Parental stereotypes exist.
To prove it, close your eyes, picture a backyard and someone is grilling burgers. They say, “Man, these babies look good!” and cracks open a beer. Are you picturing a dad or a mom? It is safe to say, you are picturing a father. Now picture a person who is cooking dinner, helping the second-grader with their math at the kitchen table, and yelling, “Your favorite blue shirt is in the dryer!” Are you picturing a mother? Yup! Dads are known for being the ulterior disciplinarians, the laid-back ones, the parent who lets you stay up late and eat cheese crackers for breakfast. Moms are the organized ones, the strict ones, the reminders, and the ones who can see you stealing cookies while facing the other direction. While each family has a different dynamic, and gender roles are constantly being blurred, the roles that mothers and fathers fall into are still traditional.
Mothers come off as tough because they carry so much weight from uncertainty. Are we doing enough; are we doing too much; are we doing the right thing; will our kids resent what we have done? These are a few of the constant plaguing questions mothers face. It does not help that society mom-shames for everything. What the kids eat, what they didn’t eat, how well they are doing in school, how clean the house is…even when there is a healthy, two-parent household, for some reason, mothers are always blamed for any shortcomings.
It is time to change the narrative.
It is time to take the “chill pill” that is so often used in the Dad Handbook. Dads are viewed as being flexible while mothers are rigid. It is time for us to let our hair down. Let us be a little more fun, adaptable, and easy-going. The mental stress that mothers place on themselves is astounding. No one has a “how-to” guide for being a good mother but if our children are happy and healthy, we have done a wonderful job. Bottom line: let us give ourselves the credit we deserve and stop sweating the small stuff!
Let us take notes from fathers everywhere and just be happy about being present. This is not to say that fathers do not carry their own anxiety, because they do. This is simply to say: mothers need to appreciate their efforts and realize their potential. Recognizing their endeavors, understanding the work they put in is not in vain and is treasured by their family – even when it is not verbalized. Who cares if the kids ate two of the five food groups or they spent the day in their pajamas? What is the harm if the dishes did not get washed and put away? We should accept imperfection, praise our efforts, relinquish the stress of the unknown, and be present in the moment.