Friday, May 13, 2011

Mother Of The Year

One thing I've learned as I've gotten older is that I'm pretty good at being me. I might not be what others expect, but I'm me, and I'm happy with that. I'm a good wife, a good worker, and a good mother. I mean, so far I've raised 3 daughters, and none of them have died of neglect. Yet.

I do fall into the trap of comparing myself to those around me. Probably more often than I should. And I never measure up to what I think they are. But then I remember that I'm me, and I'm the best me I can be.

The other day, I was watching Studio 5, a local crappy TV show. It's basically a crappy Mormon Mommy Blog on the air. They have their fair share of "How-To's" and Fauxlebrities. This particular day, they had on Justin Hackworth. Or as I like to call him, Nie Nie's personal photographer. He takes all her pictures. He does a great job. He has recently done a project where he photographed mothers with their daughters. It was lovely. I wish I had lovely pictures of me and my mom together. But his project was a perfect segue into the next topic, which was Mother Of The Year, and Young Mother Of The Year.

My jaw hit the floor as I was so stunned that there was actually a contest for this title. I thought it was pretty clear that I already held the title. So I had to keep watching, just to see what it was all about. Apparently there really is a contest for MOTY and YMOTY. Governor Herbert appointed these women, and I had to keep watching to see how fabulous they really were.


I'll focus on the Young Mother here, just because I can relate to her more, seeing as I'm still young and whatnot. She is beautiful. Smart. Obviously a loving mother. Mormon. Blonde. Blue-eyed. Soft-spoken.

I'm all those things. Well, except not blonde anymore.

I waited to see what set her apart from all the other young mothers I know. She had a baby that died at birth. I have a friend who had that happen. Tragic. She has a husband who at a young age suffered a stroke. I have a friend who had that happen as well. So tragic. She reads scriptures to her children daily. I know lots of people that do that. She reads books to her kids. Check. I'm still sort of at a loss as to what makes her so spectacular?

And mostly I'm wondering why in the Hell someone would take a job as tiring, rewarding, personal, and intimate as motherhood and make it into a competition? Aren't we already hard enough on ourselves without being compared to those around us? Can't we all win our own personal MOTY awards?

This really got me riled up, and those of you that follow me on FB know this. I was quite offended. Not that I wasn't chosen (duh), but that so many of the wonderful amazing mothers I know weren't chosen. I feel like all of you deserve a MOTY award. We all have our own crap to deal with, and so many of you handle it with grace and dignity. I want to go down a list of qualities in my friends and readers that I admire, and that make you all Mother's Of The Year in my eyes.

Some of you are or do the following:

  • Patient to no end with your children.
  • Conscious of making sure your family eats healthy most of the time.
  • Run crazy lives.
  • Run literally. Miles and miles.
  • Battle cancer and win!
  • Deal with hardships repeatedly and quietly.
  • Work and go to school and mother.
  • Work full time as the family's supporter.
  • Take in children that belong to others, either short term as babysitting, or long term as foster parents.
  • Drive old beater cars so your kids can be involved in sports or dance or whatever.
  • Reach out to help neighbors and friends without even being asked.
  • Sacrifice anything to stay with your children.
  • Make life lovely along the way.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing on the YMOTY. She deserves recognition. But so do the rest of us. I don't want to see motherhood become another tool of superiority. There is no perfect mother. There isn't. Even my own mother had her faults. And those faults are what make us all wonderful and special and deserving of our own awards.

So to all you mothers out there, you all win the Mother Of The Year award in my eyes. Keep on doing what you do best!

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Darci Buhl said...

I'm really just impressed that you know how to spell the word segue. I am walking away from this post one word smarter! Thanks Keli, you're a gem.

But really, you are. You're a great mom and I'm totally pissed that they didn't pick you. Seriously! Any mom that can make homemade tamales for their kids, do homeschool, work, blog and still have a good sense of humor deserves it. You're awesome.

Emily said...

amen! well said missy.

Emi Edgley said...

I too agree that there are a million ways to be a good mom, and that I am surrounded - minute by minute - by moms who are working harder and doing better than I. This role is, in no way a competition or contest, rather a responsibility. I personally think of myself as a "representative" of American Mothers for Utah, rather than as a "Mother of the Year" (a title which makes my many inadequacies much more apparent). I appreciate your candid commentary.