This is something I've been contending with for a while, now.One of my mother's favorites has always been the above saying, something like "We never had much money, but you were always tidy and had clean faces!", and something akin to (while walking to church when we were kids) "Together! Get up here! We are not a bunch of heathens!"
I remember these experiences. I remember thinking as a child...."What IS a heathen? What is so bad about a heathen? They must be awful people and perhaps I am in danger of becoming one of them!" Maybe I am a heathen. Am I? Am I raising heathens if I don't hold all of my Mothers standards in cleanliness and conformity? Sometimes I find myself thinking...."Man, what a loud, tacky, misbehaved, unruly bunch of kids I have." Then I start to feel guilty about all the things I am doing "wrong" as a Mother and hope that they will all turn out alright, anyway.
Until....... a certain person posted these thoughts on her blog. My thoughts have been given a pathway to expression. Deep down inside, I have always known that these ideas that were planted in my head so long ago are simply......MYTHS.
......................Love and devotion (excellent Mamahood) are judged by certain factors. Cleanliness, manners - quietness in church and sit-still ability in restaurants are all Tell Tale signs of a Good Mother. Tis a hard thing to admit -in vulnerable moments- that (sigh) mine probably don't have it. These words from my dear sister have helped me to discover a liberating truth and I will forever be in her debt.
Since I have read this post, I feel like I have been given "permission" to let my kids have dirty faces, build forts on the front yard for all of the neighbors to see, be seen in public with messy hair, wear jeans with holes in the knees and even go to the store with mismatched clothes. I did these things before, but always had that myth haunting me that I wasn't a good Mom if I allowed these things. Now I feel differently. I am also looking forward to recognizing and dispelling other myths that I consciously or unconsciously believe.
Thank You, Stephanie. From the bottom of my heart. You have taught me so much.