Okay so I was feeling pretty sorry for myself the other day. It was one of those “down in the dumps” days.
Someone asked me what I was doing now that I wasn’t “working” and I had a little hissy fit. Inside. I try not to have hissy fits on the outside.
Inside I was screaming, “Leave me alone! I’m getting the laundry done and food is on the table!” She asked about a book and when is it coming and what have I been writing, etc….she started to sound like the parents on the Peanuts. “Waaa…waaaa….waaa…”
So I did a little “waa-ing” of my own in my head (Why isn’t the book published? Why isn’t the company making millions? Why isn’t the bathroom redone? What have I been doing with my time????) and then proceeded to be irritated the rest of the day.
Clearly, this brought up some issues for me.
Women have it tough today. I know men have it tough too but I can only write about one at a time and today it’s about the ladies. Here is what’s on the list for the moms of today:
- Look good (Yes, I realize I put this first and it’s pathetic but really, if you do everything else on the list and you look like crap, you have failed in today’s world)
- Be skinny (see above)
- Be a kind and loving mother (who is also a teacher, doctor, therapist, preacher, cook, trainer, driver)
- Be intelligent and educated (they are not the same and both are expected)
- Remember birthdays
- Make money in a career that you love and are passionate about
- Dress well
- Have a beautifully decorated home
- Have great sex with your husband
- Be a compassionate and available friend
- Go out socially for drinks with friends and other couples on a regular basis and text, email and call said friends on a regular basis
- Read and be able to discuss everything
- Go to church and nurture the spiritual life of your family
- Do something important (as in write a book, feed the hungry, go on a mission, go on Oprah, sell out Madison Square Garden, score Justin Beiber concert tickets…) and be able to smile politely when the neighbor brags that she has done all of that and ran 5 miles this morning
- Plan ginormous birthday parties for your kids
- Keep up with the upkeep – nails, waxing, highlighting, working out, possibly nipping and tucking and botoxing, yoga-ing, breathing, meditating, shopping…the list goes on
- Sign up for 3000 camps which means being online and ready for the competitive sign up and find a way to pay for all of it
- Plan a carpool that involves spreadsheets and year in advance planning
- Plan vacations that will thrill and excite everyone in the family and will impress the neighbors and find a way to pay for it
- Eat right and feed your family healthy meals every minute of every day while smiling and asking them about their day
- Doctors, eye doctors, dentists, orthodontists, dermatologists, OT, PT, speech, tutors, haircuts – make and keep these appointments for multiple children and yourself and your husband
- Play dates – don’t get me started with this one – what ever happened to “Go out and play and don’t come home until dinner” (I think it went away with “Honey, be a doll and fix daddy a martini for the road.”)
- Keep up on your kids texts, emails, facebook, twitter, instagram and whatever new way they are communicating with the world
I realize we have choices and we do not have to buy into the culture that tells us to do all of this. However, even if we have the strength and clarity to be counter-cultural in this arena, we are not immune from questioning ourselves and our choices. Many women wonder…Am I doing enough? Am I enough?
When I was young, I wanted to be a mom. I really did. I didn’t think about any of those things on the list. Only about the love I would give and the love I would get. Being a mom is sacred business. I don’t want my kids watching me turning it into a burden and a competition. I don’t want them to see a mom that isn’t satisfied. Because the truth is, my dreams did come true.
I didn’t dream about any of those things on the list. I dreamed about love. And I got it.
My daughters asked me the other day about when I was young. They asked me what I had hoped to be “when I grew up”. It was an enlightening moment. My answer was really uncool and not want they wanted to hear. I wrote a poem about it. I want to share it with you. It’s kind of sad but absolutely true and I believe a sign of our times. It makes me wonder what will be on the “list” for our daughters if and when they have children of their own.
DreamsMy daughters asked me “What did you want to be?” “A mom” I said. “But what else?” they asked. “Nothing” I answered. “C’mon, nothing else? What did you want to do?” they pressed. “I wanted you that’s all. All my dreams came true,” I said with tears in my eyes, stunned by this new realization. They just walked away. Disappointed. ©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved