Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Stepford Freak

I never really post on Sundays, but I had to make a comment about something that happened late last night. In a private message someone sent me a link to a public Facebook Status and added some commentary that basically said "take a hint". Originally, I had shrugged it off, but I came home from church services I saw tons of people sharing and reposting the same status:
I may lose some friends over this post but here it goes: watching my son fall asleep earlier tonight I reflected on the disappointment I sometimes feel that I may never be the mom that makes cake pops for every holiday or hand crafts his Halloween costumes. . .. I can build a mean fort out of twine, sheets and 3m hooks and make an impressive Smurf city out of Legos but when he was a baby I did not feed him homemade organic baby food and sometimes wonder if he will be as healthy as the kids who's mothers did.
I have a friend who feels like a "bad mom" because she didn't send out Christmas Cards this year and another who is opening a new profit center for her business venture and feels "guilty"that she had to buy cookies at the store instead of hand making them for her son's school Christmas party.

Here is my point:
I'm Afraid that the pinterest era is turning us into wanna be Stepford freaks....I have friends who are pregnant with their first child and they are more overwhelmed with decisions like what kind of diapers the "best moms" buy than the things that will actually matter.
As mothers, the measures I believe we should judge ourselves on are actually simple: its not the size or "pinterest-worthiness" of their first birthday cake. It's the amount of unconditional love and affection we give to our children, the values and confidence we instill in them, the quality of the time we spend with them, the examples we set for them in our actions as their role models.....this to me includes how we treat others, the way we treat ourselves, the appreciation we show for family AND our demonstrated work ethic (whether its cleaning the kitchen, volunteering, or working on your next business plan) and lastly AND MOST IMPORTANTLY the effort we put into developing their faith in GOD. If this post makes even one fb mom think twice about beating herself up because she bought the cheaper brand of diapers tonight at Walmart; then it was completely worth posting what has officially been the longest fb status I have ever written.
While I do believe we do need to instill in the next generation morals/values, love, responsibility, respect, and work ethic, my issue comes with the blame placed on Pinterest and the linkage of first time mother's overwhelming decisions to a site. I disagree with the original poster's basic premise that we would all be better mothers to our children if we stopped looking at Pinterest, stopped worrying about sending out Christmas Cards and stopped wanting to make homemade treats for our kids.

I am one of those "Stepford Freaks" she mentions. I make Berkeley's lunch before he leaves for work, send out Christmas Cards, Thank You Cards and even Just Because Cards, buy gifts for people, bake treats for Berkeley and his co-workers, keep track of our social schedule, and most nights I have dinner at least started by the time he comes home. And these were all things I did before we were married and before Pinterest was ever invented.

I feel guilty if I do not send someone a Thank You card. Why? Because it is polite and respectful to A) let someone know you received the gift and B) you appreciate the thought and effort. I get upset with myself when we don't send out Christmas Cards (this started in college). Why? Because I have a tight knit family that I ended up moving 12 hours away from for college. A family that I love and do not get to see so often especially on the holidays, so I choose to send a small piece of love to them this time of year. Lastly, I love baking cookies and cakes, and brownies and treats. Why? Because I love baking! Most times, I have to force Berkeley to take these things to work with him. I strive to do these things because I WANT TO. These are things that make me happy. I do not do these things because Pinterest is subconsciously telling me I need to do so to be a better wife/mom.

When I become pregnant with our first child, you better believe I am going to compare diapering and food choices. Why? Because it is financially and morally responsible to weigh all of our options. Do I think I have to feed my kids vegan food puree? Not necessarily. But we, as women, take note of what we put in our bodies when we breast feed, why should that concern stop when the baby starts eating more solid foods? If I can provide more nutritious options at a fraction of the price of pre-jarred food, of course I am going to go for it!

Most of all, I hope to continue doing these types of things when we have children. My drive to provide these types of things for my family is not from comparing myself to internet strangers. It is not because I feel some need to do everything I see on Pinterest. It is because I have a great mom. My mother raised 4 kids and took in 4 other kids. She taught us morals/values, made breakfast/lunch/dinner, baked for school events, chaperoned school trips and still found time to do what she liked/wanted to do, like crafts and going back to school and get a degree. Me being a "stepford freak" is comes from a drive to be the kind of mother my mom was to me not because of Pinterest.

The bottom line is, if I can be half as awesome to my kids as my mom was to me, I will consider myself a great mom. If Pinterest sparks imagination, gives me recipe ideas, or shows me a healthier/cheaper alternative to try to help be a great role model to my kids, then great! My views, likes, dislikes and actions are different from every other woman's. I am not saying they should be like me. Nor am I saying that what works for me should work for every family out there, it shouldn't. But no one should say that I will a poor mother/wife/role model if I choose to use Pinterest to make vegan homemade baby food for my cloth diapered infant while also baking nut/sugar/gluten/dairy free cookies for my toddler's preschool class and filling out handmade Thank You Cards.

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