Are We Looking To The Wrong Mothers For Inspiration?
It’s difficult not to compare yourself to others and as mothers, it’s an almost impossible task. At the school gate, I give other mams the side-eye (not to be confused with side-boob) and admire their makeup, hair and general lack of threadbare leggings.
When on play-dates I envy other people’s kitchens and impossibly organised houses. Social media flouts impeccably groomed, skinny women who grow their own kale while making youtube videos on how to prepare a seafood dish for a toddler in 27 easy steps as inspirational.
I’m tired of feeling less than; I’m doing a multitude of jobs at an approximate 30% success rate and so, in a bid to feel better I have found a group of women whom I can compare myself to and feel like Supermam.
I will always, always look to Lois in Malcolm in the Middle for inspiration. I too am raising a multitude of boys (3.. and the husband!). They need to think that I know and see all. The eejits will confess to any wrongdoings within seconds with a mere eyebrow raise… the power! She is the greatest proponent of mother and is always right… even when she is clearly not.
Another TV mother I admire is Beverly Goldberg from The Goldbergs. She rocks parenting ‘80s style and the kids call her type of parenting s-mothering. A tip I’ve picked up from her is to embarrass my kids into submission… calling them by their pet names in front of friends proves to be a useful tool .. Beverly calls her oldest son delicious in public even though he’s 16.
Friends are the best when you feel you’re failing at parenting and I suggest a Viber/WhatsApp group of your closest so you can photograph disasters involving Sudocrem, wall art or indeed a burnt dinner (that necessitates wine to make it palatable) to laugh over or indeed top with a better story. My cousin and I like to send each other ‘look how shit I look today’ (title may need some work) photos; I could fill albums with grotesque gurning pictures and that’s just Jen, I always look stunning... it’s a curse.
My mother has never given a shit what anyone thinks of her and and like many from her generation has no time for political correctness or soft parenting.
Conversations with her go something like this:
Me: ‘Mam, I’m worried about Conall. He’s getting very cheeky, what could be causing it?
Mam: ‘He needs a bloody good wallop!’
Watch Mommie Dearest, Psycho, 8 Mile, Precious, Carrie and even Home Alone to feel like you are doing a fabulous job in comparison.
Some species kill and indeed eat their own babies. I just read about a mammy sloth that had three babies... ate two and turned her back on the third. I don’t feel so bad for shouting at my kids over their homework or not buying the wireless headphones my nine-year-old has been pleading for so.
I bet you feel much better equipped for raising kids! We have placed the wrong people on parenting pedestals; We need to look down rather than up for inspiration. After a day when I have lost my shit as the kids systematically destroy my house and everything I hold dear (including my sanity) I will think of Joan Crawford and pat myself on the back for not beating them with wire hangers or make them scrub the bathroom floor in the middle of the night.
To be honest Joan, I’m not that houseproud; I’d settle for made beds and Nutella-free faces.
Who are your inspirations? We'd love to hear.