I'll show up at every classroom open house and teacher conference,' she said, now in a voice that was almost frightening in its intensity. 'I'll bake brownies. My child will have new clothes. Her shoes will fit. She'll get her shots, and she'll get her braces. We'll start a college fund next week. I'll tell her I love her every damn day.' If that wasn't a great plan for being a good mother, I couldn't imagine what a better one could be
I think my mother taught me what not to do. She put us first, always, sometimes to the detriment of herself. She encouraged me not to do that. She'd say being a good mother isn't all about sacrificing; it's really investing and putting yourself higher on your priority list.
And that's the insult of it, how always it comes back to a woman being a "good" mother in the world's eyes or a "bad" mother, how everything in a woman's life is funneled through her body between her legs.
The attempt to be an ideal parent, that is, to behave correctly toward the child, to raise her correctly, not to give to little ortoo much, is in essence an attempt to be the ideal child--well behaved and dutiful--of one's own parents. But as a result of these efforts the needs of the child go unnoticed. I cannot listen to my child with empathy if I am inwardly preoccupied with being a good mother; I cannot be open to what she is telling me.