Thursday, June 17, 2004

Quick Thoughts on Dispatches...

I finished Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life. Overall, I'm still lukewarm about the book. (Did you know Faulkner Fox is a feminist? No? Read the book. She'll tell you that she is about 800 times. After about 500 times I kind of got the point.)

One part of the book did resonate pretty deeply with me, though. The author talks about her desire to connect with other mothers in her neighborhood. Ultimately, though, she isolates herself because she fears being judged by the other mothers or judging them too harshly.

I feel the same way; I teeter between confidence in my parenting abilities and a deep-seated fear that I will somehow unknowingly inflict grievous emotional harm on my children. I sometimes cast a stern eye on other mothers and use what I perceive as their faults to bolster my own parenting ego:

"Look at that," I cluck to myself. "At least I don't let my kids eat junk food/watch a lot of TV/jump on the furniture."

Not exactly me at my best. And since I have this tendency, I assume that others have it as well. If I'm feeling insecure about my parenting, I can only imagine that other mothers who obviously are better at this gig would recognize my faults and judge me harshly.

When I have more time and energy, I'd like to spend some time exploring why mothers engage in Competitive Parenting like this.

More time and energy ... I like the sound of that. Where can I get some?