Things I’ve Learned Lately

Reader Contribution by April Freeman
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1. You use your ring finger way more than you ever thought.

2. It is impossible to look even remotely cute with Coke-bottle-bottom glasses. (Woke up with my eye matted shut due to some weird infection. Contact lenses are out for awhile.)

3. Spring is a bad time for a farmer’s wife to have a broken finger. (Yup. The injured finger is broken.)

4. The man of the house is good at gifts. (He got me two great books for Mother’s Day.)

Speaking of Mother’s Day, which was Sunday …

I’ve been thinking over this whole “Mom” thing. When you look at Facebook, Pinterest, and lots of the Mommy blogs online, women can sometimes get some weird impressions about what constitutes a good mom.

In wealthier, suburban areas, moms might think that to be a “great” mom, they must have their kids enrolled in an after-school activity every day.

Their kids might go to college on a baseball or music scholarship that only occurred because the whole family spent hours every day practicing, attending concerts or games, or otherwise was consumed with the kids’ activities.

“Great” moms spend hours a day doing crafts with and for their kids, lovingly stitching homemade clothes, and posting lovely pictures of their sweet kids on Instagram.

Does that really make a mom “great?”

However, rural moms might not feel quite that way, but we still have our own issues.

Sometimes, when looking at the online world, we can get the impression that great moms feed their children only certified, organic, non-GMO foods.

“Great” moms cook all three meals from scratch. They grow their own food. Their child is never exposed to the perils of high-fructose corn syrup. They breast-feed their babies until the kids start kindergarten. They knit their kids’ socks and sweaters from wool that was sheared from the family’s flock of sheep.

Beef and chicken that has been contaminated with hormones or antibiotics never touches the lips of “great” moms’ kids.

Yet, if doing all these things makes a great mom, where does that leave the inner-city single mom who is just barely scraping by on food stamps?

What happens to the mom who adopted babies and couldn’t breastfeed them?

What about families who can’t afford a herd of beef or organic meat?

Can moms who don’t have a creative, artsy bone in their bodies be “great” moms?

If “great” moms have to grow pesticide-free heirloom veggies, what do we do with moms who are raising their kids in apartment complexes or condominiums?

The more I think about it, whether my kids learn to play instruments, eat “clean” food and wear homemade clothing has nothing to do with whether or not I am a “great” mom.

I can do all of the above listed things and still be a terrible mother.

I can do none of the above listed things and still be an amazing mom.

As women, we have to stop judging ourselves and one another by what everyone else does in their families.

Women are great moms when they listen to their kids.

Great moms love their kids and sacrifice for them.

Great moms laugh and love and always have time for one more hug.

Great moms do the very best that they can with what they have.

Sometimes that means that a kid goes without.

That’s OK. When the kids have a great mom, they will understand, and somehow, it all works out all right.

Here’s to all of the great moms across the country, whether in the city, suburbs, or in the sticks.

It’s OK.


Enjoy your kids.

You can be a great mom without all that stuff.

My kids … all four of them.

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