or insist on keeping the living room as a sacred space designated for use only on holidays. Somewhere in the middle of the class, I began to contemplate all my years of self-imposed mommy guilt and all my perceived shortcomings. I simply could never measure up to the images of all the perfect mothers in the media, but God knows I tried. I began to think of the mother I am now as compared to the young woman who raised my sons, and decided to forgive her. I’ve realized that I was not nearly as bad at mothering as I once believed; in fact, I might have been pretty darn good at the whole thing.
If the object of motherhood is to raise productive healthy adult people, then I am a success by anyone’s measure. Bearing this in mind, I have compiled the following list of hints for all the young moms out there struggling with the world’s hardest job.
From an experienced mother of sons to the beginners, here ya go:
Good Moms sometimes sit up until 3 am chain-smoking and drinking red wine while they write poetry. Sometimes they will even read it to their kids.
****In no way is this meant to encourage smoking***
Good mothers do not get up early and make their kids a wonderful breakfast; they fumble toward the coffee pot while sticking two Pop Tarts in the toaster five minutes before everyone needs to get in the car to leave.
Good Mothers do not care if their kids wear matching clothes or whether they have on socks. A good mom will let her son skip haircuts until he is six years old and walk around with one glove on because he thinks Michael Jackson is cool.
A good mother never knows that her fifth grader will be recreating the solar system on Thursday and she will never have all the supplies or any sort of plan. All school projects should be completed the night before they are due. The best mothers often have to rush out to Wal-Mart at midnight because they do not own a glue stick.
It is perfectly acceptable to fall asleep in your son’s bed in the midst of reading Harry Potter. Of course, you will wake up with your son shaking you and telling you to get in your own bed. Good moms are OK with their kids doing the tucking in.
Good mothers encourage their children to break the rules, driving through the car wash with the windows down is a great idea as is sneaking food into the movie theater.
A good mother never tells her thirteen year old son that Playboy magazine is bad or that liking boobs is wrong. She might even give him some plastic bags so the magazines he has buried in the woods don’t get wet when it rains. She would never under any circumstances tell his father or grandparents.
Getting a puppy is perfect if you are a good mom, a kitten, gerbil or fish; or any type of non-poisionous pet is a good idea. A good mom does not get mad if there is a peanut butter sandwich under the bed because the dog wanted it there and her son thought it was a good idea.
It is completely acceptable to take your kids to the tattoo shop and to let them hold your hand when you get your nose pierced.
Everyone need to know how to get out a car out of ditch, so driving down the side of a mountain is sometimes a good idea. It is important to wear seat belts and go slow.
Good mothers let laundry pile-up so their kids learn to work the washer and dryer.
If your son becomes a fashion designer, a good mother will wear his work, even if it makes her look fat.
If your son decides to repair your car, be patient, he may get it right. Think of all the money you’ll save.
Good mothers sometimes use foul language when driving. They also play the radio loud and sing and dance at stop lights.
Good mothers tell the truth. They do not make up stories about the important things.
Really great moms may find it necessary to change boyfriends or husbands. A great mother would never tolerate being treated badly nor would she get beat up or called names. This means your kids may change addresses often; this encourages them to accept change as the only constant.
If you are a mom who makes minimum wage, you are not a loser. If you are a mom who makes 100,000 a year, you are not by default a winner. Motherhood does not have a pay scale or a required education level.
Good mothers believe in God. It does not matter what name they call God, it only matters that they call him or her. Good mothers need a higher power; it helps a lot if that higher power loves them. The best mothers tell their kids how helpless they are without God. Helplessness is not necessarily a bad thing. Remember that no kid should ever fear what you love….so that fear of God thing is just a bad idea.
Giving your son a pack of condoms is not a bad thing. Telling your son about crack and prostitution is your job. Again, not telling their father or grandparents is perfectly acceptable.
The last suggestion offered in this post is about marriage….yes, one day they will get married. Good mothers step aside when their son gets married. Plain and simple, they step aside.
I hope you find some of these suggestions helpful and perhaps even funny. They all worked for me.
I wrote this list on a Tuesday morning right after getting a text that read, “Hey Mom, I just told someone the story of my thirteenth Birthday and the ball game and wanted to say thanks, it was awesome and I love you.”
Sent from my 23-year-old son, Michael. (the High School Teacher)