- Posted July 15, 2014 by
"Real" successful mothers
Why do your editors think success in motherhood can be defined? You're chasing the unicorn that flies between Lake Wobegon, where every child is above average, and Stepford, where the ideal woman is a robot. Parenthood is the most challenging job in the world, and it does not have a singular definition of success.
I love the nature of children because they are honest and they see wonder in the world every day. Our society needs to STOP using children as barometers of their parent(s) success. Is a successful mother the one who runs a company and manages to keep her schedule organized so that the family, school, and work commitments flow seamlessly? Or is it the mother who downsizes her lifestyle to have more time with her child? What about the mother who takes a second job in order to pay for substance abuse treatment in order for that teen/ young adult to have a second chance at life? Is success measured in the size of house the children are raised in, or their awards in academics, arts, or athletics? What about the mother of a child with learning differences who puts years of effort into her child's education, and finally sees her dream of that child graduating from high school or college? Is one more successful than the other?
There is not a happy, yellow brick road to the land of successful mother/ fatherhood. Any honest parent will share that there are wonderful days when a child achieves a(n) emotional, developmental, educational, or spiritual milestone and there is great relief that maybe the parent did something right. There are also days when the entire cosmos seems out of alignment, and the achievement is that the child is alive and fed by the end of the day. When i see a young child having a meltdown in public, I want to tell that parent that she/ he is not alone, we've all had that experience.
The "secrets" of successful parenthood are that we need to stop judging ourselves by someone else's standard, we need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of our children, and we need to surround ourselves with supportive people. Just like the safety instructions on airlines, put your oxygen mask on before putting on your child's. If not, both will pass out. These are ideas I've learned from others over the years. In no way do I intend to imply that I am a success. All of parenting is a day by day, work in progress.