Good moms vs. Bad moms. It’s all the rage these days. My question, though, is: When did being a good mom become such a bad thing?
There are commercials going viral for painting a picture of what “real women” look like during a typical morning of chaos, mocking examples of “unrealistic” moms who have time to start their mornings with yoga, writing in a journal, or even making a fresh breakfast.
Or there is an entire movie comedy coming out this summer, titled “Bad Moms,” dedicated to the battle between good and bad moms. The trailer features an obvious distinction between two types of mom, portraying the moms who seem to not have it together all the time as “bad moms” as the title says and the other “good moms” as the enemies.
The conflict between “good” and “bad” moms shows up in several ways.
I frequently see parent-teacher organization members represented on screen as uptight and guilt-inducing snobs (as in the movie “Bad Moms’) and yet, in my personal experience, I haven’t seen anything close to that. I love being a part of the PTC for my daughter’s school. I’ve been active for two years now and even decided to run for officer next year, winning the role of treasurer. Our own Mumbling Mommy writer, Katie, will even be her children’s school’s PTO president next year. These roles have given me a chance to build a great relationship with the administration at my daughter’s school, plan fun events for the kids, and get to know some awesome parents. I have a voice in what to do with fundraising money and I genuinely enjoy being a part of the group.
I was not guilted into joining the PTC. In fact, no one even asked me at all. There was a generic flyer in my “Welcome to Kindergarten” packet. I volunteered. I knew years before that I wanted to be a part of my child’s school life in this way. If I am stressed out or simply don’t have the time to jump in for one particular event, then I just don’t. Since I haven’t been banished or tarred and feathered yet, I am pretty sure it’s okay with the rest of the parents, too. I do this because I want to.
Then there is this ongoing debate about a messy house being a sign that you have happy kids, and photos of “perfection” on Instagram are criticized as fake. I mean, there are dozens of blog posts about this concept of social media allowing us to hide our true selves.
Want to know the truth? Sometimes my house is clean. And sometimes it’s not. My kids are plenty happy. Except when they aren’t. These are simply facts of life when it comes to children and busy families. So yes, sometimes parents will post super clean house pictures with super happy kids and it will seem fake because we all know that’s not what life looks like every day, but guess what? It’s okay. It is human nature for us to want to only remember the positive stuff. It is a survival instinct.
Yes, I am sure a few parents post crap to be show offs. If you have a parent like this in your life, I advise you to immediately unfollow that person so you can merrily go on with your life. But I assure you, the bigger majority of parents are simply proud of their happy/successful/blissful moments, no matter how few and far between they come.
And when it comes to kids being happy or not, I am against posting pictures of my children mid-tantrum anyway. It’s their private moment and I think we can all agree we wouldn’t want a picture of us posted going through those big emotions.
As if those two examples aren’t enough …
When did it become a bad thing to make a special treat for your child’s birthday or snack day for a team sport? Scary Mommy just featured a post about the insanity of snack baggies where the writer says, “And don’t forget your snack bag masterpiece is being critiqued as well, not just by the parents, but by the kids.” I think this is a little extreme. Disappointing little Suzy or Bobby is the least of my worries. If I want to make a special treat, I make one. If I don’t want to? I don’t make one!
For my daughter’s birthday this year, I sent in 2 dozen silly straws with cute little balloon-shaped cutouts attached. I actually had a blast making them. It cost me $4 total (as in, I’m not rich, people!) I was super stressed out and I actually used making them as a self-care technique. It really calmed my mind to just enjoy doing something crafty, and I felt very accomplished once they were done (all of about 45 minutes later, so don’t preach to me about how I have too much time on my hands.)
For perspective, last year I sent my daughter with 4 dozen gluten free Oreo-style cookies. No napkins. No juice boxes. No fun trinkets to take home. Two cookies per kid and done. That is what fit into my life at the time. Want to know how many kids scoffed at my treat? None. Want to know how many parents scowled at me in the parent pick-up line? None. And for what it’s worth, are you interested to know how many times I judged another mom for what she sent in for a snack or treat? Absolutely never. I am even the head room mom for our class parties and never once did I pass a single negative thought about how many parents could or couldn’t help in any way. Again, I do what makes ME happy and I don’t worry about the other parents.
Sure, the movie “Bad Moms” will probably make us all laugh, but I really hope the spoiler at the end is a message about how we really are all good moms no matter which path we take to get there, because I enjoy sharing my good moments and really don’t want to embrace a thicker skin just because people think I’m doing it for any reason than simply feeling pride.
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Tags: bad moms