We are such a self-absorbed society, really. I’m not saying there’s anything bad about that, and I’m certainly not saying I condemn that. After all, I, too am self-absorbed. I honestly think that’s what blogging and Twitter and Yelp and all the others are about–that desire to express ourselves to anyone and everyone who will listen (or read) is a form of self-absorption. It’s all about Us!
But I’m not going to rant about that today–I’m too self-absorbed. I’ve spent the past several days being self-absorbed mulling over my style of mothering. My daughter had an issue with a friend on Thursday last week that was followed by a tale of horror about a boy I know that was followed by an eye-opening account of what I can expect my kids to go through in middle school that was followed by me spending an hour with fellow-self-obsessed-moms waiting outside a birthday party that was followed by a good wake-up call/email from an old friend who put it all into perspective for me. By the time Saturday morning hit, I had had an epiphany that made me realize I’d been f*cking up in my parenting style. So I developed a totally new approach (to me), that I will probably realize in a couple of years is equally f*cked up. But I’ll worry about that then.
In the meantime, I find it hilarious that I’m actually spending time self-absorbed over “how” I’m being a mother. When did it happen that we had to have a philosophy? An approach? A mom style? Did my mother? I don’t think so. I can honestly say my mother never read a parenting book.
But I’ve read more than my fair share–which, really, is the reason why I screw things up. If I just acted like a Mama Bear and simply fed my kids, provided shelter and the occasional attack when a real threat (not an argument with a friend or a misunderstanding with a teacher, but a real, dangerous threat approached)and lived as a role model for how to behave when you grow up I think we would all be happier. But no, I’ve been self-absorbed worrying about the long-term emotional and psychological consequences of every bleeping breath I take in the vicinity of my children and constantly have been questioning whether or not I’m doing it “right”–as if anyone has the answer to what “right” is.
And I’m not alone. For some reason there’s not a mom out there just happy being a mom. We’re all self-absorbed in developing and living by a mom-style based on what we think being a mom should be about. We have Alpha moms, Helicopter moms, Child-directed moms. There’s even a Bad Mom’s Club (see link on the side bar). And just this morning I discovered Theta moms (The Truly Authentic Moms) — Link on side bar, too.
It’s funny, we all want our daughters to grow up being confident and strong, totally accepting of who they are (and sons, too, but for some reason its more of a personal quest of moms regarding their daughters). And yet, we constantly feel the need to justify who we are as mothers and question how we do it.
Which was part of my big epiphany this weekend. The other part is: I need to let her screw up and learn for herself instead of telling her, coaching her, and guiding her non-stop in her behavior. I need to stop worrying about how I am handling her situations–I need to step back, like a true Mama Bear, and let her learn to live without my constant interference and not take it personally when she does things I don’t like or when she messes up or when her feelings get hurt. She’s gotta learn to live and learn to live.