Confession time. Along with many other like-minded mothers out there, I concur: Greatness should not be the standard when it comes to mothering. On the contrary, I think it is okay -- dare I say desirable -- to instead be a "good enough" mother. Good enough mothers should at the very least get an "E" for effort. Because we do attempt to put forth our personal best, never mind how erratic that might look on any given day.
(So just to clarify. Would that really make it an "E" for erratic? And while we're on the topic, exactly what are some characteristics of "good enough" (albeit erratic) mothering?
Well, I can only speak for myself.
For starters, I use nearly-rotten bananas in smoothies and quickly hide the skins in the compost container. Just so the kids don't see what grossness they are actually drinking. And when playing hide and seek, I will use the time I count slowly to twenty, as well as the time I painstakingly pretend to look for the kidlets, to do various household chores and other odds and ends.
Or I will merely use that precious time to breathe steady and remember that bedtime is almost here. Yes, I do skip pages when reading at bedtime. That tactic is on its last legs as Littlest One is herself now reading. It was such a lovely trick. And sometimes I forget to pick my children up from their after-school activities. Oh! And I have left a child behind. But only occasionally. Unfortunately, this also indicates that I am absent-minded.
True: I have also been known to stealthily finish piano homework with my children while the lesson is in progress. Just so we can get the sticker and call it a wrap. And, okay, our kids sometimes eat cereal as their main meal. Pretty well every one of my children wears socks with holes in them.
Then again, so do I.
So, I might as well admit this too: I take my kids to the pool primarily so I can sit in the hot tub. And in conclusion, I am perpetually late for everything. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
Does this make me a slacker? Am I good enough? The real question begs to be asked: could a good enough mother like myself ever hope to be a truly good mother? Dare I say it, even a great mother? And what exactly is the difference between the two?
Good moms cut up banana into neat little slices and make sure there is an adequate covering of yogurt to suffice.
Good enough moms make it one step easier. They tell their kiddos to eat one bite of banana, alternating with one spoonful from their serving-sized yogurt cup.
Good moms do not allow their children access to pens for writing on inside door frames.
Good enough moms first ask their children what exactly they have written that encompasses two feet of wooden space (in-between the kitchen and the den) before photographing it and proudly posting it on Facebook.
Good moms pack everything in Tupperware containers for litter-less lunch week.
Good enough moms tell their children that they will wash and re-use the numerous plastic baggies crammed into their dirty little lunch cans.
Good moms remember theme nights for school and extra-curricular activities.
Good enough moms pretend that their children's sweatpants are night wear. And of course, they are. Sometimes.
Good moms allow enough time for children to eat their meals at the table.
Good enough moms stop their children mid-meal, transport their supper to a plastic dish, and make it a portable snack for the rest of the evening.
Good moms make time in the morning for grooming, styling (and always remember their after-school hair appointments).
Good enough moms carry a brush with them at all times so as to do their children's hair at least twice a week. As time allows.
Good moms always remember to take shampoo with them to the pool.
Good enough moms use the soap dispenser. Which certainly does the trick.
Good moms always remember homework, piano practice, and reading at bedtime.
Good enough moms own shares in Apple instead (and we all know that iPods count as technological literacy).
Great moms? I admire them from afar. And while I believe that good moms are who we are most of the time, 'good enough' moms are just as awesome for all the rest of the times. As for the truly mediocre moms, they are few and far between. The collective majority can breathe a sigh of relief over that one. And stop with the self-deprecating humor (note to self).
The truth of the matter is this: being good enough is good enough.
At least for today, it is for this Mama.
"That's when you know your family loves you, when they feel free to scream at you."
"If you can't count on family, who the hell can you count on?"
"I was already 26 -- an old maid! So I settled for a wonderful man, and I have never regretted it."
"I think what you really need to do today is wallow ... Get back in your pajamas, go to bed, eat nothing but gallons of ice cream and tons of pizza. Don't take a shower or shave your legs or put on any kind of makeup at all. And just sit in the dark and watch a really sad movie and have a good long cry and just wallow. You need to wallow."
"The way I see it, if you can raise three kids who can knock out and hogtie a perfect stranger, you must be doing something right."
"No one wants to kiss a girl in black."
"Sometimes I feel like my job is to make sure you guys don't fall on your faces."
"Remember, when you're pregnant, one bottle of wine a day. That's it."
"One day you may or may not become Daniel's wife, but I will always be his mother."
"My mother always used to say: 'The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana.'"
"Don't be a victim, you know? Just do something. You don't need an invitation to your own life."
"Ya know, I wanted us to live in a place with real family values, but values don't come from where you live or who your friends are. They come from inside, from your own beliefs."
"Honey, I know how it happens. You get comfortable and you give up a little bit, and then it just gets out of control. There are things you can do about this, there are pills you can take."
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