So what did you learn about yourself and your current parenting situation yesterday?
After looking over my journal and reading over and over that list to help us realize
it's time for a change, I learned that I am VERY critical of myself as a mother.
I am constantly comparing myself to other moms and set myself up for
failure every day of my life. What a huge realization!!
Today we will jump right into Chapter 2, and, for me, Chapter 2 was where I first really understood what Dr. Borba was trying to say. Up until this point we have learned
so much about her core philosophy but this is where it really hit home for me.
Get your journals ready and lets dig in!!Chapter 2 - What IS a Real Mom These Days?? We talked briefly yesterday about motherhood changing so much...even from when we were kids. I gave the example last week of what my mom tells me when I come to her super frazzled, but just a little more of a background is that I can never ever remember our TV being on, except for 2 reasons. #1 it was dark outside and my dad was home from work or #2 we were "resting" in our rooms and my mom was watching her soap operas from 1:00-2:00 every day!! The rest of the time, the TV was off, the lights were off, the windows and curtains were open and all was well in our little 1200 sq.ft home that fit us just fine. My sister and I played by ourselves all day every day and life was GOOD!! So different from today, huh?? Dr. Borba has interviewed dozens of moms and researched hundreds and she is very confident, as I think we all are, that there has been a shift in parenting...and not for the better. And, I am just as guilty as the next mom. What Happened to Pat-A-Cake and Peek-A-Boo Dr. Borba tells a story of when she had her first "ah-ha" moment regarding this shift in mothering. She tells of a baby shower that she went to once for a friends daughter. Instead of burp cloths, bibs, and rattles, the registry and baby store was filled with brain development, brain stimulation, baby sign language (so you can communicate with your baby before he talks), and baby paraphernalia that sure gave her a difficult time choosing the perfect gift. She said, I even felt a tad guilty asking the salesclerk for something as old-fashioned as a copy of Goodnight Moon. (p. 25) She also said that it gave her the first sense of this overwhelming responsibility that moms today must feel about making the right choices for their children. When Did Mothering Become a Billion Dollar Profit Center? Dr. Borba also tells of a woman on a flight that she was on who found her seat with her little daughter and no sooner than the seat belt light had gone off mom had pulled out a bag packed to the brim with items: from flash cards to workbooks to beginning phonic books to markers and paper-she even had a DVD player with a National Geographic movie about zoo animals. Heaven forbid an unplanned spare moment for the child, but what about her mother? I was exhausted from just watching her try to make sure her child was never bored. Just when did mothering get so difficult, so draining? (p. 26) Mothering has become a billion dollar money maker and we are all filling the pockets of the people who are making us insanely crazing trying to keep up and do a good job as a mom. Building blocks, sand boxes, and imaginary forts have been replaced with electronic vocabulary builders, magnetic alphabet games for our little geniuses, and products guaranteed to give little Tommy that jump start to Harvard all before he can walk!! WHAT ARE WE DOING?? How Did We Get From June Cleaver to Motherhood Mania? Dr. Borba describes June Cleaver as always calm, neat as a pin, never without her pearls, smiling, loving, and always available. When Beaver came bouncing down the stairs for breakfast, Mrs. Cleaver was always in the kitchen in her spotless sparkling white apron, busily making bacon and eggs. And when Beaver came home from school, she was always at the door, still smiling with her pearl necklace on, greeting him with a freshly baked batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Okay its corny, but the thing about it that I'm remembering fondly is the feeling of warmth, of being always welcomed, and the strong connection between mother, her children, and their friends. (p. 27) Ok, now lets compare that with motherhood today, shall we? Dr. Borba does it for us and you can't help but laugh at her illustration but at the same time it makes you want to cry! See if you can relate to this modern day mom...
Calm? Neat as a pin? Smiling? Always available?
Homemade chocolate chip cookies? Get Real!!
A typical 24 hours in the life of a mother today includes an intense schedule
of constant activity, stress, and pressure. Feeding and dressing 2.3 kids.
Carpooling to school. Shuffling countless after-school activities -
skating, gymnastics music lessons, special academic coaching, soccer practice,
scouting, dance class, play rehearsals, Odyssey of the Mind playgroups.
