There is so much talk about being the perfect parent. If you are not giving your kid sky-diving lessons by the time they’re 7, then you must somehow be failing as a parent. Those who are not teaching their kids Chinese or Arabic at 4-years old should really be receiving a visit from social services.
So as I prepared my 8-year old’s aruchat eser I gave a little chuckle. Wow I really did become one of those mums who gives chocolate spread on white bread no less. Wrapped in a plastic bag I righteously added a non-organic, non-washed cucumber to the box and closed it up ready for the morning.
What happened to giving my child organically-grown, fresh produce with non-genetically modified protein and a carrot sliced into the shape of a petal every day? Where was the nutrition in this meal? How could I expect to not be called a ‘bad’ mummy when sending my kid of to school with this kind of food?
And then it occurred to me that it MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE right now what I give my kid to eat. I’m not advocating bad nutrition here or not trying to give your child opportunities through which he or she could personally thrive. Neither am I advocating not helping your kid excel at school and have a good social life. But I am advocating getting a bit of a grip.
What kind of reality do we live in these days in Israel? I could ask the same for any country actually. Because much as we think we do, life is unpredictable. Much as those parents in the UK or US think they know exactly where their kids are and what kind of people are with them 24/7 they are mistaken. It is just that in Israel, right now, it feels more pronounced as we see our very own friends’ kids (less than 0.1 degree of separation here) not return home due to the vile act of terrorism.
So right now when we’re witnessing and living through this reality of terror on every street corner, a potential stabbing at our local grocery store, the thought of the car with the Arab numberplate next to us in the driving lane deciding to ram into our car and take the lives of our innocent family, let’s think again about what kind of parent we really are.
Because here’s what I’m thinking: being a bad mummy is not about how many extra curricular opportunities you offer your child, or what type of food you give them, or even if they are up-to-date on the latest Nike shoe fashion, it’s just about being there.
Being there is a tremendous gift. One we don’t know we’re going to get every single consecutive day. One that the Arabs are making us realize every minute of every terrorist act is not a given (although we really should know that for ourselves). I therefore purport that being a bad mummy is taking the whole mummy thing for granted in the first place and spending way too much time worrying about lessons in Chinese and organic almond butter spread.
Because at the end of the day motherhood is a gift. And the only bad mummys out there are the ones who can’t see that.