“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”
If you were paying any mind to social media over the weekend, you know that people love their mamas and were eager to share their feelings through countless posts, tweets & grams on Mother’s Day. As a new mom, I enjoy seeing the mama love and I was following closely to see what my friends had to say about their mothers.
I began to feel a little uneasy as the day progressed. Eventually I realized it was the photos that many of my mom-friends posted of them with their children with captions like, ‘My World’, ‘My Everything’, or “This is what I live for.” Of course, these are lovely things to say on the surface. Occasionally, I have been tempted to fall into this way of speaking to express the love that never knew I could have for others, but do, as a mother of twins. But I always stop myself.
If we take these captions literally, this manner of speaking is indicative of an underlying mindset. These moms feel that their kids are everything to them, and will behave accordingly. Like, by pretending not to enjoy the taste of pie, for example. Even if I tried to pull that one off, nobody would believe me! We’d have to find a way to share the pie 😉
This mindset is a disservice to our children and to us. Here’s why.
- It puts an exorbitant amount of pressure on our kids. To be someone’s world – Wow! That sounds like immense pressure to perform, appease and achieve. No wonder kids are in classes at just months of age with schedules that rival mine by 5. My preference is for kiddos who are well-adjusted and given the freedom to pursue their interests without loads of added pressure from me because my ego depends on it. Instead, make sure your kids know that they are an critical part of your world, and importantly, that you want them to be happy – their successes will not drive your satisfaction just as their mistakes will not result in your unhappiness.
- It infers that spawning successful children is enough, and it sends the wrong message to our daughters. If every generation is living predominately for the next, we may be missing out on the opportunity to contribute in other ways. We are sending that same message to our daughters, who are also told that they can and should have careers, hobbies, social lives… The message the “my world” mindset sends is, “to be a good mother, you should be 100% devoted to your family.” Well, this, my friends, is a recipe for disaster because these girls are going to try to be 100% devoted to their families and 100% devoted to their careers while also balancing hobbies and trying to look the part. They will likely end up stressed and unhappy. Instead, try to set a good example for your kids by striking a balance between family, career, social, hobbies or whatever it is that makes you happy.
- It means that we may have trouble knowing where to “draw the line.” Have you heard of those moms who are writing college application essays for their kids? Or doing their homework for them? Those parents are likely dependent on their children’s success for some good feelings, maybe even validation of their efforts as parents. My experience indicates that these kids are actually worse off than their peers when they become adults. They don’t know how to function well because they’ve been spoon-fed their entire lives. Instead, do us all a favor, and let your kids make a few mistakes. Long-term, they’ll be better (and happier) for it.
Happy belated Mother’s Day to all of my mom friends. This job is no joke, and there are many fine lines to walk along the journey of parenting so try to smile and relax. You’re doing great.
One last thought – exercise is a great habit to create for yourself, which also happens to signal to your children that your world is just a touch broader than them (even if you’re main drive for exercising is so you can keep up with your kids)!
“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”