A Wholehearted Salute to the Imperfect Mom! (Yeah, That Would Be All of Us, and What’s It to Ya?)
For Mother’s Day this year, I want to celebrate moms in the spirit of Anne Taintor. You probably know who she is, even if you don’t recognize the name. Her work shows up on cocktail napkins and fridge magnets. As the copy says, she’s been busy “making smart people smile since 1985”.
I think the essence of why Taintor makes women guffaw out loud, is the way she plays in the gap between the image of the idealized, perfect woman of the ’50s and ’60s (think Mad Men), all smiley, sweet, decorous and pleasing, and the reality of what’s really going on in her head.
And, as much as things have changed for women, this gap is still alive and well. That’s why those napkins still crack us up.
So for this Mothers Day, in the spirit of Anne Taintor’s badass humor, I suggest all moms start by forgiving themselves their imperfections. Yeah, just take a break from the critique that’s likely running in your head, serving as subtext to whatever you’re doing front and center.
To that end, please allow me to wholeheartedly salute the imperfect mom, and applaud some of the ways we all fall short – let’s just think of it as an antidote to shame over our failings, shall we?
I salute all moms who lost it and yelled at their kids in the grocery store, to the horror of onlookers;
I salute the moms who, last minute, slapped together a really crappy family dinner that nobody wanted to eat;
I salute the moms whose kids have been going to school in outgrown jackets with dangling buttons because they have yet to find time to shop;
I salute all moms who are so preoccupied with work, they didn’t notice their kid was upset;
I salute the moms who let their kids run amok because they have trouble seeing themselves as the Person in Charge;
I salute all anxious moms, helicopter moms, controlling moms, annoying moms!
Because you know what? There’s an 80% likelihood it’s not as bad as you think, and it’s going to turn out okay.
So cut yourself some slack. Do the best you can. That’s probably good enough. And happy Mother’s Day!