June Cleaver and Playboy: Our air-brushed ideals of motherhood

“What kind of mother do you want to be?” she asks. Not me, another she.

I hate this question. It’s in cahoots with: What kind of person do you want to be?

Well…thanks for asking…I want to be fit, successful, bright, well-read, tidy, organized, sexy, assertive, giving, open, fair-minded, strong, emotional (but not too emotional) and fiscally responsible…oh and spiritual—like super-mediator yoga-ass spiritual all the way.

Well (thank God), I’m not.

We know that ideas about women’s bodies are influenced by our history and environment: size double zero models, plastic surgery, airbrushing. So as are our ideas about the ideal person are based on our personal and cultural history.

So where do our ideas of the idyllic parent originate?

Hmm….I am guessing some combination of June Cleaver and Playboy.

I want to be the kind of mother who lays her baby down to sleep with a wink and a whisper and a quiet slip out of the room, who has three batches of wooden toys rotating weekly, who cares about the pretty-making things, who washes the floor out of respect for herself instead of (what she imagines are) her friend’s expectations of cleanliness, who raised a salad-loving two year old.

But I am not the mother that I want to be. I am the mother that I am, with the child that I have.

Denying who we are is suffering. Complete acceptance of who we are, without judgement and ideas, well, my friend, that is enlightenment.

I am a mother whose baby wouldn’t sleep for two years, who is still tired, who stays up too late writing regardless, whose home security system is the fact the living room already looks ransacked, who shoves yams into her son while he is distracted with cartoons, who is unsure.

I am also a mother who is Big Love. Luscious weirdness. Boundaried. Bright. Free. Fun. Full. Intuitive. Accepting. Relaxed.

So, what kind of mother do I want to be, lady? Who cares.

Because the mother that I am, is not the mother I want to be. She doesn’t exist. And thank God, because the mother I idealize is without struggle or change. She’s a constructed beauty. A bud that doesn’t grow and struggle out of the compost, doesn’t bloom. A plant that never changes is one thing: plastic.

I love this woman whose house isn’t perfect, who is happy to be wearing clean underpants never mind sexy ones, even the woman who wants to be different than she is. I love her just as she is with all her wanting and all her less and more.

“….Unconditional self-love. And where there’s love there’s no fear, and where there’s no fear there’s no anger. Hypnotize yourself into that relationship with your self-love. Self love has no conditions, it’s right now.” ~Gurmukh

Click, close your eyes, open your heart….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSbEp6raK4s

P.S. Thank you to the idyllic ranting mothers who made me mad and inspired this post. The word is full of juicy compost. I am grateful.


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