I’m not exactly a wildebeast, but I have been feeling down lately because I don’t quite fit the “mold” of mommy. The two stereotypes that exist in motherhood, don’t really apply to me.
Mommies are often depicted in two polarities (whether we women like this or not). The at-home side of mothering depicts mothers as bakers, good cooks, crafty, and just a potpourri of home skills. The working mom side depicts moms as the hard-working, career-driven lady who rushes home to make fabulous meals and get the kids’ homework finished with flair and not a bead of sweat. Whether we agree with these stereotypes, they exist. I am not saying I agree with these stereotypes or that other visions of motherhood are not out there, but this is rather prevalent in advertising and conversations. Think of the million and one commercials you see about motherhood. Watch the images and language. These polarities exist still, even though they’re ridiculous and feminism has fought, somewhat, to end it.
For me, I don’t quite fit in.
I am getting better at cooking, but I am not passionate about it. I care about the purity and chemical additives of food. The healthiness of food, but you’re not going to find me swapping recipes. I’m going to steal someone else’s and hope to god no one gets hurts after I make it. I at least make meat fairly juicy, potatoes crispy yet soft, and veggies not too squishy. This is a success.
I cannot bake either. I probably won’t be the mom who brings in these amazing little cookies and stuff that people ooh and aah over…asking for religiously each year.
I cannot sew–wish I knew how. All I can do is organize and clean.
I am the mostly stay-at-home mom who fits nothing of the stereotype the advertisers portray. People talk to me about cooking as if I know what the hell they are talking about.
I don’t. I don’t even bother to nod and smile. I say, I have no idea how to do that.
I feel out of place with these conversations sometimes, and I miss when people spoke to me about literature, teaching, politics, and music.
As far as the working mother “polarity”…
I have a job, but it’s not quite a career. I want to have a career, but I want to be with my kid more. I have this fantastic degree I feel bad I am not using, but every job pays crap, and isn’t worth the price of daycare. My job pays better than some crap job, and I manage to do it so I can be home most of the time, and at least, it is teaching. I am doing something that at the end of the day, means something to me. I care about my students and want them to succeed even if it is not a 40-hour a week job where I can move on up.
I just don’t fit in anywhere and feel pulled in so many directions. I feel like even though my kid is doing great, like I am falling short everywhere.
Since I don’t fit in and fall short of expectations (mostly society’s), I wonder to myself often, what talents, if any, I have to offer my daughter.
I go off the checklist of typical stuff moms are supposed to do well.
I am not the crafty baker or lady who is bringing home the big bucks to save up for the kid’s college future, although hell, who will be able to pay fully for their kids’ college educations other than celebs and rich people?
The only real skills and talent I have to offer are my big mouth and my sense of humor. I’m funny. No kid of mine is going to have some stiff mom who doesn’t know how to laugh. I’m also never going to let my kid get pushed around because I will say something before that happens. That’s it.
I can’t bake. I can’t sew. I am not the PTA mom. I’m not the career woman. I am just a funny gal who happens to like being with her kid…and likes to work for the money, and for the intellectual satisfaction. The independence.
I am probably not good enough, but I am better than bad.
I’m nurturing and kind, and that is better than good too.
I’m open-minded and loving, and that is better than the best.
I guess I am not so bad after all, it just sucks to feel like you never measure up.