You moms put a lot of pressure on yourselves – and each other – about your parenting skills.
There’s the stuff that comes up day to day. Such as when you’re 15 minutes late picking up children and their friends from the 48th after-school activity of the week and they complain about having to wait the whole way home, and the whole time you just want to pull the minivan over and tell them exactly what you go through daily trying to be Supermommy.
Then there’s the modern mom’s social media life. Sites such as Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram are like being in a continuous mommying contest: Who can be craftiest? Who can provide the most one-of-a-kind experience for their little darlings? Whose years of effort have produced the best achievers?
All contestants in the mommying contest get to have their parenting choices judged by a panel of other moms.
(Dad social media is way different from mom social media, incidentally. Mine is mostly about sports, news, people’s wildlife pictures and drunk-uncle types posting things like “the ding-dang liberals are gonna let girls in the Boy Scouts now!” Way less pressure.)
Here’s my message to moms on Mother’s Day, especially those of you in the trenches raising rugrats right now: You can all win the mommying contest, even if everything is not perfect and even if there is a pile of laundry 5-feet high sitting in your house right this minute.
Your kids are going to grow up and they’re going to love you. All the day-to-day things that you feel as if you could have done better – they’re not going to remember it when they grow up. Or they’ll remember it differently from what you think they will.
Even the big stuff – they’ll forgive you.
I know this from experience. I lost my own mother 10 years ago today. In 2008, May 12 was the day after Mother’s Day.
When I think of my mom today – and I think of her often – I don’t recall times that she made me angry or disappointed me.
I think about things she taught me. I think about how much I wish I could have another conversation with her, to show her how big her granddaughters are now, including the one she never met. I’d like to show her who I have become in the past decade.
While I wish mom and I could have had more time together, I know she did her best, she did a great job, and I’m grateful I got to tell her how important she was to me.
You moms are super important, but don’t hold yourselves to impossibly high standards.
It’s about being there, not being perfect.
• Eric Olson is general manager of the Daily Chronicle. Reach him at 815-756-4841 ext. 2257, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @DC_Editor.