An Open Letter to Mothers

Day 12: An Open Letter (ooh, I love a good open letter!)

Dear Mothers-

Calm down.  No seriously, get off Pinterest and calm down.

You are not meant to enjoy every minute of your child’s life.  I know I just bolded and underlined that, but it’s worth repeating (in capitals):  YOU ARE NOT MEANT TO ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF YOUR CHILD’S LIFE.  You’re just not.  Kids are loud and messy and infuriating.  Kids are annoying and pokey and dirty.  I don’t care that some old lady in aisle six of the Walmarts glared at you for speaking in that scary, whisper voice to your toddler, saying, If you don’t sit down right now, I’m going to leave you here and you will have to figure out how to survive on your own, sleeping in the camping section and cooking frozen pizzas on the barbeques.  I don’t care that the 50-something woman with empty nest syndrome smiled sweetly and said, Enjoy these precious moments- they grow up so fast.  I don’t care.

You’re supposed to feel tired and frustrated and irritated and yes, even angry sometimes.  You’re supposed to have nights where you count the moments until bedtime and gulp a giant glass of red wine after those little pickles are asleep.  You’re supposed to want free time, when no one is touching you or demanding something from you or whining at you.

You’re supposed to continue to be YOU after you have your kids.

Our own mothers mothered before Pinterest.  They fed us, they clothed us and they loved us.  Are any of us scarred because we didn’t make glittery snowman crafts for Christmas and homemade Valentines for each of our classmates?  Are you really sad that you don’t have molds of your hands and feet from birth until college plastered all around the house?  Were you okay eating a processed chicken nugget every now and again because your mom was just a little too tired to prepare a gourmet, five-course meal from scratch after work?

We’re turning our kids into self-entitled monsters with our own desires to be perfect.   Your child should not get every moment of your time.  She should learn that if you’re already doing something, she might have to wait just a second before you grab her that cup of milk/rescue the toy from under the couch/turn the movie off/turn the movie on/etc.  It’s your role to let your child know they’re important but they’re not the only person in the house.  It’s how you teach patience and a bit of respect.

Sometimes, the dishes need to be done.  Don’t tell me, internet mom, that I should never clean my house because it takes away from time with my kids.  Well, guess what?  If I never do the dishes, we have no dishes to eat off of, therefore we don’t eat.  Or we eat take-out.  That’s not healthy every night.  By not taking care of my home, I’m teaching my kids that it’s okay to be dirty and messy.  I’m telling them that their happiness is the most important thing in my world.  It’s not.  It’s my job to raise them to be responsible, functional adults, not people who think everyone should stop everything they’re doing to cater to their every whim.  This mom, by the way, is my hero. 

Look, someone wrote a book about it

I’ve seen so many articles lately about taking the time to enjoy your little ones, and I agree wholeheartedly.  Enjoy those little pickles.  Enjoy the heck out of them.  They’re cute, they’re lovely, they’re huggy and kissy and cuddly.  They freely throw around I love you’s and the Ladybug has taken to telling me that I’m a really good mom lately.  I enjoy that.  Personally, I try to avoid using my phone from the time I get home until after bedtime- I have a short amount of time with my girls each day and Facebook and email can definitely wait.  It’s important to me that they have my attention for the space of time I can give it to them.  I prefer to have the TV off but sometimes we have some music in the background so we can have dance parties if we want.  We eat dinner together, then playing, bath, books and bedtime.

Some nights, though, I need to turn on Sofia the First and veg a bit with my kiddos.  Some nights, I beg the Rugby Star to do bedtime because I’m exhausted.  Sometimes, just sometimes, we start the bedtime routine just a few minutes earlier than seven.

We haven’t been crafty in a while.  We had pizza twice last week.  I fussed at the Ladybug because she tried to shut her sister in the cabinet this morning.  She yelled at me because I wouldn’t give her some chapstick.  But I can’t wait to get home and see her this afternoon.  I can’t wait to snuggle both of them and laugh and play and probably have at least one time out or screaming fit.  And it’ll be okay.

Dear Mothers- take a break.  Let yourself off the hook.  Your mother didn’t ruin you and you won’t ruin your kid.  Love them- love them so much it hurts.  Cry when they head off to school for the first time.  Celebrate their successes and teach them to persevere through their defeats.  Let them know they’re safe with you… but not so safe that they never want to leave.  And be tired if you want to be tired.  It doesn’t make you a bad mother.

It just makes you human.

