A Facebook friend recently posted an update, prefacing the post with an apology for being “that” mom, and then proceeded to explain her daughter’s immune system and how she was going to be extra diligent in protecting her infant from exposure to and the possible transmission of germs. It made me consider how many times I had jokingly referred to myself as “that” mom and did so apologetically.
But why should we apologize for being “that” mom? Why can’t we just be “mom”? To whom are we apologizing? The answer is probably a little disconcerting. My guess is, we’re apologizing to other moms. Sorry, but, if you don’t have kids, I don’t care what you think about raising kids. Period. Unless of course you’re Jesus.
Being a mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I somehow do everything the hard way, so that’s saying something. I became a mom as a 33 year old, fully grown (or at least as fully grown as I am capable) woman. I think this “advanced maternal age” (a medically defined delineation), prepared me to deal with the opinions of what others think about my parenting decisions, but I’m not totally immune.
My mom taught me a very valuable lesson that used to drive me nuts, but I find is incredibly effective and succinct:
Get over it.
As her child growing up, I found it a little inconsiderate, but even, and perhaps especially, your kids have to be lumped into the crowd that do not get an opinion about how you raise your kids (especially since they’re cross referenced in those who don’t have them). Of course, now that I do have kids her advice to me is still the same when I lament how she might have done better. In the lack of abuse and neglect, if you have an opinion that thrusts me into the category of “that” mom, and I don’t validate or empower it, get over it.
I’m protecting my child, not you, you narcissistic pain in my ass.
You see, when a woman becomes a mother, she gets a target painted on her back, typically by other mothers and by a few passersby who are just bored. The thing is, most moms are just doing the best they can. So, before you label another mom as “that” mom, consider whether that target on your back has recently throbbed with a direct hit or there is dust on your hands from the last stone you cast. I dust my hands off more often than I care to admit, so this is advice I’m heeding myself. I don’t want to be “that” mom.