Saturday, May 2, 2009

MA - Mom's Anonymous

Last week, a friend confessed that she loves to read true mom confessions - a place where we can all go to express our anger, fears, screw-ups, and, occasionally, joys.  This seems like a good thing to me - we need a place to go to vent or just see that others think that raising children isn't such a joy all the time.  

Today my mom gave me Anna Quindlen's "Last Word" from this week's Newsweek to read.  It is about parenting and how we all need to stop pretending that being a parent is "easy and intuitive."  She goes on to describe a couple of studies demonstrating that just having parents join a type of parenting support group can actually produce better parenting.  This makes sense, right?  If we keep all of the struggles, fights, and breakdowns to ourselves, they just build up.  As does the guilt.   But, if we talk about how hard parenting is, we will help ourselves, our children, and others.  She called it "AA for mom's:  'Hi, I'm Anna, and I repeatedly ignored demands for juice and then snapped because the whining was driving me insane.'"  Love it!

So, I'm detecting a theme here.  More and more, the conversations I have with friends - close friends that I "confess" things too -  are about how hard being a mom really is.  How it is truly, and insanely, harder than anything else we have done.  And we have all done some pretty amazing things, way (way) back when.  

I recently came across a description of parenting that was both accurate and terrifying.  So, I will share it so you too can nod, agree and then say very loudly - well now what???

"There is no harder job than parenting.  There is no human relationship with such potential for great achievement and awful destructiveness, and despite all the experts who write about it, no one has the slightest idea whether any decision will be right or best or even not-horrible for any particular child.  It is a job that simply cannot be done right."
(excerpted from Orson Scott Card's Ender in Excile, page 300)

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