Three events this week brought to mind the challenging role of being a mother today. The birth of a new baby, a college admissions decision and a long awaited on-again-off-again wedding.
Call it a mission statement, a manifesto, a set of rules, reminders, we're beginning this manifesto as a way to keep us all sane on this crazy, long and never-ending journey called motherhood:
*We will call what we're doing work. Even if the world doesn't acknowledge it, we will: motherhood is the hardest work in the world. It's physically demanding, psychologically strenuous, spiritually complex, and unpaying. We refuse to accept the whole "I-don't-work-I-stay-home-with-the-kid" thing. We've held lots of jobs, and not one has been more intense. And, since it is equally challenging to work outside the home and raise kids, we will never be too proud or silent to ask for help.
*We will complain when we want to. We are allowed to bitch. We'll never forget the healing power of a good old-fashioned rant.
*We will boast when we want to. Yes, our child is the cutest, smartest, most hilarious, most cuddly on the block.
*We will cry when we need to.
*We will laugh maniacally when we need to.
*We will not forget to play. With our kids and by ourselves.
*We will not forget the power of an occasional martini.
*We will not spend money haphazardly, or on useless status objects, or on stuff we think we "should" have.
*We will not be snobs about thrift stores.
*We will ask for help when we need it.
*While we will boast our kids are the smartest, cutest, most delightful creatures ever planted on this earth we will not turn them into our status symbols of success and excess.
*We will yell when we need to and feel guilty later.
*We will do our best to educate ourselves, to read valuable books, to attend parenting classes and lectures, to listen to those "experts" we admire--but we will also trust our instincts.
*We will avoid the rancorous, black-and-white thinking that pervades the media. We know people raise children in different ways.
*We will forgive ourselves when we make mistakes.
*We will listen to them and see them for who they are, not who we want them to be.
*We will not dress them in overpriced designer and disposable togs.
*We will not forget the power of an occasional martini. (When they are sleeping and we're not driving).
*We will share our triumphs, fears, and hopes with with a community of other parents.
*We will not forget the important role that fathers play, or deny fathers their own wisdom, their own experience (even if we complain about or bemoan their incessant need to toss the kid over their heads).
*We will be at our best when we remember to take care of ourselves.
*We will be strong, smart role models. In our successes and in our failures.
*We will trust their judgment and accept their choice in a life partner.
*We will keep adding to this list.
*We will keep laughing.
*We will teach them the value of healthy diet and exercise by modeling our behavior. (Really, we will.)
*We will remember where they get into college has little to do with living a full and happy life.
*We will sometimes use salty language--around adults. Of course we can't stand when people use dirty language around their children. But, on the other hand, isn't there something unsettling about mothers who talk baby talk and, even worse, can't keep it out of adult conversation?
*We will find places of sanity and sanctuary in our own backyard. The library, the nature preserve, the mall.
*We won't forget who we are.
*We will complain when we want to. We are allowed to bitch (we are Bitches on a Budget!). We'll never forget the healing power of a good old-fashioned rant. (Yes we said that before.)
*We will be like all mothers everywhere and repeat ourselves over and over and over again.
Tell us: what "rules" do you follow as a mother? Leave a comment! Add to the manifesto!