It’s funny how a simple single line from a television show can jump out at you. While enjoying the season premiere of Downton Abbey last night, Maggie Smith’s character — who often has pointed gibes, but also age-old wisdom — made a profound point to a grieving widow who doubted her abilities as a parent.
“There is more than one kind of good mother,” she told her granddaughter very matter-of-factly.
And with that simple turn of phrase, suddenly all the mommy wars seemed so pointless to me. There are so many really good blogs and so many different theories on parenting, from attachment to tiger moms. There’s even a book entitled The Good Mother Myth. I honestly feel it is about finding your own path.
I’ve always told new moms to keep their ears open to any tidbits from other moms, and to tuck them away in a mental “bag of tricks.” Even if it sounds totally absurd to you, the day may come (or the middle of a night) when you will give that advice a try out of desperation . . . and find that it works.
And I also tell them to remember that being a good mother can look different from one kid to another. What works with one, may not with the next. Give yourself room to adjust and call audibles. And to start fresh the next day.
I’m not saying anything unprecedented here, but we all can use a reminder now and then. And we all can enjoy this truly touching tribute to motherhood: