What is this something that prevents me and so many mothers from believing that they can pursue joy free from the strangleholds of domestic life?
I believe it is an impossible, internally imposed, standard of motherly conduct that precludes the common sense actions we need to take care of our own well-being. (A standard which men don’t share, and of which single women may not yet be aware.) To make an analogy, we impose on ourselves the maternal equivalent of a 38D bust, a 24 inch waist and the body mass index of a supermodel. In other words, we've got the maternal equivalent of eating disorder.
Having sat with this for a few days, on Sunday afternoon I grabbed a page from the green kitchen pad and wrote was for me a new manifesto of healthy mothering:
- I will never yell again.
- Nothing is "that" important.
- I am no longer responsible for everyone’s feelings - or their futures.
- I will only say things once.
- The children clean up with their parents.
- Hungry children must ask nicely for food or go to their rooms until they can.