Then there's helping with homework, science fair projects, PTA meetings,
school events, making and cleaning up from dinner, then dashing off to another crazy
activity, not to mention mending, cleaning, dusting, picking up after
everyone, vacuuming, scrubbing, mopping, and madly trying to find that
darn missing library book. If there's by any miracle 30 minutes of unscheduled
time at any point during the day, Mom is likely to hop on a home exercise
bicycle of dash of to a quick palates class. And that's just a weekday. If you think
Saturday or Sunday is going to be any different, forget it. With soccer games, dance
recitals, school debates, theatrical and musical performances, slumber and birthday parties,
and a host of other frenzied activities, it's a nonstop mad dash with never
a moment to spare. (p. 28)
She goes on and on even more than this talking about part time jobs, careers, relatives, appointments and a love life between you and your husband. Then she says, lets not forget that many moms are single, many have to work outside the home, ALL are exhausted!! And then there is the million ads and commercials about how we are supposed to eat, what we are supposed to do to look good, stay healthy, keep smiling and moisturize - because we're worth it! (p. 28)
Y'all it is truly insane!! And to hear it like this makes it sound even more insane, doesn't it? Do you relate to this modern momma? And if you aren't this extreme, I am sure you can relate to at least some of it. Our moms, and June Cleaver, never had these choices...there weren't even car seats for crying out loud!!! So do you get it that the WORLD is making a killing off of our love for our children and our desire to do the best we can for our kids?. They are filling their pockets on our anxiety to be the best mom ever and the steady feeling of not being good enough!! Do you see that most, if not all, of this nonsense is just a money maker that we are feeding by jumping on board with all that we've got!!
God tells us that we are fully equipped with everything we need to be a mother. How do I know? because He created us to be mothers and He doesn't command us to do anything that we cannot do. He has been in the business of creating mothers for thousands of years, all with only 24 hours in a day, most with a fraction of the modern day conveniences we have, and somehow those children turned out way better than kids today are!! How does that happen??
The Urge to be Supermom
The result of all of this STUFF that the WORLD is pumping into our heads is that we are suffering today in a full fledged frenzy - an abnormally high level of busyness, tension, stress, speediness, anxiety, heightened awareness, and even panic. Many moms can't get enough sleep, the can never keep up or do enough for their kids and they feel feel guilty or inadequate about it. They're overwhelmed trying to be Supermom, to fulfill the expectations placed on them. They are in a state of Motherhood Mania. Isn't that what a good mother does??
Don't believe it?? Here are some disturbing statistics for you:
- 70% of moms find motherhood stressful.
- Depression affects 30% of young mothers and children.
- 1/3 of parents in one survey said that if they were to do it all over again, they would not start a family.
- In that same survey 53% said they felt significant resentment in making sacrifices as a parent.
- Of the 1,306 moms in one survey, 95% said they experienced guilt and almost half said that the guilt got worse as the kids got older. (p. 29)
There are more, but for the sake of time, I just chose a few. Here are 11 issues that Dr. Borba says should be considered as to why we have morphed from apple pie to full fledged motherhood mania:
- New knowledge about child development.
- More options. Entrepreneurs are very smart and have made endless amounts of choices for parents today.
- More media. Over 800 books on the concept of motherhood were published between 1970 and 2000, of those, only 27 between 1970 and 1980.
- Financial pressures.
- Wanting to be liked. Many moms want to be their child's best friend. Does "you're mean mom strike a chord with you?
- Outdoing their own moms.
- Lack of confidence. They lack confidence in their judgment are constantly second guessing themselves.
- Wanting a trophy child.
- The test craze. With all the tests today, they're making us crazy worrying that our kids will not be good enough. (p. 31-32)
Do you think that any of the above reasons contribute to why we all feel so exhausted in our parenting efforts and NOTHING IS WORKING?? Dr. Borba ends this chapter by saying,
And is Motherhood Mania worth it? Is it worth all the time and energy and
money we're spending? Do our kids really benefit from all these
splendid extracurricular activities and stimulating experiences? (p. 32)
I wonder if all these things will be what our kids will remember about us? Will they describe us as the best mom ever who drove them around to each practice and rehearsal and who bought them everything under the sun? Or will they say that we were always busy, wishing they could've spent more time with us, wanting a "love that lasts for always"?
We will see what the kids are saying in the next chapter...STAY TUNED!!
For today, look over Dr. Borba's description of today's crazed mom and really think hard to see if that fits where you are right now? Then look over those reasons that Dr. Borba gives as things that could be causing this craziness and see if any apply to your life. We will meet right back here tomorrow for Chapter 3 - Why Being a Sacrificial Mom is Bad for Your Kids.