“Mom…That’s not right.”
“What’s not right, honey?” I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was referring to. I was focused instead on getting us across the busy street in one piece.
I backed us both up and followed his gaze in the direction of his pointed finger…all the way to my stomach.
To the approximately one and a half inches of exposed skin.
“I don’t get it.” I asked. “What’s wrong with that?”
“I dunno.” He wouldn’t meet my eyes when he said, “Mothers just don’t do that.”
Hmm…Okaaaay. So show me whatever book that is written in so I can refresh myself with the rules of being a mother. Obviously I had forgotten them.
“Who said mothers don’t do that?” was my reply.
“Well, Jeffrey’s mom doesn’t do that.”
That stung a bit and I got a tad defensive. “Yeah? Well, here’s a newsflash for you, kiddo. I’m not Jeffrey’s mother and I am not like other moms.”
In the silence that followed, I thought about this and quietly rephrased it. Most moms are not like most moms.
It’s hard to live up to the standards and expectations that society has so cruelly branded into our foreheads, and when we deviate, either privately or publicly, we usually end up with an elephant-sized guilt trip riding on our shoulders. We worry what others might think. We wonder if we’re going to be the topic over the next morning’s coffee. Will so-and-so’s mother let our little Johnny play with her son anymore? In a little town like the one I live in, word of deviant behavior travels like wildfire. We might as well be walking around with some big scarlet letter silk-screened on our shirts.
I understand that not every woman has an alter ego kicking and screaming to be heard, and that’s okay. As long as she is happy. Happy is good.
But speaking for myself, I love a great trashy novel, love slamming down shots of tequila, and have been known to drop the F-bomb on a few occasions – but only when no other word in the English language would suffice. Okay, on more than a few occasions. But that’s not the point. The point is that I’d be willing to bet there’s a little bit of wildness to some degree in all of us women, mother or not.
In an earlier blog I spoke about trying to be someone I wasn’t – the perfect example of the wife and mother – and it killed me. So I loosened up a little and stopped trying to be so perfect. I mean, how bad can it really be when even the Queen Mother will toss back a beer?
I can’t be wrong on this because there are a minimum of 4000+ women who have embraced their wild and aggressive side and made it more than okay to be that way. A close friend of mine has created a Facebook page for women, mostly mothers, to vent their frustrations and generally blast apart whatever is annoying them at the moment. It’s not a place for the easily offended, because it gets totally real, totally raw. The page is called Give Me A Valium With My Latte. Reading the threads usually has me laughing out loud and/or shaking my head in amazement. These women say what I can only think, and I consider myself a fairly outspoken person. Here is where it all hangs out.
Facebook harbors a community of like-minded women who feed off of each other’s boldness and use it to fuel the smoldering fire within them. Other fabulous mommy pages on Facebook are The Brazen Apron, Maybe It’s NOT Me, Maybe It Is You, Epic Mommy Fails, and Reality With A Twist Of Lime.
Keep this in mind – Just because we allow ourselves to dance the line between the expected and the unexpected, doesn’t mean we don’t love our families or fail to put them at the top of the priority list. It’s just that we agree to share that space with them. As it should be.
So how about you (men included)? Do you tend to play down certain characteristics out of fear of disapproval? Is cutting loose ever an option for you? Do you allow yourself to be truly you? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you!