8.04.2005

the inevitable guilt of being unable to meet the impossible expectations of perfecting motherhood weighs heavily on me. heavier at some times than at others, but always there, a lead on my heart. my heart knows how important it is that i not let my sons watch tv or that they eat the best foods or that i not yell and remain always emotionally responsive to their needs and their feelings. i read books about how i should birth or nurse or discipline (or not); about how i should school or support my own emotional sanity with a well-balanced outlook and my own interests. but i always fall short of the mark. i am forever indebted to perfection, struggling to merely stay afloat, let alone not yell or turn off the television or serve nutritious snacks. i birth at home, breastfeed, cloth diaper, co-sleep, stay at home, don't vaccinate or circumcise, provide creative, open-ended, natural-made toys, eat mostly organic, whole, vegetarian foods, try very hard to be responsive and gently guide rather than discipline punitively...and yet i am still so far from what i envision and i feel always at fault despite lacking a support network or real encouragement in these endeavors. why shouldn't blame fall also on a society that doesn't value children or the work of mothers, a government that allows gross over-marketing to children, and a culture that encourages finding short-cuts to every encounter with pain or discomfort? why don't fathers share in the blame or at least partially shoulder the guilt? why do i have to worry about perchlorate in my milk or even milk in my milk? why is there so much goddamn information yet no clear answers? i am bombarded with data about what is good or right or best that i have to somehow navigate and find a way to feel secure in my decisions despite being alone in this sea of ideas. and i must prop up my own self-confidence with the assuredness i gain when making decisions about what is good and what is best. the only way i've found to really accomplish this is to be self-righteous about it. it's what i encounter in other mothers all the time as well. it is no wonder there are "mommy wars." we all blame ourselves, so why not blame each other? we face an impossible time trying to get society to shoulder the blame or to affect any change in the world. getting the world to unlearn it's preconceptions about the work of mothering may be the biggest challenge yet and may be the first step to changing everything else.

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