Skip to content

February 2009

In Defense of Motherhood: Because Apparently I’m Under Attack

I’m a bad mother. I don’t beat my children, I don’t neglect them; they aren’t particularly indulged nor are they coddled. According to the latest research, I’m a bad mother.

The University of Whosiewhatsis has a brand new research study declaring that mothers who [fill in the blank] raise children who [fill in the blank]. I would quote the study for you, but I’m really quite busy with Little League, book club, homework, cooking and volleyball. I’m too busy raising my children to spend an inordinate amount of time reading about my multiple failures as a mother. You however, Mr. Masters of Public Humiliation (MPH), seem to have a lot of time on your hands.

It’s open season on motherhood, and I, for one, am tired of it. I understand that there are books to sell, and advertisers who want to see a splash, but I’m opting out. I have ten years of expertise on child rearing and I’ve come to a very important realization. I know the secret of motherhood.

We love our children.

We don’t love our children like we love our parents, our girlfriends or our husbands. We love our children with a passion, a reverence, and a depth that only another mother can comprehend. If we adopt, plan, are surprised by, or implant our babies, they come to us helpless, unable to even control their heads and an instinct takes over that allows us to perform superhuman feats in order to nurture our babies.

Sometimes getting dinner on the table is superhuman. The fact that I can create a meal that includes less than four canned goods, one organic something green and less than a cup of salt, is often nothing short of miraculous.

When my mother was pregnant there was one book. Dr. Spock had an all inclusive “how to” book, but what he preached in the 1970’s was listening to your baby and to your own voice. In the last decade or so there has a tremendous amount of research regarding infancy, toddlerhood and the school aged years. Mothers everywhere are being told that their every instinct is wrong.

It’s not wrong.

If your baby is crying and you want to pick your baby up, please pick him up.
If your baby is crying at night and you think you want to let them cry it out, please do.
If your baby is crying at night and you’d like to nurse him, please do.
If your toddler is pitching a fit on the floor of the mall and you want to wait it out, good for you.
When your daughter sucks her thumb it’s because she can comfort herself.
When your son wears his Halloween costume in May I am hopeful and entertained.
When you use the child care at the gym, skip the workout and sit in the sauna, you are still a good mother.

I know child development. I know it from an academic lens, and I know it from the expert lens. The expert lens is Mommy-hood, there is little about a laboratory that makes you expert at parenting. The only expert on your child is you. When I see you holding your child, either in your arms or in your gaze, I know that you, Mom and Dad, are the only experts in your home.

Guess what? We’re all doing it wrong. Because we’re all doing it our
own way, and it’s not always going to match the way you think it works
best. And just like pretty much all of life, we’ll get there somehow.
Thanks for sharing your opinion. Glad you got that off your chest.
Chris Brogan (not a Mom)