Thursday, September 1, 2011
Mothers Shouldn't Spank Each Other
I wrote a post once about spanking. It wasn't really about spanking though, it was really about mothers and how much we need each other. Maybe you read it.
As expected there were a few who got caught up in their pet peeve parenting "thing." The one they do so well because they are so educated. I expected that. In fact, I thought I would get only negative feedback on that blog post.
What surprised me though was that I didn't. What surprised me was that the feedback was enormously positive. Now some might say, "Well Mama- that is because you told people it is OK that they spank! Now abusive mothers feel good about their parenting choices!" I will admit that there may very well have been a few bully moms out there who really liked the post,who also missed the actual POINT of it, and just felt great about smacking their kids around.
Fortunately for me, I have been blogging long enough to know that no matter what I write, a few things are bound to happen. 1) Somebody will be offended. (This always happens, even with what I think is the most funny, non-offensive post ever.) 2) Somebody will see in it what they want to see. Some people will take what I say as license to birth unassisted (not that I am opposed to that), spank their kids, hate their doctor, stop vaccinating, and so on and on and on. I try to be responsible in my writing but if I was that careful, I couldn't write anything.
Here is why I think that post struck a nerve with MOST moms.
I admit to being imperfect. I admit that being imperfect is normal. I admit that we are ALL imperfect.
If you didn't get it the first time, that is what that post was REALLY about. And that is why people read it. (Well, plus Birth Without Fear told people to read it and she is like Oprah and that book club except in a natural birth world.)
Moms desperately need to hear this. They yearn to know that they are not the only ones who sometimes, at the end of the day, think, "Oh my gosh, that did not go how I planned. I thought I would be better at this."
Motherhood has long been an isolated journey in this country. From the frontier days when people lived miles apart from each other, to today, when we housewives often get much of our communication, sisterhood, and conversation through the metallic medium of the Internet. Mothering, especially stay at home mothering, can be incredibly isolating.
Have you noticed this too?
I love being a mom and I am so incredibly grateful to stay home with my kids. But I will admit that I also need time with other women, other mothers, other adult people. Enter the Internet, Facebook, chat rooms and all these flat screened wonders. Miracle of miracles! I can have contact with friends every day!
The down side though, as we have seen and as so many things attest, is that when we are behind a screen talking about our kids, ourselves, our lives, and our parenting, it is very easy to put the best face forward. Not only can our profile be graced with a lovely high school era size six picture (I am actually sitting on a birth ball in bare feet, 30 pounds over weight, and wearing a bandanna on my head which is in desperate need of a professional cut and dye job) we can be the mom we all know we should be.
Instead of dealing with real mothers who we can look at and really know their struggles, their pain, their mistakes, and their work in progress children, we can only see what people want us to see about them.
What ends up happening is that it really looks like everybody else does everything just about perfect. They all love their kids. They never yell. They gently parent. They have great marriages. They breastfeed for years on end. They install car seats properly. They take awesome pictures for their blog. They abhor the epidural and to boot- their kids behave like little angels. ALL THE TIME.
I will tell you a secret. I was chatting with a friend online the other day and just for kicks we decided to call each other FOR REAL. You know- where you can hear their voice. Then we remembered why we didn't do that. There was screaming in the back round. Between the two of us we have nine kids. It was hard to hear anything.
Not so when hiding behind the computer. Nobody can see the mess or hear the noise or know what your life is really like.
Mamas didn't like that spanking post because they all like to spank or because we are all abusive or because we like to be justified in our imperfections. Women liked that post because it is refreshing to hear that they are not the only one struggling with imperfection.
Guess what- I will be your beacon of imperfection. I screw up all the time. I am seriously trying and try harder every day. I look for ways to be better at this most important of jobs and I pray and I work at doing it right. But I still mess up. You are not the only one.
Women need each other. Mothers need each other. And they don't just need each other for information about vaccine injury. They need each other to be a shoulder to cry on when they have those days that end in tears and sadness. They need each other when they have a great day when they do things right and it all goes well. We need each other and we need to be there for each other, accepting, loving, and kind.
The way we talk about parenting our kids- that is the way we should also treat each other. How we treat each other will have a much bigger impact on what our children grow up to be than winning an argument about spanking ever will. Not only will we be better examples to our children, but we will find we are happier as mothers and as women when we can have positive and supportive relationships with one another.
Wishing you joy in your journey towards perfection as a mother.