“Really? Is she an idiot?” Yup. That was my first response to hearing about this news story. Her justification? The child is in pageants….and wanted it… to win..(or not….)
I immediately tweeted my desire to slap this mother. I (probably) wouldn’t. But, I wanted to. And apparently, I’m not the only one.
All I could think is: “What is wrong with her?” Yes, I remembered my “mothering without judging others” passion. I remembered my “every mom and child is unique and needs to mother/be mothered in a unique way” thing. But, aren’t some things just wrong? Like this . And this? I mean… I get that people market whatever will sell… but who is buying this stuff? And what is wrong with the people who are?
This isn’t a rhetorical question… I really want to know… What is the problem, here? We can’t solve problems until we identify them so let’s look at the possibilities.
My on the fly list (read: totally in-complete, non-scientific and un-researched.) of answers.
- Moms living vicariously through their children?
- Moms so insecure for their child to be accepted that they will go to any lengths to make sure they are?
- A culture that involves women’s magazines that are 90% advertising and “self improvement?” That makes women feel the need to improve everything including our kids?
- A culture that markets false beauty that doesn’t even exist in nature? (Let’s ignore my burgundy hair, here… I’m a hypocrite.. I know:P)
- Kids that can’t be told “no.” (Or, parents that can’t say it.)
- A secret zombie attack that has eaten our brains and caused us to make lame- parenting decisions?
- Or moms- mothering alone, or, in groups where they all agree with each other and no one confronts? (a circle of yes, moms- instead of true friends who tell you when you’re getting crazy?)
I think the Zombie thing, while it may be more interesting, is way less likely than #7.
Here’s the thing: As much as I am infuriated by all of these things… I am one (ok. maybe 2) dumb decisions away from being “one of those moms.” I am pretty good at justifying my own actions. I have ninja-like denial skills and find it easy to convince myself I’m doing this: all for my kids.
I know this is true because my kid played non-competitive soccer and I started turning crazy. Yeah. soccer mom crazy. You know… wanting to win more than my kid, did. That kind. I also thought I was being perfectly reasonable when my 7 (ish… I can’t actually remember- I am old, it happens.) year old was only allowed to ride his bike back and forth in front of our house. Yes, from our driveway to the next one. He had a one drive way rule. I’m controlling like that. For the record: I also had to be restrained in the parking lot when my oldest went to his first campout. I have issues. (It did get easier- I almost never follow them to college…)
Yup, I thought all those things were just fine…until a friend said: “Tracey, you’re being crazy.” (And restrained me, when necessary.)
The truth is: I can’t do this on my own. I need other moms to help me. I need people with varying perspectives, other ideas and other priorities to help me evaluate stick to- and change mine. (when necessary.) I need people to tell me:”Stop. Step away from the botox, honey- you’re getting a little.. freakish.” I need your help to see the burgundy colored hair- hypocrisy on the back of my head. (I know-It may not occur in nature.. but I still like it. )
I can’t mother alone.
And..I’m guessing.. that mom with the botox baby? She can’t either. Maybe, instead of pitching twitter bombs at her, I should pray that she find some courageous girlfriends like mine. (Since I’m pretty sure reaching out to her won’t go over so well after my whole “I want to slap her” thing on Twitter. See, how I blew that? I’m a jerk.)
How ’bout you? Do you do your part in your mom-friend relationships? Do you let others speak the truth into your life? (Even if they have to speak it and run, then check back later when you’re no longer ready to kill them?) Or, do you surround yourself with “Yes” Moms who agree with you all the time? Do you take the occasional risk of offending to tell a girlfriend she’s getting a little whacked? So she doesn’t end up on the news, or, worse yet- on Springer? I hope so.
The truth is- NONE of us can do this alone.
It’s not a fault- it’s a fact. And we were never meant to.
We’re all just one dumb decision from bo-toxing (or over controlling, or being too permissive, or a thousand other parenting mistakes) our babies. We weren’t made to to this alone. We were made for community, where we can encourage challenge and learn from each other.
As for me? One of the places I learned not to mother alone, is through MOPS. It’s also one of the places I made the kind of friends that love me enough to keep me from the bo-tox.
If you’re reading this, and thinking.. “Hmm yeah.. that could be me” I hope you’ll click over- and find a group- because No mom should be alone! (And babies shouldn’t be bo-toxed- the end)
PS This piece is not a representation of MOPS International- just one moms comments on the crazy world we live in.
Dear Lord- It was so easy to get angry with the bo-tox mom- mostly because I know- I face similar temptations in mothering. Forgive me for the twitter bombs. I love you lord- hope that moms can find connections and loving relationships so that they don’t have to mother alone…. Bless MOPS Lord- and bless that bo-toxing momma— she loves her girl…I can see that… and she needs your help. In Jesus name- amen