The True Bad Mothers

Didn’t pack extra clothes? Let your toddler play on the iPad? Didn’t have a hot lunch ready at noon? There are endless ideas about what a mother should do, how she should behave. And admittedly, we call our own selves bad mothers too quickly if now and then we don’t make the children’s needs our very top priority, if we are selfish….

There it is again!

This totally dumb self-criticism.

We constantly gripe about our bodies, fight against our bad consciences, feel like total failures in some everyday situations and we are worriers instead of warriors.

But there is a totally different kind of mother.

The true bad mothers. . .

. . . completely suppress their own needs. To somewhere deep inside, where they slowly ferment. Maybe they will shoot to the surface someday and pour out as a flood of reproaches against the child. Or maybe not. Then the child will simply feel the mother’s latent dissatisfaction and think it’s normal. Or, really splendid: The kids will believe that they are the very reason for their mother’s discontent.

. . . never make mistakes. Never wipe out in a spectacular fashion. And so they never get to show that you can mess up and still be a lovable person. And sometimes have to say sorry. And can pick yourself up again.

. . . love the word “development”. And use it nonstop, really. (I recently heard it five times in a 10-minute conversation – and had to fight the urge to call “Bingo!”) Swimming, singing songs, trip to the zoo? Lots of parents like doing that. But these mothers don’t have fun as their primary goal; it’s the potential for child development that is their focus with every activity. They listen to classical music while pregnant, even though they don’t like it – and of course they use vaginal loudspeakers. They consider swimming lessons to be baby’s first test and want clearly defined learning goals. Later, they constantly get involved in school and sports if they think their darling isn’t advancing well enough.

. . . barrel through the neighborhood with their family car. 60 kilometers per hour in the 30 kph zone, on the mobile phone as they speed around a curve. No problem. The children’s names are on precious stickers on the back of the car –  but their own darlings aren’t playing outside right now. Sure, Sophie-Annabelle must go directly to Chinese lessons and Lionel-Justin’s developmental needs are only met in the soccer club in the neighboring town, so they must be driven there. But can’t you drive them a little bit slower, dang it?

. . . drive their kids to school. Although the way to school isn’t long and crosses neither airport landing strip nor fox den. I don’t know how many studies have to prove that parent taxis make the walk to school more dangerous than the other way around. And that it’s important for a child’s self-esteem and independence to walk to school on her own. Authorities and school officials have been fighting this insanity for years, but all their arguments get flattened by thick SUV tires.

. . . actually know everything about how to be a mother. Much more than other parents. And they like to say so, openly or behind your back. So their children learn early that there is only ONE correct way to do anything.

. . . want to be close to their children. And believe the best way to be close is to read the kids’ diaries or chats – and that the kids won’t find out. There is no more effective way to destroy trust.

. . . want to be their kids’ best friends. They want to seem cool, dress stylishly (and say ‘funky’ or ‘hip’ instead of ‘stylish,’ which guarantees the facepalm of the year) and talk like the kids. They want to simulate equality and are too scared to face the process of detachment.

. . . fixate on the shiny, happy stuff. That’s when women only share the glossy moments of motherhood in social media or privately. Who don’t admit that sometimes they just want to cry because it’s all too much. Does that affect the kids? Probably not – unless they catch on to the lies and draw their own conclusions. But it affects the other mothers. The ones who are doubting themselves, despairing and in need of a comforting pat on the shoulder (as well as someone to wipe off the baby’s drool). Who just want to hear: “Let’s be real: I get it.”

. . . criticize other mothers. Oh….

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