When Time magazine issued the challenge “Are You Mom Enough?” on its cover on in May 2012, all I could do was groan. Sure, I followed the controversy, the outrage, the discussions of attachment parenting and, as a writer, I even appreciate the need for a catchy headline to spark a wildfire of discussion.
Frankly, though, all the talk about being “mom enough” for this and “mom enough” for that made me glad I decided a long time ago that being a good enough mom was enough for me.
I don’t pass the “mom enough” test under the scrutiny of mothers like Circle of Moms member Jolene R. who says, “I have to say I don't understand why some people have that ‘it's good enough’ mentality when it comes to their children!?” But I’m fine with that. I know that my kids are better for my lack of focused “momming” — and so am I.
In his book, Beautiful Boy, journalist David Scheff talks about this “mom enough” phenomenon in terms of parents in general. “We are among the first generation of self-conscious parents,” he states. Calling attention to the fact that "parent" has spawned a new verb, one that expresses the focus with which we are understood to do our jobs are parents now, he writes, “Before us people had kids. We parent.”
What Does it Take to Be a Good Mom?
While just having kids may not be enough to qualify you as a good parent, I think mom Isobel is showing she is one, simply by worrying enough to ask, “what does it take to be a good mom?”
While many mothers told her that love and the ability to feed and clothe your child is enough, Amanda P. sets the bar much higher. She agreed that “unconditional love” is part of it, but she also says:
“[Moms] also have to love to color, can sit through a cartoon of the child's choice, they have to be able to crawl through teeny tiny kid-sized tunnels. They have to love chicken nuggets and french fries! They need to enjoy bubblebaths and wet floors! They must enjoy laundry as well as smudged walls and dirty floors. They need to touch up on their basic school subjects for homework time, and they need to memorize nursery rhymes! I think that's what makes a good mom!”
A Minimalist Mom
By those standards, I’m a complete failure as a mother. If my children have clean clothes and their hair is combed, I consider it a job well done. Well, perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but the truth is, I’m a minimalist when it comes to motherhood.
After school activities? If you want to do them, do them. If not, find something creative to do at home. Play dates? I don’t schedule them. My kids play with other kids in the park and hang out with their friends. Bake sales? Sure, I’ll help out, but if I have a deadline, I may end up buying cookies instead of baking them.
As an autism mom, I’m a reluctant bear, but as a mom in general, I’m more of a life-raft parent than one of the helicopter variety. If my kids get in over their heads, I’d jump in a minute to help them, but I’m not going to pre-solve their problems for them.
It's a Matter of Principles (and Energy!)
Some of it is the fact that I think parenting today is so much more complicated than it used to be and ought to be, but the bottom line is I don’t have the energy to be “mom enough.”
It’s a decision that hasn't always been guilt-free, but one that has kept our household semi-sane. Because, among other things, it has allowed me meet some of the things member Tara K. lists as making a good mom, including:
- Having balance
- Being a woman as well as a mom
- Being confident in your own abilities
- Love for self
Of course, I still secretly wonder whether or not my children would better off if were just a little more “mom enough,” but the answer doesn't matter. This is the mom I am and if that’s not “mom enough,” than I am proud to call myself a “good enough” mom.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.