It is quite possibly 14 years since I have stepped into this suburban city pool. The girls are splashing around and my man is cutting laps. This is where my boy did a Vicswim program at age 3 or 4 and well, he refused to get in the water after day one. Perhaps not a big deal, but when you are juggling a toddler and baby this kind of stubborn behaviour makes everything go pear shape pretty fast.
How to be a Good Mother with Sharon Horgan? Are you a good mother, Ms Horgan? Well who is a good mother? Over the years I have read, chatted, written and reflected on this notion of being a ‘good’ mother. I have had my own identity crisis as I transitioned from independent, smart working woman into stay at home mother. Trapped. Grounded. For life….or so it seemed at the time.
But Horgan’s cheeky and humorous investigation of what constitutes a good mother is amazing. Frankly, I did not know what ‘good’ mothers were out there. Horgan interviews such a variety of women who believe that they are ‘good’ women you would be forgiven for thinking that she has interviewed different species of animal. Motherhood is hardwork, emotionally and physically demanding. And something no person or text book can prepare you for. So the women that appear in this documentary have all found their own way to mother.
Lynnea is a natural earth mother type who is a zealous placenta enthusiast. She will create ‘prints’ of your afterbirth, make charms, placenta smoothies and placenta capsules ( think steamed, dehydrated, ground placenta). Ah hhmm, I kid you not! Then there is Daria who is an ‘elimination communication’ advocate – yep, that means no nappies day or night, but she has such perfect synchronicity with her baby that she knows when they need to go poo.
Horgan also introduces viewers to a stripper Mum, an IT junkie mum who allows technology to organise her mothering, a woman who did not want kids and another Charlene, who has 6 kids at 27 years old and home schools them all.
My notion of motherhood has been challenged. Mothers don’t all look like me. Or my own mother. Or my friends that are mums. The good mother comes in many different forms. Each one loves and cares for her kids in the best way she knows how. As I know you do too, if you are a mum. Now that is worth celebrating.
|The Scream, Edvard Munch|
‘Pinterest culture can generate feelings of inadequacy by creating a pressure to throw elaborate birthday parties, attempt intimidating DIYs and bake picture-perfect cupcakes. Comparing the less pristine reality of motherhood to the polished sheen of online images may cause moms to worry about falling short if their culinary or crafting skills don’t seem to measure up.’
The ease by which we log onto Facebook and Instagram and update little images of our life has to be questioned. A ‘good’ life, family bliss and kid harmony is what you see on most social media sites. We rarely allow our ‘community’ or network to see us when we are exhausted, when we have failed as a parent, spouse or friend. There are no failed cupcakes pics on Pinterest or the family trip to the snow that was a shambles. The screaming and yelling as we push kids out the door to school, the constant negotiations over time out, house rules and homework are not our usual status updates.
SMAD seems to be yet another reason to reflect on our own online habits, our own online version of our lives and cast all our anxieties on the one who cares.
A recent blogpost on motherhood from Deb has caused me to remember a powerful book I read some years ago, and one I should revisit. Anne Pleshette Murphy’s book, The 7 Stages of Motherhood: Making the Most of your life as a Mom came across my desk at an interesting time. It was that limbo time between being settled with three children and debating with my man, myself and my future life whether to have another child.
Being a parent is hard work, amazing and life changing.
How often do you stop and think about motherhood? Your role as mother to your children, and how you are travelling along that road? If you are like me then there are hundreds of daily distractions that come at any given moment. A phone call, text message, a need to see your Facebook feed, Ebay items ending soon, the latest tweet and another blog post….food, chores, you get the picture.
A good friend sent some encouragement my way via Carolyn Mahaney’s post Mother’s as Mission. Today it was spot on. And I know it will be spot on tomorrow. If we don’t ask ourselves the hard questions about how we spend our time and energy equipping ourselves for the task of mothering then we will be distracted. Raising our children is an enormous responsibility. In the words of G.K. Chesterton, mother’s are responsible to raise children who “require not so much to be taught anything as everything.”