Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I Know A Good Mom Who Spanks
I admit, I titled this blog that just to make you think.
Do you remember back when there were no perfect parents? Way back, you know, before Facebook and all the ensuing arguments about attachment parenting, circumcision, spanking, breastfeeding and the like with a bunch of people who we have never met or actually seen parent their children? (I guess there were perfect parents, they were just called in-laws back then. And we knew they were not perfect because we were married to their kids.)
I remember those days with fondness. Sometimes, on special occasions I still actually get the opportunity to see real women parent their real kids. Amazingly enough none of them seem to perfectly fit any parenting mold or style. They are just real mothers mothering their real and unique kids. In public- and well but imperfectly.
And in fact, I will admit that some of them circumcise, some of them bottle feed, some of them even (gasp!) give a little spank on occasion. And yet, they are all good mothers. (I am not talking about constant, threatening, bully moms who spank as their only way of parenting, but instead the occasional swat.) They also have good kids. Some of them have even raised good kids to adulthood- and they are fantastic adults!
Maybe you are thinking, "Well, just because their kids turned out well doesn't mean that they did anything right." There may be some truth to that, but I don't think it just applies to mothers who give the occasional swat, it applies to all of us, even those of us who hate circumcision and co-sleep. Anybody who has kids is blessed if they turn out well, whether they are attachment parenting or not. Children, like adults have free will, and how they turn out, no matter how we parent, is partly up to them.
Let's look at the other side of this. Even those who think they are doing everything right in the parenting department are still screwing up their kids! Yeah. I really think that. Because I genuinely believe we all make mistakes with our kids. The vast majority of which are ACCIDENTAL. We all screw our kids up. (Just an aside, I am talking about regular, everyday hardworking moms who try. Hot sauce mom and other freak shows who end up on talk shows don't apply.)
Maybe I only believe this because I am so very sure that I am making so many mistakes. I hope and pray on a regular basis that I will not screw up my children beyond belief and that they will be able to become awesome adults despite me. I hope that they use some of their free will to be great even though their mother was imperfect. I don't happen to be a fan of spanking, but I can still see that it doesn't necessarily a bad mother make nor does it make me a good mother just because I don't spank.
Maybe we spend too little time with each other these days as mothers in person. We forget that most other moms are trying too even if they do things we disagree with. We are also forgetting that we are doing things wrong too. What we have in common with those other mamas is that we too are blind to our imperfections as parents.
But back to spanking. Does the occasional swat actually make a mom a bad mom? Does it truly ruin her kids? Is it a mistake? I don't know the answers to all of those questions, except for the first one. I don't think that alone makes a woman a bad mother. I say that because in real life I know real women who do that and they have fantastic kids. And they are not just kids that are obedient out of fear. They are kids who love their mother and trust her and they are not afraid of her. AND she loves them and she doesn't abuse them. You can see it in their eyes how wonderful their relationship is.
Good moms sometimes spank. Bad moms sometimes co-sleep. Some good moms are bad moms on occasion. And the world keeps spinning round and round. The ironic part for me- The best moms probably spend less time arguing on Facebook, and more time actually being a mom.