"This wouldn't be happening if you were a better mother."
Like most parents, I've heard some variation of this phrase, usually after I've suffered a toddler mutiny and I'm already feeling downtrodden. I get asked about my little slogan, too. Why would I want to admit that I'm an inferior parent?
Let me tell you: I'm not inferior. I'm just not perfect. And that's why I'm DELIGHTED that my favorite moms are taking back the "better mother smackdown" phrase for humorous use on each other.
Did the kids spill an entire gallon of milk on the floor? If you were a better mom...
Do your kids disagree? If you were a better mom...
Does your child refuse all food except cereal? If you were a better mom...
Baby have colic? If you were a better mom...
Hah! It's like the reclaiming of "b*tch" without the hip-hop flava.
I could go on for days and days about the mama friends I've made on the internet. In the dark, early morning hours of brand new motherhood, I turned to the internet, obsessively looking for information about baby development, nursing, and parenting techniques. It was during a fortuitous surfing session that I stumbled into a just-launched, mother-owned site that sold nursing clothes.
They only had a few dresses at the time, but I loved the owner's sass and her assertion that moms didn't have to be frumpy. Since April of 1999, I have participated in that site's discussion boards. Over the years, I have made some deep, sister-like connections, and consider these women to be kindred spirits and true friends.
The discussion board regulars could not only pick my kids out of a line up, they would know what to feed them, how to make them laugh and which stain removal product to use to clean up after them. We have celebrated births and mourned miscarriages. We have supported one another through difficult times, and have become a tightly woven posse.
The inside jokes, the familiarity, the ongoing stories that we share... it's sustained me and helped me become a skilled mother. Through our shared experiences, we have taught one another that there is no 'perfect' or 'ideal' in parenting. It's remained a safe harbor, where even the silliest questions are treated with respect and differing opinions are valued.
Several years ago, one of the regulars found a vintage bed jacket and sent it to one of our pregnant moms-to-be. Now each subsequent birth has been celebrated with a photo in the bed jacket, with a tiara. Before the jacket is passed on, mama and baby's name and date are written inside. Several of our number have already worn the jacket twice!
Anyway, I got off on a tangent here. I loves me some internet parents. We know how to keep it real.