Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Cocktail Moms

There is much out and about in blog-land about "Cocktail Moms" lately. Check out this, and this. I think the concept is funny, and true, and in some ways, I hope that I am less Uber-Mom and more Cocktail Mom. But I just can't jump fully on the bandwagon of "Yeah, me too! I'm no Uber-mom! Those Uber-Moms suck! I don't cater to my kids! Go on out and play, you useless brats, be sure to be home before dark, and stop playing at the local sexual offenders house!" (Exaggeration for comedic effect.)

I hate how mothers can be so judgmental. Didn't we just have a whole blog come to Jesus consensus about "Mommy drive-bys"? And didn't we all agree that we shouldn't cast stones, but we should support each other, instead? Yet if you read the comments on these posts, people are practically running over each other to be the first one to bash the Uber-Mom.

Isn't it possible that Uber-mom is not really uber? That maybe she is just having a really good day, kid-wise, and enjoying spending time with him/her at show and tell for once? Or perhaps Uber-Mom had a true Cocktail Mom as a kid, one who was actually abusive with all the drinking and the neglecting, and so Uber-Mom is doing her very best to be sure her own kids don't experience the same sort of trauma? I tend to think that Uber-Mom is doing the best that she can, has her kids' best interests at heart, and would be really shocked to know that others thought she was doing a poor job.

I have been accused of having no opinion before--being so careful avoid judging people that I excuse blatantly bad behavior. So maybe that's what is happening here. More likely, I just hate it when I see anyone being judged, because in my brain, if Sally is judging that mom, then certainly Sally is judging me, too, and hey--I'm doing the best I can here!

I know that Uber-Mom is an exaggeration, as is Cocktail Mom. And I know that in that extreme, both of these Moms are less than exemplary. I agree that kids need a parent, not a friend, that they need time to play and use their imagination, that perhaps giving every child a blue ribbon, whether they win or lose, is not necessarily preparing them for the real world. I also think that drinking a martini while your kid runs wild in the street is not the ideal. I actually like the idea of bolstering my kids' self-esteem, so they won't be 'fraidy cats when they grow up, like their mother.

Like so many other things, the truth lies in the middle. None of us want to be true Uber-Mom, or true Cocktail Mom. We all strive for somewhere in-between, and because we have different tendencies and backgrounds and values, where exactly that in-between spot lies will be different for all of us. Why is that so hard to accept? Just because you lean more towards Cocktail and I lean more towards Uber, does that mean either one of us is wrong?

I get how we all need validation. And being a mom doesn't come with much of that, so maybe the only way we get it is by saying--"Hey, look at her! She's doing it wrong! I don't do that! Therefore, I am a better mom!" I do the same thing. But I want to stop.

I hope this is not coming across like--I am so better than you horrible judgmental people. I just wanted to play devil's advocate for a minute, because the comments seemed to me sort of gang mentality-ish. And I definitely don't think either original poster was being unduly judgmental. The tone of the comments just got to me. People were reacting to the stereotype, of course. My first instinct was the same. That's why I wanted to write about it, to explore why it's so easy to judge other mothers, and to force myself to be smarter than that.

(Of course, I'm not brave enough to say anything about that on the comments page, I just sneak over here and write what I want where there is less chance someone will hate on me.)


You know how you are taking a shower and thinking about the things you read while blogging today, thinking "I should write about that, too", thinking and writing and editing in your head, and then you have a perfectly concise, well-written, descriptive post in your head, so you get out of the shower and into your robe, wrap up your wet hair and sit at the computer, and then what comes out is not at all like what you were thinking in the shower? That is this post.

If only you could be in my head, my pretties, perhaps I would make more sense.


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