A Pretty Good Mom.

by Vicki Larson


Poor moms. Oh, sure, we recently had our “big day,” filled with handmade cards, flowers, home-baked muffins served in bed and a mani/pedi. OK, I didn’t, but some moms did. Still, my two teenagers graciously allowed me to take them to brunch (the older one kicked in a few bucks). I don’t make a big fuss over the day, but I felt honored that they wanted to be seen in public with me.


Kids are tough on moms, but, as it turns out, we moms are even worse on ourselves.


This is a confusing time for moms. First we had the Supermom, then the Mommy Wars (and I can’t tell if we’re still in them, experiencing a truce or whether the relative quiet is just the calm before the storm); the simultaneous adulation and condemnation of single motherhood; and, now, the rise of the Bad Mother.


We’ve all called ourselves “bad mother” one time or another, says Ayelet Waldman in her just-released book, "Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace.” In our mothers’ days, moms were basically either good or neglectful— a few managed to be better than good. Nowadays, moms who grew up believing that we can do it and be it all are, instead, beating ourselves up for feeling like a failure in everything:


“If you work, you’re neglectful; if you stay home, you’re smothering. If you discipline, you’re buying them a spot on the shrink’s couch; if you let them run wild, they will be into drugs by seventh grade. If you buy organic, you’re spending their college fund; if you don’t, you’re risking all sorts of allergies and illnesses,” she says.


Moms are so crippled by their guilt and unreasonable expectations, she says, that we don’t even celebrate the truly joyous moments of motherhood. And, it’s stressing us out — not to mention what it’s doing to our marriages.
If we’re still married, that is.