The other day I read this article called The tyranny of the Bad Mother
Suddenly I felt the rush to write down something as well because it is something I have felt over those last years. Which side do I belong to? Do I want to be a Perfect Mum? Of course not. Motherhood has been such a shiver that I have realized long ago that this was not for me. But then, do I want to be referred to as a Bad Mum? No way..it is not because I am not perfect that I am a bad mom. It is not because I need my own space as a Woman that I should be referred to as a Bad Mom.
There are 2 main books I usually recommend on maternity: Bad Mum by Ayalet Waldman…and La fatigue emotionelle et physique des meres: burn out maternel de Violaine Gueritault … Both are true and clear.
Ayalet launched the concept of Bad Mum…Now time has passed and the phenomenon of Bad Mums has gone out of hands according to me.
At the time, I loved her genuine and real way of putting things on paper in order to make real mums feel…real and avoiding the tremendous guilt feeling (see a post on Guilt feeling) so common between New mothers.
I still love the fact that by launching the Bad Mums movement, we are aiming at taking distance and in a way putting some humor to such a heavy topic. And I am convinced that this honest feeling is still behind most of the initiatives. But for me there are quite a lot of “dangers” attached to this phenomenon too.
What are the dangers of the Bad mums’ phenomenon?
- Possible manipulation by Medias: the initial concept got manipulated on the way. Bad Mums (and Dads) have become a marketing target. Sometimes it even feels like you have to be a Bad Mum and shout it to the world, otherwise you are just not cool enough.
- Overviewing important topics behind motherhood: I am personally concerned about the very dull way of putting things together and talking so superficially about deep issues sometimes. I know it is great to laugh about situations and take distance: even the expression Bad Mom aims at doing this. But let’s not forget that becoming a Mother is something that for some us is dramatic. With the spectrum of Post Partum depression ( see post Depression)I am therefore fighting this image every single day with myself and my surroundings. This is the reason why I created the FreeMother part of TFMP.
- Creating a new pressure of no belonging feeling? What about if I don’t want to be a Bad Mum? Does it mean I automatically go back to the Perfect Mum’s side? Should I feel the same as those Bad Mums? Or I am free to belong to “nowhere”?
For me, the challenge is the following: What can we do so that the Bad Mum movement does not become a new jail for mothers? Where is the freedom now? Do we have to choose between being a Perfect Mum or a Bad Mum? Is there anything in the middle? I am truly convinced that freedom in Motherhood means the following: it is alright to be any kind of Mum, don’t try to belong to any type, just be the Mum you feel you have to be and decide the best for you and your kids. What do you think?