Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Good is not a specific enough word, in my opinion.

Good morning's fine.  Good afternoon.  Good day. 


Good job!
That is a really good painting.
What a good boy.
You're a good mom.


I don't like it because there's judgement involved in each one of those sentences. 

"Good job!"
I guess that one's not that big of a deal.  But I did love it when my friend Christina, in the Peace Corps, would write "Top job" on her students' work just to mix it up.  Kind of obscure. And fun.  Top job. It could mean a lot of things. 

But if my child comes to me with a painting and I say that it's "good", it's like I'm judging it.  Wouldn't it be better to say "What a colorful painting." or "I like the details in your painting"? 

I feel like saying that something is "good" implies that it could also be "bad". 

While I'm not immune to saying "You're such a good boy." to Coen. Or "What a good girl." to Lucy.  Or even telling Tad that he's a good husband. I try to be much more elaborate and specific.  I think why do I want to say this? 

If Coen has done something nice for Lucy, then I could say "Coen, that was a really thoughtful and kind thing that you did."
Or if Lucy brings her dishes to the sink without being asked, I could say "Lucy.  What a responsible girl!"
And if Tad is sitting next to me and I feel moved to give him a compliment, I try to think of exactly what it is that is making me, at that moment, think that he's a good partner.  So I might say, "Hey. I really appreciate how you were funny and light this morning when I was in a bad mood. It really cheered me up."  Sometimes I just jump suddenly on his lap and say "ohmigod you are SO attractive to me!"  Kind of obnoxious, but I'm being specific.

That last statement gets me the most

"You're a good mom."

What does that even mean? 

And in this time of negativity and bashing among women, I'd like to avoid judgment of any kind.  Working moms bashing stay-at-home moms and vice-versa. Moms bashing women who chose not to be moms, Women judging other women by how they look or how they dress, full of disdain and venom.  What the hell! 

And among mothers...we all HAVE to know that we're just doing the very best we can with what we have. And what we have is not limited to our work schedules, or incomes, the help we get from our partners (if we even have a partner), the help we get from others, or the disposition and/or abilities of our children.  It is also our own countenance, how much mothering comes naturally to us, how much alone time we need, how easy or how hard it is for us to share our bodies, our minds, our daily energy supplies....  GOOD gracious, it is hard to be a mom.  We all know it.  Right?

I hear mom telling each other that they're good moms.  I see moms looking at the woman yelling at her kid in the grocery store or handing her child an iphone to occupy him while she reads a magazine...and calling her a bad mom.  Maybe we should stop calling that mom good or bad...or judging her at all. 

Truthfully, I only know how to be a mom to Coen and Lucy Kriofske Mainella. That's it.  I don't know how it feels to be another woman, to be the mom to other children.  The best thing I can do is love myself, love my kids and love the other people in my life the best I can. 

Because when we judge other people, there's a part of us judging ourselves.  The part that knows that we've yelled in a grocery store or handed our kids a device.  Or not.  But if we concentrate on being happy with what we do in our own lives and who we are in this crazy world, I think we're not going to worry so much about other people's faults or strengths. 

You're not a good mom.  You're not a bad mom.

I'm not a good mom. I'm not a bad mom.

You're a playful mom or a creative mom or a patient mom or a loving mom. 

We can insert all kind of adjectives about what kind of moms we are.  We're all different.  So should be the words that describe us.  And we're doing the best we can with what we have. 



1 comment:

  1. Amen, sister! Thank you for expressing your thoughts with such eloquence. I love reading your blog. It makes me smile and think.