Love, Mommy

Letters, thoughts and musings for my girls

My Daughters’ Mother

As a mother, the pressure to be all that our daughters need weighs heavily upon us.  Or, perhaps more accurately, the need to teach our daughters how to be a woman we admire is ever pressing.  Perhaps it is not that these expectations are set by our daughters, but by ourselves.

There are so many things that I want for my daughter.  And I have no doubt that, even without me, she would grow into a fantastic and amazing young woman.  Yet it is my responsibility to teach her what I can, show her how to overcome and succeed, smile through her tears, and learn to love.  How do I do that when the list is so long?

  1.  Strength.  I want my daughter to be strong, to know that she has the ability deep within her to overcome the most difficult of circumstances.  It is up to me to show her that anything is possible and that she does not have to be fearful when she stumbles.
  2. Ambition.  My daughter’s passions are her choice, but I want her to pursue them with ambition, with an understanding that she can reach her goals and for the stars.  While our interests may vary, I hope to show her this through a successful career of my own.
  3. Humor.  Sometimes life deals you bad cards.  Even in the worst of situations, sometimes with a little time, there can be humor, or something worth smiling about.  This is a difficult one for me to learn and perhaps a difficult one for me to teach, but I will endeavor to smile more, to laugh more, and to show my daughter the sharp wit that I hold so dear.
  4. Humility.  My daughter is awesome.  Period.  However, it is not awesome if the whole world knows it.  She is and will be amazing, but it is up to me to teach her how to be humble.  To be grateful for what we have and who we are, but to remember those that are less fortunate and to think outside of herself.
  5. Love.  She will develop the ability to love, I would hope, without any guidance from me.  I want her to know the love of a mother and a child and to be able to revel in that love, feel that love from deep within, because she had a mother that taught it to her.  I want it to be her default because she knows and felt nothing else.  I want to show her how to love a partner through the love that I have for her father.  That a marriage is a partnership with give and take, sacrifice and hard work, but that the pay off and reward is worth all that you put into it and more.  That love is respectful and kind, warm and passionate, constant and sustaining.
  6. Tolerance and Acceptance.  My daughter is and will be beautiful inside and out, regardless of perceived flaws by her or others.  There will always be something that she will not like about herself that will always be beautiful in its own way.  Without perceived flaw, she would not be who she becomes.  I want her to know that it is often this flaw that will set her apart, that will make her who she is, and that it is ok.  Additionally, that others will have these flaws as well.  That people will be different, that they come in all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds, but they are all beautiful in some way.  Difference is not wrong, it is necessary and right.  It is my job to teach this to her through acceptance of my own flaws, confidence and comfort in my own skin, and tolerance and love of others.

There is a never-ending list, it seems, of things that I feel my daughter needs to know.  In addition to these large life altering things, I want to be the mother that introduces her to some of the little things: the feel of wet grass on her feet when she runs through a sprinkler, the joy and awe she feels on Christmas morning, the way really good chocolate will melt on your tongue, the girly giddiness of her first pedicure, the fear and excitement when she slides behind the wheel of her first car, her first puppy love, the silly release in watching terrible movies while eating butter soaked popcorn.  And so, so many more.

The pressure to be this woman that I feel my daughter needs is daunting, but there is also joy.  Seeing her personality emerge, teaching her the important (and not so important) things in life is rewarding, and, dare I say it, often fun.  And, ultimately, there is nothing so important.


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Redefining Supermom

In my regular quest for fantastic parenting articles, blogs and pieces, I came across one in particular that really got me thinking.  In this piece, the author stated that there are very clearly two types of mothers: supermoms that have spotless homes, gourmet meals, scheduled extracurriculars and a flawless appearance and then ‘other’ mothers that are throwing together haphazard meals, forget the regular schedule, and mismatch their own and their kids’ shoes on the way out the door.  Admittedly, I did not finish this particular article, because I could not get past the gagging and nausea that had overwhelmed me about a third of the way through, but, days later, I cannot get past the annoyance of this misguided and untrue classification.  What, really, defines a supermom?

I do believe that there is an idolized image of the supermom and that many of us have her sitting on our shoulder throughout the day.  She is fit because she works out every day, her hair is perfectly coiffed without a strand astray, her apron is pressed while she concocts yet another gourmet meal, and her children are well behaved angels.  She’s authoritative when necessary, but still manages to bring homemade cookies to the PTA meeting.  She is successful in her job, makes love to her husband every night and has the cleanest home on the block.  And she has energy to spare.  Do we, as women and mothers, honestly believe that there are two types of mothers and that this is one of them?  Newsflash- this woman does not really exist.  You may think she does, but trust me, she does not.  So why do we continue perpetuating the image and, by extension, a mother’s guilt for not measuring up?

I recommend that we redefine what it means to be a supermom.  We must work hard every day to be the kinds of mothers our children need us to be.  This supermom puts her children’s needs above her own, provides a safe and nurturing environment, ensures proper nutrition, encourages young minds to open and blossom, and teaches lessons in wrong, right and shades of gray.  She encourages her children to believe in themselves, to empathize with others and to think independently.  She does not need to do this in an immaculate home, or with matching shoes on, or over a gourmet meal.  She may choose to do so, but these are certainly not prerequisites for supermom status.

I think it’s time we knock that old supermom off of our shoulders.  Not everyone is a supermom, but it is a status that should be attainable.  And it’s certainly a status that should be defined by real moms and encouraged by all moms.  It is not the job of a mother to classify other mothers, nor to set unrealistic and unreachable goals for herself or others.  It is her job to be a better mother today than she was yesterday and be the best supermom that she can be.

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