Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mothers Against Martyrdom

I'm a good mom. I really am. I spend time with my kids, teach them good manners, set appropriate boundaries and limits, follow up with consistent discipline, try with all my might to feed them nutritious foods, and most importantly, I give them loads of love and affection. So why is it that when my four year old asks me to be "Sharpay" to her "Gabriella" and I refuse in favor of reading the latest issue of People, I feel guilty?

I used to play make-believe games with my older daughter when she was little. In fact, I played pretty much whatever she wanted to play. But I finally got to a point when I realized I hate playing make-believe -- it's just not my thing. I'm not good at it, I dread it and it makes me resent being a mom.

Is that so wrong? There are plenty of things we suffer through as moms for the sake of our kids. Like the playdate with the kid of the mom you don't really like, but you suck it up and call her anyway so your kid can choose his/her own friends. Or the birthday party of a kid you don't know where you stand around for two hours with a bunch of strangers and pretend you're having fun when you'd really rather be home doing the laundry, doing the dishes or really ANYTHING else, but that. So why should I do things I hate when I actually have a choice?

A couple of years ago, I read (and kept) a wonderful article in Newsweek titled,"Meet the Slacker Mom," about Muffy Mead-Ferro's book, "Confessions of a Slacker Mom," in which she urges moms to lighten up, lower their standards and give themselves a break. “We’ve raised the bar too high on parenting,” Mead-Ferro told Newsweek, “And squeezed out all the fun. Someone has to say, ‘Stop the Madness'.”

Although I never read her book, I love Muffy Mead-Ferro and the Newsweek article alone hooked me on her philosophy. There's no reason we have to be perfect -- hyper parenting benefits no one. Unfortunately, nothing much has changed since 2005 when Newsweek published its article and Mead-Ferro her book. But I for one, am taking a stand, at least in my own home and refuse to suffer through make-believe, Barbie doll playing or anything else I don't like to do. And I'm going to allow myself the guilty pleasure of reading a magazine while my children entertain themselves once in a while.

I say let's all take a stand -- NO MORE MOMMY MARTYRS!!! It might just lead to a better, more contented existence for moms everywhere. Anyone with me?

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