Thursday, January 06, 2011

I am better mom than you are, nyah, nyah, nyah...

So, some friends have got a whole Facebook status thing going on where they will make a handmade/homemade item for the first five commenters. There's just one catch... the commenters have to make this their status too. I personally think that this whole idea is terribly skewed toward those skilled in domestic arts. The friend I saw it first on even specified homemade that YOU made. Now how is that fair? Those of us who are domestically-challenged are at a serious disadvantage.

The topic rather got me thinking about being a Mom. We Moms worry. All the time. Is my kid fitting in at school? Are her friends being nice? Is he happy? Did he eat well? Is she learning? We worry. And we compare. It's human nature. And, frankly, I think there's good comparison and bad comparison. In the business world, good comparison is called benchmarking. It's reviewing a number of organizations and determining what they're doing that you could be doing better. That can be very helpful. As a mom, I learn from friends. I learn from people on the street. Some of the things that I learn are what to do or how to do it. Many of the things I learn are what I don't want to do. But the key is, I'm looking with the view of improving myself.

Unfortunately, lots of people, in their own insecurities about who they are as a mom or the sacrifices they are making (and trust me we ALL make sacrifices, whether we admit it or not), take the negative form of comparing. This would be the, "I'm a better mom because I breastfed my child for 4 years" or "I'm a better mom because my kid is getting all A's" or "I'm a better mom because my kid eats liver" approach. And this comparing is not helpful as a mom. Not at all. Not in any way.

I was in the car earlier and was thinking about how it might be fun to start a group of moms who get together to talk about techniques for raising kids. I'm not picky about who might come, foreigners, locals, whomever would be fine. It would be nice to learn about nutrition options from someone who is aware of the things that are available in Jordan. So often we get information about healthy eating with lovely recipes that call for 20 ingredients not available in Jordan. Nice, but no so helpful. But, the worry I have is finding people who would each be able to contribute something to the group without trying to find an "I'm a better mom" angle.

If you gather 20 ladies in a room, I am certain that each of them is a better mom than me in at least one way. Some of them might be in 20 ways. Mind you, I'm a pretty good mom, in my own humble estimation. My kids are nice, socially aware, polite, healthy. Generally they're great kids. I imagine I can take some small amount of the credit there. But, even so, there's so much I can learn. Each of my friends teaches me something new. From one I learned strategies for treating boredom among kids (offer chores as a boredom combating measure, suddenly books don't seem boring). From one I learned food adoption measures (dip it in chocolate, they still get the nutrients, but may like the taste better).

And, after all this learning, I still don't do typical "mom" things. You know, cooking, cleaning, sewing and such. I hate those things. With a passion. I wish they would all go somewhere and die. Teehee. Some years ago, when ButterBean was maybe a year old, MimiBean said to me one day wonderingly, "You know, I didn't know you could be a good mom and not do "mom things"." Ah, and that's the thing that it's greatest to learn, I think. That, as a mom, I'm not in competition with others. I'm not a better or worse mom because I can't cook gourmet meals. I'm a different mom. My style of mom is the kind who'd rather read a story than play with a Barbie. I'd rather find a fun kids restaurant than cook a fancy meal. That's my kind of momming. And I do the very best I can to become the best possible mom that I can be.

So, I'm passing on the Facebook homemade/handmade challenge, it's just not my thing. But it did get me thinking, for which I am grateful. Being here in Jordan exposes you to all sorts of moms. It's a rich environment for learning from others, things to do and not. I'm grateful for that experience as well. I see so many different styles in so many moms, each of whom I admire. What a great opportunity. I hope that maybe you'll start thinking about what kind of mom you are (or want to be). What's important to you? What's valuable to you? How do you feel about other moms? Do you often find yourself thinking about how much better a mom you are than Mrs. X? Or do you try and learn something beneficial from Mrs. X?

Happy Mommies!


At 9:08 AM , Anonymous jaraad said...

Very mommy-oriented post but, if I may, I will intrude with a comment :) I agree that one can't say mother X is better than mother Y. Comparing what we do with others is the worst thing one can do to him/herself not in just motherhood but in all aspects of life.
I think the best to evaluate a mother's parenting methods are her children. If they feel being loved I don't think they care if they eat homemade cupcakes (or whatever they like. I Don't know what kids like, yet) or market bought cupcakes.
Nice post!

At 2:12 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Jaraad, thanks for weighing in. In fact, it is as much about human nature as mommy-hood. Glad you found it interesting.

At 12:51 AM , Anonymous kinzi said...

I saw that fb idea, and thought it cute, but impractical for me. My first thought, as one like-kitchen challenged and without time to sew for my kids (and bought presents for my friends that I BROKE)much less my dear friends...

my love language is words...and you are a like-pourer of encouragement. Good, affirming, godly, encouraging and practical words are a gift to the hearer, as much as banana bread or a crocheted hanger. Maybe more.

I made a meal for DesertMom yesterday, she received it as GOLD as she knows how inept I am. She, the kitchen queen,was able to receive my humble offering as if gourmet.

You are an AMAZING friend. Gold, a gift beyond value. Your words are like gifts, every day, no special charge needed for you to give them generously profusely, lovingly.

At 11:32 PM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Kinzi, thanks dear. I can imagine DesertMom did receive your gift with joy. What a blessing you are!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home