One Tired Mother

16 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Mothers

  1. I don't have kids, but everything you've said sounds so reasonable! The world of mommy pinterest/blogging seems terrifying, where you're judged for everything you do and don't do. It seems like you've got it figured out pretty well 🙂


  2. Lol. This was a really entertaining read! I think you're right – everyone needs to relax a little & concentrate on raising self sufficient adults. Love your whisper quote at the Walmarts. 🙂


  3. Great letter! I stay away from Pinterest, although I'm sure it has its uses, and I think it's important that our kids see what makes moms angry and frustrated. Otherwise they won't learn how to get along with people in the real world. A Facebook friend of mine posted a gourmet salad she made for her kids today—made with wild-caught tuna, blanched kale, and freshly cut carrots. My kids ate nitrate-injected deli ham on white buns with processed cheese :).


  4. Buuuuut, the pictures of my kid's Pinterest first birthday party are so pretty! I'm sure she'll appreciate the hours I spent cutting out number and letter sugar cookies and creating a dairy free rainbow cake from scratch for all her many days. Totally sure. See what a good mother Pinterest has made me. 😉


  5. I'm not a mother, so I really try to refrain from telling mothers how to mother. 🙂

    However, I do know some mothers who give their kids too much “stuff” and let them get away with too much in the interest of being their child's “friend.” And I agree with you wholeheartedly about the mother you linked to. I read a quote somewhere that said basically … instead of worrying so much about saving the planet for our kids, we should worry more about creating awesome kids for our future.


  6. I really liked this post. Someday, I think I want to be a mother, and thinking about it now freaks me out, and the first thing I think I would do is turn to the internet, because, well…that's what my generation does. Glad to hear some words of wisdom. There was mothering before the internet 🙂


  7. Great letter. I'm not a mother either and I recognize that mothers are under so much pressure to perform, but the nature of that pressure has really changed. I don't think my mother ever felt like she had to be Martha Stewart meets June Cleaver. Sure, she kept a clean home, hot food on the table, and sewed our buttons back on, but she wasn't knitting toys owls, baking red velvet cookies, weaving baskets, and making crayon art. What's with all this crazy crafting mothers think they need to be doing? I don't think kids even care about all that stuff; I sure didn't. I just wanted to spend time with my mom and dad; I still do.


  8. I bet all of those perfect moms yell at their kids too… they just don't write about it 🙂 And no, I have nothing figured out. I can write all of that and still feel guilty that we haven't made Valentine's cards yet!


  9. Thanks Samantha! Teaching for the past 10 years has definitely given me a perspective on what this 'perfect parenting' is doing to our kids! We aren't screwed up (well, not too badly) and our moms were craft-crazy.


  10. I know she appreciates it- she just can't say it yet 🙂 Haha! It's funny that we spend so much time on that first birthday… that they won't remember, but after that, it gets harder!


  11. I've seen that quote before too, Yvette and I completely agree! I'm going to recycle a bit here and there, but mostly, I want my kids to know how to be responsible, respectful, polite and kind. The rest will take care of itself.


  12. Exactly! And really, we're not too bad as adults, are we? I can feed and dress myself, I moved out at an appropriate age. I give up my seat to old people and pregnant ladies on buses and trains… my mom did something right… WITHOUT Pinterest!


  13. My kid has fun when we do crafty stuff- but not in the way where she's sulking when we're not doing it. I think the key is to spend time with your kids- as long as you're doing something that makes you both happy and you're interacting, it doesn't have to be making a wreathe from recycled pine cones that you gathered on your nature hike while your fresh-caught tilapia bakes in the oven.


  14. OK, so, I feel a little bit like Gail to your Oprah right now, as you are clearly KILLIN' this blog business. LOVING it. Oh, and I'm about to make you even MORE famous. Well, famous in Dhaka. Okay, okay, famous in that ONE school I teach at in Dhaka…with that *one* 10th grade Drama class….*awkward smile.* Anyway, next unit in theatre is…Blogologues. What's that you ask? (As a drama teacher, AND a blogger, you really MUST know about this…I'll let you Google it and the waves of mind-blowness waft over your psyche later) Anyhoo, I have chosen YOUR blog for MY performance piece. This post cinched it. It was you and Jen Legra running neck and neck for a while there, but in the end, she's just too “Jersey” for me…no offense, Leggies….(I mean, GO BRUUUUCE!!!! and I ❤ JBJ). Besides, I've already got the accent down, AND you've got a really cool title to boot. All I need is a little "yes" from you (can't go modeling malpractice, now can we?) and I'm on my whaddya say? CanIcanIcanIhuhuhuh?


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