So when the whole "bad mom" thing became trendy on the Internet, I wasn't about to jump on that bandwagon. I want to be the best parent that I can be and I didn't like the trend that I was seeing towards increasingly outrageous bragging confessions from moms about how "bad" they had been. Talking about our rough days -- sure, that makes sense. But bragging about them? Not my cup of tea.
So when everyone was debating and discussing the whole bad mom thing, I came up with a Typology of the Bad Mother, looking at all the types of bad mothers that exist. Ultimately, I concluded that:
I’m going to reserve the term “bad mother” for those that are truly abusive or neglectful. That isn’t to say that I’m lining up to give “mother of the year” awards to every other type I’ve described, but I don’t think that it is helpful for me or anyone else to label someone as a bad mother if they are doing their best. Instead I think we should stop glamourizing “bad”, we should offer a helping hand to those that are struggling, we should be confident in our own parenting, and we should continue to think about how we could improve.
As for me, I have no interest in being a bad mother. I don’t plan to do wrong by my kids in order to make friends. I don’t feel like I need to beat myself up for the things I can’t do. I don’t feel like I need to accept that I am good enough, because I like being a work in progress. I do go against the mainstream sometimes (okay maybe more than sometimes), but I have good reasons for it and I won’t let other people call me a bad mother for doing it (so there Ontario coroner).
So just like I didn't really want to be bad in high school, I also don't really want to be a bad parent. But I do want more freedom. I want the freedom to parent the way that I want to parent without society telling me what is right and wrong. I want the freedom to make choices that work for our family, whether that is because it is the easiest thing to do, the funnest thing to do, or the best thing to do. But, I still want to talk about parenting. I'm not the type of bad mom who just says that anything goes and leaves it at that. I'm the type of bad mom who will debate and discuss and get all political and philosophical and ranty about it.
So, when I got invited by the cool kids (take that high school!) to join the Bad Moms Club and write for them a couple of times per month, I decided that maybe I could embrace my inner bad, but not really bad, to rage against the mainstream idea of good.
Want to learn more? Here is a quick excerpt from the Bad Moms Club Philosophy:
We’re not nihilists. And we’re not revolutionaries, really. We’re just looking for a new standard for what it means to be a good parent – one that doesn’t have anything to do with owning the right stroller or losing the baby weight or getting our kids into the right Montessori preschool or knowing how to blend the perfect organic baby food or knowing whether ’tis nobler to be an attachment parenting parent or a free range parent or a helicopter parent or whatever kind of parent – yes, even a cooler-than-thou ‘bad parent’ – parent magazines are currently hyping. A standard that looks only to whether one’s kids are healthy and happy, within the bounds of what a parent can control. A standard that embraces laughter and good times, with or without liquor.
So, yeah. The celebration of bad is not a celebration of neglect. It’s a celebration of independence from the tyranny of ‘Good’-with-a-capital-G. It’s a rejection of the idea that there are – beyond the basic precepts of loving your kids and keeping them well in mind, body and spirit – right ways and wrong ways to parent. And if we have to be a bit mischievous and mayhemmy to get that point across, well, so be it. At least we’re not making soap out of your ass fat.
I hope you'll join me and the other AMAZING writers over at the Bad Moms Club. Be sure to check out my first post, looking at the latest in "how to have a perfectly happy child" research: Bad Moms Don't Fake a Smile.