"I thought I knew everything and was not shy about pointing out to others what they were doing wrong." American writer Pamela Valentine shares her story of condemnation and insight. Yes, for a long time she was the perfect mother, and then…
Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit it now, but it was in my life. In the encyclopedia, in the article “judgmental mother” there should have been my photograph, so I professed the standard intransigence and correctness. "I would never let my child argue with the elders!" I was like that. Her Honor Judge Convicting. I had an opinion on almost everything.
- Do you want to give birth with painkillers? Weakling!
- Do you find it hard to breastfeed and are switching your baby to formula? Loafer.
- Did your child not start school at four? Well, well, mine didn't work either, I forgive you here.
- And I would grind my teeth if I heard someone potty train their baby before 18 months. This was supposed to be the victory of only one child in the world, mine!
It was a real problem, I condemned every mother I met in my life. And it's not about how they look, I've never really cared about that. On the contrary, I was proud that I was such a good mother that I had no time to take care of myself.
I started preparing for the role of the perfect mom long before the birth. How will we give birth? Of course, only natural childbirth, and no painkillers. I hired a special trainer and a midwife to give birth at home. Then, answering questions about why I complicated everything so much, I condescendingly allowed myself to throw: “Well, you don’t understand, this is the best thing that can happen in life!”
God, I confess all this and start to hate myself. My eldest started talking at one year and reading at two. I kindly explained to mothers I knew that their child could develop better if they gave him enough time. It is clear that they did not pay.
After three happy arrogant years, my bubble burst. My son started arguing with me, throwing tantrums and stopped listening. How many times before have I looked at moms with crying babies in supermarkets and shrugged my shoulders: “Well, were you smart enough to drag a roaring baby to the store?” How many times have I rolled my eyes at other people's children crawling under the doors of the fitting room? Well, mommy, you need to control your child!
Now I had a screaming baby in my arms. Falling flat on the floor and screaming as if he was being cut - right in the middle of the trading floor. A kid running around the shelves in the store and dropping packs of cereal from the shelves. My own child, hissing at me like a wild goose. Hitting and biting me when he didn't get what he wanted.
I took my monster to the car, fastened it tight, and rushed back to the store to buy at least something of the planned. I was gone no more than ten minutes, and the window in the car was ajar. And it wasn't a hot day, honestly.
I needed a break. I needed to rest. I needed someone to comfort me and tell me I'm fine.
I so wanted to return to my fairy tale again, in which I lived before. For me to feel like a perfect mother with a perfect child again in this imperfect world!
No one came and brought me back to the fairy tale. And then I gave up. I became a snarky mother. I admitted that in raising children, no one managed to do without screaming, resentment, and even anger at their child. That it can be ugly, wild and dirty.
That parenting is such a thing that everyone is great at it, and at the same time everyone makes mistakes with their own children. Don't let anyone tell you it's "no big deal".
And if you meet a flawless mother who gives advice left and right, don't be offended by her. She just didn't get the point yet.
21st century women: their sex, marriage, love, motherhood and themselves