Beware the Sanctimonious Mother (real or in your head)
She never ceases to shower her children with unending, personalized attention without fatigue or Jim Weiss. They engaged all day long with things like a detailed painting project wherein the child ne’er slides their paintbrush OVER ALL THE FURNITURE IN SIGHT whilst the mother is rummaging through the pantry after the toddler discovered the grandmother’s green food dye and now everything on lower shelves has to be moved.
She never shrieks at them to please LEAVE HER ALONE at the swimming pool changing areas, only to emerge and discover the two older had strewn their clothing, wet and dry alike, all over the changing room. All the whilst she was not struggling to get her wet clam-like suit off over her not untanned, unwaxed legs. Whilst she had been getting into said swimming suit, her daughter had asked her “is it supposed to be so tight?” 😐
She never escapes to her sewing studio, and certainly would never perform 90’s dance moves (alone, upper body only) to Uptown Funk (at a volume of 10 out of 5) because her husband is home and she would never need to have a loud longer term break from her darlings.
She never prays for silence inside her own never ending mind list real. She never cries in the bathroom on the phone to her mother over literally nothing. She never ever would think of complaining to her girlfriends (because her friends are lady friends) about her fill-in-the-blank.
And most importantly, this mother would never pray at mass to please please please give her the grace to be a vessel of LOVE. An example of PEACE. A model of KINDNESS. Because she already is.
If you have a friend in your life that you think is like this, either she’s very capable and is on her game and we have to just accept it and not be threatened by it, or she’s lonely and thinks she can’t share that mothering small children is hard, whether she’s working, or at-home, or a combination thereof. If you’re comparing yourself to an ideal, please, just don’t.
Part of why I share here about the challenges of mothering your whole child is to break that loneliness. To tell you I’m with you. And we’re in this together. And I don’t have it all together. And I never ever will. If I had these three kids, or I had ten more. When I had one child, when I had two–it’s not about the number of children.
Small children are mirrors of our inadequacies. I’m not going to feel bad for being inadequate, but I’m going to keep working hard to stay afloat and love those around me, all of us trying to do and be better while still loving where we are and who we are right now. In our wet swimsuited, out of shape, miraculous bodies.