One of our daughters told me about something happening at her school last week that she wanted my wife and me to attend.
I relayed the message on to my wife, noting I had a conflict at work. She did too, and she knew our daughter would be disappointed.
Then she added, “I’m just a failure as a mom,” something I hear too often from her and other mothers I know.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day, let’s try to look at a modern mother’s life with a bit of realism. The perfect mother is an impossible myth.
It’s impossible to have it all. You can’t have a rewarding full-time career, keep a spotless home, be a doting mother who attends every event, makes delicious cookies on a moment’s notice and still have a little time to grow as a person and enjoy life.
It’s especially unrealistic when compared to the expectations of your typical father.
By most accounts, I’m a decent dad. My kids even tell me so. I’m at the majority of their events. I know their friends, and their friends know me. We can talk about almost anything that’s come up so far.
Yet no one, my children especially, would ever demand me to bake cookies for an event the following day. We shouldn’t give the smoke detector that kind of a workout. When I’m minding our four kids by myself for a few hours, we’re happy when our house doesn’t look like a war-torn country.
Every one of my children prefers seeing their mom when they’re hurt physically or emotionally. I don’t blame them; I turn to her in those same circumstances.
Frankly, the expectation for most fathers is to make sure you have the same number of kids at the end of the day as at the beginning — no more, no less.
We’re living in a modern society where a man and a woman with the same skill level should get paid the same in the workplace. Yet we still don’t expect the same perfection out of both mom and dad.
Yes, men should absolutely step up and do as much as they can to support their wives and the mother of their children. But women should give themselves a break too.
So what if you’re not June Cleaver? We only saw what she did for 30 minutes a week. We don’t know how her kitchen looked the remainder of that week. Everyone’s home looks better when you know you have company coming.
It’s unfair to expect so much out of yourselves, mothers of the world.
I greatly prefer a home that looks lived in and loved in than one that’s perfectly spotless.
After hearing my wife give herself a failing grade on her mothering skills, I asked our 10-year-old and 11-year-old what grade they’d give their mother. They landed on “A-plus infinity,” the highest grade they could imagine.
Their logic was sound: She listens to them. She helps them with their problems. She loves them.
What more could a child want on Mother’s Day than her very own mother to realize she’s not failing, she’s acing it with an “A-plus infinity”?