Every few months, someone draws a comparison
between moms and animals. Did the so-called Tiger
Mom take her cues from actual tigers? My son is semi-obsessed with documentaries about animals (which
has really increased my knowledge base), and I’m fairly certain tiger cubs
leave their moms somewhere between 24 to 30 months. Unless the tiger mom shoved her kids out
the door at age 2, she’s not a very good tiger.
But I digress.
We hear about Tiger Moms, Elephant Moms and Dolphin
Dads. Incidentally, why do dads get
the playful name? I play with my kids
every single day (thank you very much). If I have to be compared to an animal, I want the dolphin. Also, if we’re being honest, male dolphins
take off after mating. Females stay with
the pod and do the playing. Males move between pods. So there goes that theory.
I love a good parenting laugh, and Terri Rupar’s description
of the Sloth Mom in the
Washington Post definitely gave me a chuckle. “She doesn’t sign
her kids up for all the weekend classes and events, because she doesn’t know
about them and, well, it’s the weekend,” writes Rupar. “Sloth Mom is proud if, when the family
leaves the house, everyone is wearing two shoes and two socks.” I would like to add that the socks don’t even
need to match.
While I enjoyed envisioning the
Sloth Mom, it got me thinking: Why the constant comparisons to animals? Are we doing ourselves any favors by
trying to defend parenting choices based on vaguely similar parenting
behaviors in the wild? Do we really need
to scour the Internet for cute clips of animal moms interacting with their
young to make ourselves feel good? Is
this what parenting has become?
Instead of searching the animal kingdom to prove ourselves, why can’t we just focus on the wonderful things we do as humans every single day?
As maddening and overwhelming as
the never-ending list of parenting theories can feel, this little trend is a bit more upsetting. This trend
is so clearly wrapped up in judgment and low self-esteem, and yet it continues
to thrive. "I’m the best at parenting
because I’m a playful dolphin, a caring elephant, or a tiger who really gets
results." Enough of that.
Human moms are extraordinary
creatures. Instead of searching the
animal kingdom to prove ourselves, why can’t we just focus on the wonderful
things we do as humans every single day?
Human moms are capable of so
many things. Human moms can carry 700 pounds (give or take) of kid necessities on one arm, while wrangling two half-dressed
kids into car seats and drinking a coffee. All just to get to school on time.
Human moms provide unconditional love and
support, pick kids up when they fall, kiss (approximately) 400 skinned knees a day and do most (if not all) of the hunting and gathering while playing
multiple rounds of Candyland.
help friends in need, volunteer at school, coach a team or two and relearn
math (thanks, Common Core) while holding down a job. Human moms are kind, adventurous, playful,
intelligent, patient and empathic.
But best of all? Human moms are all different.
We all have different strengths,
different values and different styles. We can all learn from one another and lend a hand when a fellow mom is
in need. We all have something wonderful
Ups and downs will happen throughout this parenting gig; it’s how we choose to handle them that really matters.
To know me is to know that I
would never survive in the wild. Seriously, I don’t even camp. But
to know me is to know that I’m doing it my way, and my way works for my kids. They are happy, healthy and full of love and
compassion. They are sweet, kind and
empathic. Is every day a winner? Of course not. But that’s just life. We all have struggles, and all of our
struggles our unique to our situations.
Ups and downs will happen
throughout this parenting gig; it’s how we choose to handle them that really
matters. And that begins with taking
back our confidence. We can do this,
mamas, we really can. But we have to
step back from the obsessive chatter and titles if we really want to thrive.
Stop looking to the animal
kingdom for backup. You might have good
days and bad days, but chances are you are doing just fine with this parenting
gig. Probably much better than you even