Dear Other Mothers,
There’s something I want you to know. There have been a lot of these “open letters” to moms lately. Whether the letters are meant to encourage, judge, or inform, it seems everyone has something to say to mothers lately. Well, I have something to say, too.
Here it is. I don’t want to argue about our parenting ideologies. I don’t want to criticize your parenting choices, directly or indirectly, by promoting my own or putting yours down. I’m not here to judge the way you spend your day, or where you work, or whether you work. I know you work. We’re all working. I’d rather not compare your kid’s milestones to mine to see who is “winning”. Your kid is really cute, and so is mine, and it’s pretty impressive that they are both still alive after all the climbing and falling during those toddler years. I think we’re both winning!
Look, parenting is hard. Mothering is hard.
The image of the perfect mother is diverse, and complicated, and stretches from one side of the spectrum to the other in the same breath.
We are meant to be, at once, soft and firm, busy and available, attached and independent, sophisticated and playful, sexy and modest, comforting and authoritative, involved and relaxed, encouraging and protective. If we spend all of our time trying to be all of these things, we’ll soon find ourselves burnt out and alone. I know, I’ve been there.
I propose something a little different. You want to just go get some coffee? I’ll have my kids with me, and yours can come too, if you want, and we’ll just let our kids run feral on that playground for a bit while we sip some java and chat.
No pressure here, mama. I won’t scold you for bribing your kids, and you can withhold judgment if I happen to swear under my breath a few too many times. Deal?
You have talents that I don’t have, and you face challenges that I can’t fully understand.
I think it’s awesome that you do all the things you do. You have talents that I don’t have, and you face challenges that I can’t fully understand. I won’t pretend that your problems can be fixed by doing things the way that I would do them. You want to problem-solve something that’s been hard for you lately? That’s cool; I’d be happy to help brainstorm or offer suggestions. But if not, you know it’s fine with me if we just talk Netflix or current events or fro-yo.
The moral of the story is this: I like you.
We can be different brands of awesome without detracting from each other’s awesomeness.
You don’t have to prove anything to me, and I hope I can be real with you, too.
Now, how about that java?