Mommy Isn’t Perfect and That’s Okay

My mom is my best friend, and as I think back to her experiences and journey of bringing up my sister and I, I feel an incredible amount of gratitude. As a female, I want to someday be a mom and follow in the footsteps of my mother as not only a role model but a pillar of strength for my children. While I often fear that I will one day struggle in being an extraordinary mother, I realize that the perfect mother does not, and should not, exist. No, I do not have any children of my own yet, however I am able to recognize the expectations placed on mothers and believe that these judgments and expectations should not be routinely upheld within our society. As for men, it is essential to be aware of the perfect mother phenomenon because their mothers, wives, future wives, and/or daughters are subject to the constant pressures associated with motherhood.

The perfect mom must juggle every aspect within their life such as their appearance, their children, and many other duties.

Conflicting Expectations

Every single person makes mistakes, and a mother is no different than any other human being. Mothers bring children into this world, to love, to teach, and to guide through the lives that they are given. The expectations placed on mothers are often times incompatible. An article on the Huffington Post states ironic comments regarding motherhood and its’ duties, such as, “A good mother never puts her career before her children; she also doesn’t ever slack at work… A good mother always puts her partner first, except when she values her children above everything.” Combine these extremely high and incongruent beliefs that mothers must rise to, and the idea of the complete mother is impossible to obtain.

Being a Good Enough Mother

I care about motherhood expectations because one day I will acquire the title and will have to juggle the important aspects within my life, including my children, my husband, and my work. Whether you will have to take on the same roles as I, or if you have a mother or mother figure within your life, it must be understood that mothers do the best they can, when they can. The perfect mother is not real, however a good enough mother is, meaning that they have and accept flaws, and they do the best that they can given the situation.

Along the same lines, an article located on PBS Parent stated that while the perfect mother is expected by others, if a child was raised by a perfect mother, would that child truly be prepared for the world? The world is a far from perfect place, and it will not always provide someone to constantly cook, clean, and provide for you.

The New Momism

Mothers such as Carol Brady, from the Brady Bunch and Tami Taylor, from Friday Night Lights are among the mothers who are found to be the most perfect within TV history. Carol Brady took care of 6 children, while also having free time to herself, and Tami Taylor, simultaneously handled the upbringing of her two daughters, and was the principal of a high school, all while looking flawless. The phrase new momism is introduced within the book, “Mommy Myth.” The construct new momism refers to the perfect mother, meaning being the caregiver who provides ultimate attention and care to her children by cooking, cleaning, helping and supervising. With that being said, new momism demands much from mothers including providing their children with the necessary materials to help promote the complete development of their kids.

Tami Taylor with her baby, Gracie Taylor from Friday Night Lights

Tami Taylor with her baby, Gracie Taylor from Friday Night Lights

Perfection is Not Reality

The pressures of motherhood are high, and due to the new momism, the perfect mother is thought to exist, when in reality, no person is entirely perfect. It is essential to remember that being a mother is a difficult task, however each mother does the best she can, despite the millions of reasons others including the media, say she is a poor mother. While motherhood is a feminine aspect of life, these expectations have the potential to fall upon men as well, due to their wives and daughters. Everyone has a mother or a mother figure in his or her life, so thank the woman who loved you unconditionally, provided for you, and nourished you the best that she could. The perfect mother does not exist, however the love a mother has for her children should.

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What You Need to Succeed

At the Fall Career and Graduate School Fair I talked with many different individuals about life after college. One company representative that really stuck out to me was an individual from Northwestern Mutual. He saw that I was a Communication Studies major and talked about the internship opportunities that were available within the company. This representative spoke about the importance of being friendly, approachable and having the ability to communicate with others, including coworkers and clients. He assured me that Communication Studies is a very important area of study. He stated that within his company the Business majors can teach business all they want, but those who are truly successful are the ones who can speak to others and apply communication practices. Those individuals who have experience in communicating and understanding the way people react and interpret language are very useful to companies and the professional world. He believed that the ability to communicate effectively was essential to succeeding in life. He also spoke about the importance of being able to work within a team setting.

Hearing that this representative believed Communication Studies to be a valuable major, was something that made me feel very content with my field of study. It is often overlooked that being able to speak and communicate with people is essential to daily life. Ultimately, this representative believed that effective communication is an important ability to possess and will help individuals achieve success in life. After all, communication is key.

In addition, I spoke to a Graduate School representative from Longwood. She also agreed that communication was vital to succeeding in life. She told me that communication skills greatly enhance our world and that if one cannot communicate they may struggle with everyday tasks. She also urged that organizational skills and listening skills are incredibly important to individuals in life as well as in the professional world.

While I am learning to better my communication with individuals through my major, I am confident that once out of college I will be able to successfully and appropriately communicate with professionals. I believe I am working towards that mission as a student and I am aware that there are many other skills that are essential to succeeding after college. Learning to listen effectively, having the ability to be organized and be team oriented are very important as well. Listening works in tandem with communicating because listening is needed to effectively communicate. In addition, if one cannot work within a team setting and can only work individually, that can end up hurting the group as a whole.

The Significance of Story Time

Storytelling is essential to an organization because telling a story is an easy way to tell the history of that specific organization. One of my affiliations at Longwood University is my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. Organizational stories play a huge role in new members fitting in to an organization, especially my sorority, due to historical significance. The history of Alpha Delta Pi, is vital to understanding and appreciating the sorority. Each sister hears the traditional, historic stories of our founding sisters who created our organization in 1851 and ultimately our sisterhood. We are able to connect with each other in understanding the importance and sacredness of our rituals and the bond that we share.

The history of an organization helps to mold the culture. My sorority telling stories of our history, is able to shape the way our members think about the organization and the values that we all hold today, due to the organization. The culture of Alpha Delta Pi, thanks to the stories each member heard about our founders, helps us to construct the reality of our organization and the way in which we carry on as a group.

Also, in Alpha Delta Pi, we share stories about ourselves. We tell stories about our lives, our problems, occurrences that have happened to us, etc. Through the stories that are told by members, new members can feel apart of our inner circle, and understand the women that we are, and what we stand for. Also, rules can be identified through specific stories. Say a member tells a story about going to Standards Council, which is the equivalent to Longwood’s Conduct Board. This story will help a new member understand that the type of behavior displayed in the story a member told them, is looked down upon within the culture of Alpha Delta Pi. Through this story, the construction of the organizational reality will accumulate, as she understands what is allowed, and what is unacceptable to the sisterhood.

The stories of an organization and of each individual member helps to shape the culture and reality of that specific organization. Storytelling can help a member feel included, and to help a new member remember what is important and what is morally right to the organization. Through stories of a sorority’s history, and stories of the members within it, a new member is able to construct their view of the group that they have joined.

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