So I get a lovely email from a fellow blogger: would I do an interview for another blog, on, drum roll please… Super Women? What me? (cue feigned embarrassment)… Why of course…I know a thing or two about that… me, Mrs cake baking, contributing editor, nature table crafting, freelance writer… I AM the essence of Super Woman…
And so I splurge forth my musings on how wonderfully I achieve being me… which I do, actually achieve it, quite wonderfully (though I’d be a bit lame at being you!) And, here’s the point: I’m not sure how much help it’d be for anyone, because you’d make a pretty lousy me! But I was asked, and you can read it on Give an Earthly .
And then the parenting gods struck me down: “Ha! Super Woman, are you? Take that!” – a reprise of the chesty cough and dizzy hot shivers! “And that!”: two whingey girls with the same! “And that!”: waking half hourly with the baby! “And some icing on your domestic goddess cake?”: a really, really messy shit hole of a house and unexpected visitors! “Call yourself Super Woman? Ha, mortal!”
I hastily composed a grovelling addendum to my smug interview:
“On reflection, trying to be a Super Woman is precisely my problem! And whilst it’s nice to be recognised for what we do and achieve, how we live is far more important. Although most things I do come from my own inner drive, and are often reflective and spiritual, I spend far more time than is healthy in doing, rather than being. This comes at a cost: to my mindfulness, to domestic order and to my own health.
I think the most important thing any person can do is to know themselves and try to find balance amongst the various strands of themselves. And for a woman to know her cycles and her energy levels and work to these rather than against herself. This is absolutely what I try to do. But most often I fail on the balance front – I do too much and then burn out. In our culture this is seen as a good thing… but really it’s a form of ego driven insanity.”
So it was with great interest I received a review copy of Good Enough is the New Perfect, a book launched today, based on interviews with 100 working mothers. It is about as far from Radical Homemakers as one can get in tone: the mothers featured are all doctors and lawyers and urban corporate types who talk of choosing between 30 nannies and their over-scheduled, over-stressed and high-achieving lives. But still, it had many interesting insights which I identified with.
Their chapter, The New Mommy Wars, is extremely pertinent, observing that the conflict has moved beyond stay-at-home and working mums, now that the boundaries between these are extremely blurred. Instead women struggle with the multitude of possibilities open to them, and the challenge of choosing the “right” answers… “Who am I? Am I doing this right?” Each mother’s life looks different, because each chooses to put the jigsaw together a little differently based on her own unique priorities, meaning that most are feeling alone in their choices, and unsure if she is “doing it right”. The greatest toll of this battle is that we often “forget that what is good enough for someone else, is not good enough for us.” Our only guide is a composite of the “good mom” or “Super Woman”, a cut-and-pasted version of everyone’s best bits that we compare ourselves to and find ourselves failing… (for more on this see my post on Comparative Mothering). This is where the idea of the Good Enough mother comes in…
So what of the Good Enough mother?
She knows when to say “I Quit!”
She knows she doesn’t have to be the best at everything
She stops looking for external approval
And learns to tune into her own inner voice
And remains true to her own definitions of success
She learns to see the “bigger picture view”
She knows that individual choices are less important than her overall record.
I wholeheartedly agree.
So you, dear mother…I shall leave you with some more of their pithy mama wisdom which rang true for me :
*You can do anything – that doesn’t mean you have to do everything!
*Your sacrifices should reflect your priorities.
*If you give up something just because it’s hard right now, you may be missing the bigger picture.
*Be willing to decide.
*Balance isn’t about having perfect harmony each day.
*There are a lot of right ways of being a “good enough” mom.
So off with you, and may you be “good enough” for you, on your path, in your life, to your kids today.