12 May 2010
Fuck mediocrity
A lot of stuff has dropped on my head the past two days. Separately, any one of them would be a bummer but all together... It kind of proved too much for me.

I kinda broke down this afternoon. (Don't worry, this is no sappy-poor me post.)

The word that kept pounding in my head was mediocrity. That I'm a mediocre mother, a mediocre housewife, mediocre in my attempts to re-join the workforce. A mediocre writer.

But you know what? Fuck that. Mediocre can lay down and die. And if it won't be so polite, I'm going to kick it into submission. I'll stomp it with steel-toe boots, if that's what it takes.

I'm not psycho. I know I can't be awesome at everything. So here's what I've chosen:

I'm going to be an awesome mom. Whatever it takes. I'm already a good mom but I'm going to power into the strata.

And I'm going to be an awesome writer. Practice and craft and dedication and determination. Above all, determination.

I WILL do this.


Blogger Ann Marie Gamble said...

A friend of mine said her primary childhood memory of her mother was of her vacuuming. HA--my kids will never have that problem. Yes time, is limited, but when you know what you want, it's much easier to keep your actions moving you toward it. Hugs after a tough day and woo hoo for renewed purpose!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kiddo tells me I do a good job at the mom thing. She also tells me when I'm not doing a good job at the mom thing -- which says to me that I did an awesome job at it over all, even if I'm failing in that instance.

I'll find the reference eventually, but there's a theory proposing that in general, in the optimal size of a human community (the way we lived for centuries past), everyone was the best (or nearly the best, or learning from the best) at least at one thing necessary for the community to run smoothly. We're programmed, biologically, to want to be awesome at something. Now (says the theory), many of us live in a low-grade depression in this new world of glorified outliers and mass-information that puts us into direct competition with 'the best' from around the world.

It really is okay to want to be awesome. I think a lot of girls especially are raised to avoid that goal. I also think that feminism (or the version of it that finally filtered down) made us reject a lot of the things we could easily be awesome at doing.

As you explore your quest for awesome momness, you may want to narrow down your goals. You can be a 'good enough' cook, but an awesome maker of Halloween costumes and science experiments (I suggest checking out Instructables.com). Or, a 'good enough' housekeeper, but an awesome gardener. Being a mom covers a lot of stuff. Pick and choose.

I do think that being an awesome conversationalist is an important skill for being a good mom, though. Talking is the lifeboat to the Titanic that is the teenage years.

Blogger LorelieLong said...

Ann Marie - Thanks, hun.

Anah - I don't think my problem lately has been fear of being awesome. I think it's been expecting myself to be awesome at everything. Supermom syndrome. I'm going to try to free myself of that - the expectation that now that I'm home all the time, my place *ought* to be show-room pretty and beating myself up if it's not.

When I say I want to be an awesome mom, I mean just that. Good at the talking and hugs and letting them know they're loved and making sure I'm raising good people. Not so much the housekeeper/cook implications that the position seems to hold so often.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to know. :) Yes, I totally agree that you have to sort those things out -- where being a mom stops and where being a housekeeper ends. Sadly, if I weren't actually disabled, I'd be one of those people who conflated the two. I did before I got sick. I think the focus on the kids and the writing is right on.

Blogger Patti Ann Colt said...

Sounds like you already took the first step - deciding what to focus on. Would it help you to know you aren't alone? That you aren't the only one to struggle with exactly these issues? Yep, get in line.

I live constantly with the Better Homes and Gardens syndrome - gotta make my house look like a glossy magazine picture. Ha! Toddlers and school-age kids don't understand that concept and guess what - they don't care. FlyLady.net. That's where I finally went - follow her cleaning strategy and learn to say - it's good enough. Huge help for me. Took all the pressure off alot of the rest of my life.

Love your idea to be an extraordinary mom with hugs, kisses, and time. That's exactly what they will remember. Love your awesome writer goals. These things matter. The rest doesn't.

And really determination is all we both need. Hugs!

Blogger Kelly McCrady said...

I'm with you on this. When I find myself saying "oh, uh-huh" in the pauses of my child's speech while my attention is elsewhere, I kick myself with those big shiny pointed-toe boots--that disconnect from the conversation is what MY mother does and I dislike it immensely. Do that to my own child? Bad mommy! I have five more years to practice doing it right before teenager hits...

You've tackled the hard part--recognizing what you want to focus on to be a better mom. Down the road, your boys will choose the oddest things to remember about your interactions. Make sure the choices available are positive things and awesomeMom title will be yours.

And forgive yourself if you fall down once in a while. No one is perfect.

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