The “Good Mother” Myth

Have just been reading Bad Mother, in which Ayelet Waldman laments the glorification of the “good mother”, who, she admits is in no way like herself or any of her friends. A “good mother” is patient, calm, placid, baking, does crafts and puts her children first. I tried to imagine what it would be like to have a mother like that, as she’s completely unlike my mother, who ricocheted through my life, fizzing with ideas and a passion for books. How DULL.

Which made me wonder, is a “good mother” actually not particularly good for children? We all try so hard to be her and have such guilt for failing, but do children need more than a “good mother”? Do they need someone with passion and interests that lead the child out of the nursery to glimpse a greater world? Do they need someone whose temperament is not the same every day, but who tries to respond to life honestly and with their whole self?

My mother was not a “good mother” and at times I have bitterly complained, but when I asked myself who I would be without her, I saw what she had given me. An ability to see the drama and pathos in others’ lives; a passion for thinking things out, making patterns and seeing beyond the box. An understanding of good and evil and the presentation of a world beyond the humdrum. Exhausting, alarming, but dull, she never was.

About UntraveledRoads

Fascinated by life, looking for answers to chronic pain and finding unexpected gifts. Interested in people, ideas, healing and humour. I am very happily married with three children and a kitten. As English born immigrants to Canada, we have family spread overseas, a daughter in South Africa and one in England. We also run a charity in South Africa to educate black, rural South African Women. Our first girl from a rural township has just graduated as an accountant from Johannesburg University and got a good job in a bank.
This entry was posted in books that caught my mind, Ideas and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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