I recently read this blog post http://alegarattoni.com.br/as-maes-perfeitas-dos-grupos-do-facebook/ … For those of you who don’t read in Portuguese the gist of it is: she’s talking about those facebook mommy groups that somehow make us “human mothers” feel inferior… It’s about those “perfect” moms who are organic eating, breast feeding vegan, baby wearing, non working etc. etc. and how they make her feel inadequate as a mother and somehow lacking. Well, I actually take part in one of these groups, and it’s curious how generalising it is a little bit like that. It’s a bunch of mother’s who do their very best for their kids and who seam to sacrifice almost anything for them too. So far, it all sounds normal to me… But this post got me thinking about something I have felt every now and then:
Often when I am feeling exhausted and overwhelmed I think about my two grandmothers. They each came from very different backgrounds and had very different lives, but both have left me in awe at their strength. My father’s mother had 12 children… 12. Just the thought of spending 9 years of my life pregnant… makes me tired. They lived in Paraguay in a German community, so the chores and looking after the children were shared with others, but still. 12, not one or two or three. There were no disposable diapers, or ipads or computers, or cell phones, or all the unhealthy snacks we use to bribe our children with. There were hardly any shoes to go around. Yet I NEVER heard her complain about anything looking back. My other grandmother had only 3 kids, but no cleaner, no maid, no diapers, no car, no spare rooms… My mother tells me she shared a crappy sofabed with her sister in the living room for some years. That was their bed. When it rained there was a leak right on top their heads. Their younger brother slept in the room with my grandparents. All this to say, their childhood was nothing near my children’s and many kids who are around us today’s childhoods. There was probably a lot less whining and crying too. I don’t think that either one of my grandmother’s got to think about every tiny detail and decision in their kid’s lives, weather it was traumatising them or not… And yet everyone survived and grew up to become healthy adults… Sometimes I think nowadays we are so conscious of our parenting, we read so many books, try new theories go to so many doctors that we forget to just go with our guts. We sacrifice so much for these kids and I worry that this generation will grow up to be selfish, spoilt and weak. I am one of those mothers who read books and theories and all that… and still when push comes to shove, half the time I don’t know if what I’m doing is correct or the best for my kids… Plus now I have my own mother who is super present in my children’s lives but also comes with her ideas and baggage and that sometimes confuses me even more! Parenting is so so hard, and the more conscious we are about it, the harder it seams to get because well, I just keep thinking of all the things I could be doing wrong that could somehow damage my kids. Then again, sometimes it’s good to put things in perspective and remember that we are all human, and we all survive one way or another and so will our kids.