30%– Why All Us Moms Deserve a Huge Pat On Our Backs (i.e., a 90 Minute Massage)




  It’s spring.  Temperatures are rising, trees are exploding in technicolor glory, and flowers are wafting with sweetness.

We’ve opened our windows to enjoy the natural ventilation. And I’m terrified my children are going to fall out of said open windows.

What the crap is wrong with me?

I proudly named my baby blog, Momaste, back in the day with the idea I would write about becoming a mindful, Buddhist mother in this hectic workaday culture.

So, how’s THAT goin’ for ya’, Charlotte?  My snarky brain wonders.

Sure, I did write some posts inspired by Pema Chodron, hero of compassionate loving-kindness, and seriously, I’ve learned a lot along the way.  But in all honesty, it would feel a lot less fraudulent on my part if I had named dear old bloggy, Mama’s Ramblings About Being An Anxious Mess.  

But that just seems kind of cumbersome.

Isn’t as cute, and doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely as, “Momaste!  The Mom in me bows to the Mom in you!” You get the picture.

Anyway, I think Pema would tell me that it is okay to be an anxious mess and to be scared of coyotes attacking my kids or having them fall out of our deliciously ventilated home.  Being an anxious mess and being mindful and being a decent person/mom/social worker/wife aren’t all mutually exclusive.  And so forth.  (And yes, I do fancy myself to be on first name basis with Pema Chodron. . .  but I digress.)

I have a colleague who says it is a researched fact that as a mom you only have to be “good enough” 30% of the time and your kid will turn out okay.  I’m cereal you guys.  30%.  This is like empirical-evidence-based shit.

Thirty fucking percent.

I don’t know about you, but this fact makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief.

I’d like to think, even, that more often than not, I’m actually giving it more than 30%.  I bet you are too.  Even on that day I almost popped a vocal cord screaming at the kids because my last nerve was frayed from their fighting with one another, I can honestly say the whole rest of the day I gave it about 63%.

I don’t suppose any of us get up in the morning and set our bar at 30%.  In fact, I’d wager that on any given day we set our bars way higher.  Maybe we set them unrealistically high and then beat ourselves up a bit when we feel like we have not met our quotas for Awesome-Mommyness.

Being a mom is so much harder than I ever dreamed it possibly would be.  Being mindful is great, and then it is also really exhausting because sometimes I just want things to go my freaking way without having to breathe and accept every unanticipated, unwieldy, noisy, messy snafu.

My children mystify me with their glimmering complexities. They are my own creations I grew in my own tummy, and yet they are totally their own people. They mystify me most of all for having chosen me for their mom. 

I wonder if I’ll ever know what I’m doing. I wonder if I’ll ever do them justice. 

I try pretty hard. 

Sometimes I lose my temper.  Sometimes I am too tired to sing one more song or read one more story. Sometimes I cop out on nutrition and go through a drive through.  Sometimes I want to drive to the beach by myself, or go to a bookstore by myself, or spend money on a mani-pedi and Bare Mineral cosmetics rather than buying organic groceries.

I worry so much about my children.  Sometimes the worries are grounded in reality–  like, why does Jack do the stuff he does, or why is my three year old daughter already coveting another child’s hair?  Other times, my anxiety is just hovering around me like a hot air balloon, distracting my periphery with shadows and making me think there are dangers lurking that will reach out and snatch at my babies.  

Don’t even get me started on the fear that a rabid bat will bite them in their sleep. 

I was expressing my worry to my colleague the other day, and she said, “Don’t worry.  There is nothing you can do by worrying anyway.  It’ll all be fine.”

“Yeah, but,” I said, “That right there is my worry!  That I should be doing something else, something more, something different to make life better for my kids.”

“You’re doing just wonderfully,” she said, adding the bit about the 30%.

And you know what?  For a moment, I believed her.  I mean she is an expert in this early child development stuff.  Come to think of it, so am I. . . PLUS, I am the expert on my own children.    

So why the heck am I always so insecure about my mothering?

It’s just about time to celebrate Mother’s Day.  I have mixed feelings every year about this Hallmark holiday.  This year, whatever the day brings (which will probably be chaotic as I manage my own brood and obligations to celebrate my own mother and mother in law), I plan to remember how awesome I am, even when things feel overwhelming or frustrating.

This will be my gift to myself.  It might not be a 90 minute, full-body massage, but it really is a treasure.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day, doing whatever it is you do.  Celebrate you and revel in that sweet, sweet 30% that you have met and exceeded on so many occasions.  Because, really, you’re doing awesome.  Keep that shit up.

We are all the experts on our own children, even when it might not feel that way.

And even though my blog is the ramblings of an anxious mess most of the time, the mom in me really does bow to and honor the mom in you.  Momaste.


(I’ll get you the reference for that 30% citation at some point. . .  but I’m tired at the mo, and only have about 27% to give to this post. . . xoxoxo… )

3 responses »

  1. Charlotte. I hope you got to enjoy Mother’s Day. It’s always great to read about how you’re doing. Nobody’s ever mindful all the time, at least not most of us. Thank you for your honesty.

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