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.


Jessi said…
"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."

Wow. I desperately needed to hear that. Wow. Thank you.
Amber A said…
mama you keep hitting how I feel. I have those days that I sit in bed at night and think how the day could have gone better, what we forgot to do (did everyone get their teeth brushed before bed?), am I doing ok by my kids, what do other moms think of me because I do spank sometimes, today was a good day we read the Bible to start the day, schooling was organized, the toddlers both took a nap and got in bed before 10. lol we all try to be perfect but it is just a mask. When we remove the mask we see that we all struggle. If we could just be real, then us imperfect moms could help each other. I am strong in one area so I will help you, not bash you, and you are strong in another area and you could help me, not belittle me. Together we grow, leaning on each other, intertwined we are stronger. thank you for being brave enough to be imperfect! (btw I am sitting in bed wearing a tank top that had a small hole in it, wondering when I will get this 40lbs off and get out of the granny panties, hoping my feet are clean since I love to be barefoot all the time :D)
Shelley Sperry said…
& suddenly I don't feel like such a failure when I reflect on those MOMENTS of imperfection. Thank you!
Joanna said…
Amen! What a beautiful post. As a brand new mother to my 2 mo daughter the disparity between my previous image of motherhood and what friends tell you about it (even in person) and the reality of it has been striking.
I LOVE this post. A lot of the time, especially online (where people don't know what goes on in our real lives unless we tell them and allow them a glimmer into it) some women think it's necessary to bully others because they don't do things 'right' or they feel the need to judge because they want to pick apart a mother's decisions and make her more unsure of herself. (Am I right that we aren't all beacons of Amazonian strength and stability 100% of the time?) Mostly, this is because they themselves are unsure of themselves, their choices, their marriage, if they're raising their kids right. If they just realized how much they needed someone else, even if just for a little while, to show them they aren't alone, then maybe the 'spanking' -- bullying -- would stop.

And yes, now I'm inspired to make this comment into the subject of my next post. I didn't realize how inspiring your post was until now.
Joy@WDDCH said…
Didn't see that particular post but oh my goodness do I know what you mean! I promote natural birth and midwifery so people automatically assume I'm an OB and hospital hater. Um, not true!

I hate how twisted things can get.

And just putting it out there - I'm IMPERFECT, too! In fact I had a blog post in mind last night but now I don't recall what it was but it had to do with being imperfect and just being real.