Friday, December 07, 2007

Adequate/Inadequate

Lindsay over at Suburban Turmoil has a post up about ways moms feel judged and judging of other moms. I don't necessarily feel judged or judgmental of other moms in the real world, but I do measure myself by fictional moms' standards and it's by that yardstick that I often feel inadequate.

Inadequate:
Mama in All-of-a-kind Family has 6 kids and has to do the laundry by hand, yet she still has time to do charity work, take care of a sick friend and spend quality time with her brother. I have a washing machine and dryer and only one child and I haven't put away the clean kitchen linens from last week's wash. My house is a sty.

Adequate:
On the other hand, she relies a lot on Ella to babysit for all 5 younger siblings and she allows her toddling son to go to the store downstairs by himself. I've never left MM alone with a 12 year old for God's sake! And no, he is NOT allowed out of my house without supervision. Plus, I can pretty much trust him NOT to put hot coals in his lap.

Inadequate:
Ma from the Little House books cooks at an open hearth, cleans, draws water from the fireplacing WELL and homeschools! I live in the modern world and...well...see Inadequate above. Also, MM doesn't know how to tie his shoes. I should have taught him that already, right?

Adequate:
I don't rely on my deathly ill child to crawl on the floor and get water for the rest of the family. Nor do I expect MM to put a sibling through school by sewing 10 hours a day.

On par: MM gets a bath at least once a week, more often if it seems necessary. He can read. He's happy playing by himself while I get dinner ready. He loves to vacuum. And, while his Christmas list is rather long, he understands the concept of "enough" and is not expecting to get more than one or two things off that long list. And he'd be really really happy with some silly slippers as a present.

But I feel horrible about how often I feed him crap, or spend time on my computer instead of playing with him, and how messy our house is, and how much tv I let him watch, and and and...

But he's loving, and a good friend, and loves nothing more than to have me and his daddy read to him or listen to him read, he spends a huge amount of time coloring and writing stories, he's a good kid.

On balance, I guess I'm doing a good job. I guess my feelings of inadequacy come from knowing I could be doing much better. But sometimes good enough is good enough.

Now, I'm going to work out some guilt feelings in the kitchen with a mop.

8 comments:

kathy a. said...

and you are supposed to be june cleaver, when? why?

i still feel inadequate on the housework front, especially when my MIL will be visiting. but truthfully, isn't there something weird about people whose houses are always perfect? you've got to wonder where their priorities are.

you're a great mom!

Gary Oxford said...

I know you're being a little facetious here, but Jeez Louise, beat yourself up much? If I was doing half of what you are, the boys would be eating nothing but Cheetohs and candy canes. And currently on our living room floor - 25 pieces of an Animals of North American jigsaw puzzle interspersed with hundreds of little plastic men and boats from a game called "Regatta" sprinkled amongst the literally uncountable wooden, take-along and battery-powered plastic TtFTE and friends, along with scores of pieces of their three different kinds of tracks. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you're not just Mystery Mommy, you're Magnificent Mommy, and the joy you have in how well Muffin Man is turning out is unmistakable and justified.

Casey said...

At least you bathe him once a week. My kids smell like rancid milk.

Mmmm.

jenn said...

Oh yeah - hee! I have had a few moments today. Like when my cat wanted me to keep going into the bathroom and petting him while he drank from the sink (his bestest passtime) and I would only do it three times and then I settled in to read blog and then I had this thought "oh, I'm going to be a bad mom!"

And when the kid downstairs was screaming NONONONONONONOOOOOOO about something and I was annoyed so I turned up CBC radio - and had this horrible feeling along the lines of what I just wrote above re: bad mom.

And I've not even BIRTHED it yet!

But I'll be a cool mom. And you're a cool mom and we will (do) raise interesting kids. Much more fun to do that than the laundry, yes?

hamiam said...

Any chance this is correlated to it being finals week?

I've been feeling mommy inadequacy due to the time school is taking these days.

elswhere said...

I remember that malaria scene vividly myself. And I've had similar thoughts about Matjrxma from All-of-a-Kind Family; I remember being struck that she had a few hours free in the afternoons to just read or sew while Lottie had a rest. No one I know has that!

On the other hand, she is *fictional*.

Mummy/Crit said...

Oh those dreadful feelings of inadequacy. I just have to repeat to myself over and over like a mantra "I'm doing the best job I possibly can right now". Otherwise it seems too much.

Camera Obscura said...

I re-read the Little House series (which I adored as a child) a few years ago when Daughter got into them. And I came to one conclusion very early on in the series:

If I had married Charles Ingalls and he had tried to drag my tired ass all over BFE (including places that it wasn't exactly legal to settle -- remember why they left the house where they all had malaria?) just because he couldn't stand living within a day's drive of the nearest neighbor, I would have made damn sure he had an accident with his huntin' gun before we ever left the Big Woods. Shiftless b@st@rd wouldn't stay put long enough to farm so he could feed his wife and three kids. Had no business bein' married, that one.