for me, parenthood begins not after a child is born, but the moment of conception. we begin to nurture the child with our best hopes and dreams while they’re in the womb. and because there is no cut and dry method to raising a child, and it’s another human being we are speaking of, there is always that great fear of the unknown and the greater fear of failing.
we often hear and read about this. being a parent, having a baby is the most wonderful miracle, experience in the world. but if you haven’t slept a wink for months, haven’t had a decent bath or pampering since the baby’s born, can’t figure out what will make your child stop howling or breaking in fits of uncontrollable tantrum, it becomes soo hard to see the wonderful in all of the miracle. and the only miracle you see is if you can ever fit back on your pre-pregnancy clothes.
so when i chanced upon this Scary Mommy Manifesto, i couldn’t agree more! i plan to buy the book and laugh in empathy and recollection of the good, the bad and the ugly truth with being a parent or a mommy.
Scary Mommy Manifesto
by Jill Smokler
Please solemnly recite the following before proceeding:
- I shall maintain a sense of humor about all things motherhood, for without it, I recognize that I may end up institutionalized. Or, at the very least, completely miserable.
This is something I realized too late. Humor is key to parenting survival. Kids have fun when we too have fun with ourselves.
- I shall not judge the mother in the grocery store who, upon entering, hits the candy aisle and doles out M&Ms to her screaming toddler. It is simply a survival mechanism.
I personally am one of those who gets affected if another parent does something I think is not right. But then the same way all kids are unique, all parents have different styles/strategies too. It’s not a walk in the part to be a parent, though we do often stroll in the park, so give us some slack. 🙂
- I shall not compete with the mother who effortlessly bakes from scratch, purees her own baby food, or fashions breathtaking costumes from tissue paper. Motherhood is not a competition. The only ones who lose are the ones who race the fastest.
If I had the skills, the time, the creativity, I would love to be a mother like that. So kudos to those who can! 🙂
- I shall shoot the parents of the screaming newborn on the airplane looks of compassion rather than resentment. I am fortunate to be able to ditch the kid upon landing. They, however, are not.
This is so true. Now that my kids are bigger, I can relax more. But more importantly, as a mother, I won’t feel guilty or ashamed that my baby or child is doing lung exercise because it’s a way for them to communicate to me their needs while they still can’t speak.
- I shall never ask any woman whether she is, in fact, expecting. Ever.
Some feels entitled to ask anyone anything. Not to intentionally offend anyone, but well meaning as they are, we should practice tact and sensitivity as not all are blessed with kids yet, and some are actually struggling to conceive.
- I shall not question the mother who is wearing the same yoga pants, flip-flops and t-shirt she wore to school pickup the day before. She has good reason.
Haha. Soo relate. Being fashionable is the last of a mother’s concern. Mothers/parents are really jugglers. We have kids, partners, house, work to attend to. And in the goal to prioritize our family, we at times, fore go the less important stuff. It’s keeping to your priorities and striking a balance.
- I shall never claim to know everything about any child but my own. (Who still remains a mystery to me.)
Sometimes, because I’ve read so many books, websites about parenting and even attended workshops, that I may appear cocky and a know-it-all. Am not, and far from it. I just love sharing what I’ve learned. I do listen to others’ stories as I may pick up some applicable stuff that I can use. 🙂
- I shall hold the new babies belonging to friends and family, so they may shower and nap, which is all any new mother really wants.
I am cautious on this since babies are delicate human beings. Maybe if I am close to the parents of the baby I will be confident to assist. Otherwise, not until asked.
- I shall attempt to not pass down my own messed up body issues to my daughter. She deserves a mother who loves and respects herself; stretch marks, cellulite and all.
Esteem issues can make or break a child’s upbringing. The people they mostly trust are their parents. If they see insecure parents, it can rub on to the child and may in a similar manner think poorly of him/herself. Maybe impart the values, not the issues.
- I shall not preach the benefits of breastfeeding or circumcision or home schooling or organic food or co-sleeping or crying it out to a fellow mother who has not asked my opinion. It’s none of my damn business.
Parenting as I said varies on what works for each parent/child, given the premise that each child is unique. This also goes for all unsolicited advice. Give it only if asked, otherwise it’s called intrusion.
- I shall try my hardest to never say never, for I just may end up with a loud-mouthed, bikini clad, water gun shooting toddler of my very own.
- I shall remember that no mother is perfect and my children will thrive because, and sometimes even in spite, of me.
This is us believing in the own power and potential of our children. At some point, they have to do it on their own. Parenting is a parent-child relationship. Teamwork. Family is a form of team. As imperfect parents are, it’s still a learning opportunity for children. So to parents, learn to forgive yourselves too. 🙂
Excerpted from “Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood: The Good, The Bad, and the Scary” by Jill Smokler. Published by Gallery Books.