As we recover from the overly saccharine frilliness that surrounds Mother’s Day – where everyone who has a living mother supposedly tells her how much her sacrifice (of her body, her time, her sanity and her original hair color) meant to him or her, we revert back to the usual state of affairs when it comes to the media’s discussion of modern parenting . . . the one in which the media delights in panicking parents -- about the impact of their every move and how they’re likely negatively affecting their children -- and telling them that they suck as role models, and then giving them marching orders from a cadre of “experts” on how exactly they can do better at this child-rearing thing.
It never fails, that after a couple of weeks of glowing stories and reports about how great Mom is, that we then return to the stories which question the impact of mothers’ employment on children, to “studies” on how mothers can boost their babies’ IQ by committing to 27 hours of quality “floor time” a week while simultaneously breastfeeding said infants until the age at which the children take their first, standardized test in school.
And it’s at about this time of year when I start craving and seeking out alternative forms of media that don’t make me feel like dumbest parent on the planet, that don’t chastise me for unapologetically working instead of spending all my time volunteering in my children’s classrooms and that don’t make me feel selfish for wanting time to myself, time for an adults-only date night and a single day without one of my three children’s sports teams having a game or a practice.
So when I find kindred spirits, people who share my flawed and down-to-earth view on parenting, I get a little giddy. And I develop “Mom Crushes.” The first time I had a Mom Crush was when I stumbled upon fellow Mommy Track’d writer Christie Mellor’s book, “The Three Martini Playdate.” Long story short: During a tension-filled family vacation, I became so frustrated and suffocated by my three children’s behavior, so desirous of a moment of peace away from my darling angels (and guilt-ridden for feeling this way), that I demanded some “me” time apart from the very young whippersnappers who were quite happy to be away from their crabby mother and to be spoiled by their father and grandparents. Then, like the sun unexpectedly appearing in a stormy sky, while browsing in a gift shop I spotted Mellor’s snarky book, which extols the virtues of restrained, reasonable parenting and of being an adult who isn’t completely child-centric 24/7. Smitten, I quickly bought the book and finished reading it by dinner time.