Good mothers of the world, be forewarned:
There will always be somebody better than you at this. So stop trying so hard. Release the burden of being the best. And just settle for being good. Because if you are wondering, are CONTEMPLATING your role as a mother, then you probably don't have to worry any more about it. You are doing just fine. In fact, you are doing better than fine. You're rocking this gig. Trust your instincts. Believe in yourself. You're a great Mama.
I get impatient with people who make comments about parents saying things like, "I think they are a good mother, good father, good parent" and then qualify it with what they do or say. Or by how much enthusiasm they show for the job. As if that explains everything.
Because if we are making comments about anyone with kids who is even trying (we're not going to even open the can of worms that discusses what they are doing and that crazy comparison game)... then in my books they are doing enough to be a good parent. Not too many parents that I know wake up in the morning contemplating being bad parents for the day. Not too many do their best to make life miserable for their kids. The overwhelming majority make the effort to feed, clothe and clean their kids.
That's because good parents make the effort. And that's more than enough to get you through the day.
I overheard some mothers recently referring to the fact that they were not the world's best mother because they hadn't done one thing or the other that they thought, I guess, the World's Best Mother might do. Whatever that might be. And I couldn't help but think that when we start making it hard for ourselves, we start finding the ginormous responsibility that is our parenting job HARD. And we make it that much harder to live up to. We need to stop holding ourselves to these too high standards. Cut mothers some slack, people! Being a parent is already tough enough than also adding to the mix the further commitment of being the BEST.
Don't be fooled. Being the best is not all it's cracked up to be. You can't take a break. You can't let your guard down. You can NEVER slack off. So here is my response to parents that feel they have to be the World's Best Parent:
Think of it. Think of all the things we say are good: music, food, entertainment, books. Lest we forget, Martha Stewart has devoted an entire section in her semi-successful blog to things she deems to be "good." If it's good enough for Martha, it's good enough for me (please dismiss the fact that she ended up in jail. I never said she was perfect. I just said she endorsed being "good" -- as in "good enough.")
I have said this before, but this little bit of advice that came to me from a very dear friend of mine has stuck with me over the years, and here it is: "If you have taken the time to even thoughtfully consider your parenting in any way, to reflect on it, to care about it, to make time for thinking about it (no matter how brief that thinking process might be) in your already jam-packed, crazy-busy day, chances are, you are a good mama (dad).
And if that's enough for my dear friend and the multitude of other parents out there who follow suit, then it's more than good enough for me.
And in the paraphrased words of other good-enough mamas that stand with on this one: Keep on keeping on! 'Cause it's a jungle out there...