Photo Source: Hans Vandenberg
|This past weekend, I found myself watching a marathon of House reruns and was truly inspired by something that Wilson said to Cuddy in Season 5, Episode 12 (Painless). Allow me to set the scene for you…
* * * WARNING: LONG POST * * *
[ but well worth the read! ]
The hospital administrator, Cuddy, is an unmarried middle-aged career woman who has been longing to have a baby. Without a man in the picture, she has decided to adopt. By Episode 6 (Joy), arrangements have been made, expenses have been covered, stage set for a picture perfect adoption… and then the young troubled birth mother chooses to keep her baby, leaving Cuddy completely and utterly heartbroken.
Fast forward to Episode 11 (Joy to the World). After cataloging her symptoms and conducting several tests, House diagnoses a young overweight teenage girl with leukemia. Back in his office, while House shares the story of his “virgin” clinic patient, Cuddy realizes that the young girl’s symptoms are more likely the result of eclampsia, a complication of pregnancy.
The scared, guilt-ridden teenager had kept her pregnancy a secret under baggy clothes, unexpectedly given birth to a premature baby, and then abandoned the infant near a local soup kitchen. Cuddy went out to look for the body, only to find that the baby had actually survived thanks to the homeless couple who found her.
Both the teenagers and their parents decided that it was simply too painful to keep the baby, so they opted to put her up for adoption. Cuddy touched base with her lawyer, got approved to be a foster parent (who could later adopt), and took the baby home.
Finally, we get to Episode 12 (and, yes, I really do have a point to all this… ). Cuddy has been struggling to balance her sanity, her career, and her new baby. While she attempts to tidy up the house (and console the baby), the doorbell rings. Her caseworker has arrived early to do the mandatory foster home inspection! Cuddy is horrified!
The caseworker quickly looks around and glances into the other rooms, making notations on his clipboard. All the while, Cuddy rambles on and on, apologizing for her messy home, her busy work schedule, and her incompetence as a new mom.
The caseworker finally manages to interrupt her and says, “Dr. Cuddy, you’ve got sufficient income, a high degree of personal and professional stability, and you care enough to be embarrassed by what a mess this place is… Believe me, that puts you head and shoulders above most of the foster moms I visit.” (scary thought, isn’t it?)
As the episode ends, Wilson stops by to visit Cuddy and the new baby. Cuddy tells Wilson that she passed the home inspection but is disappointed that she failed by her own standards. Then, (this is the important part!) Wilson asks why women as a whole are always creating these ridiculous standards that no human being could possibly ever meet.
He goes on to say that any man, in the same situation, would have at least two assistants at work, a maid, a cook, a nanny, and a wife at home. Wilson tells Cuddy that she needs to be more like a man and get some help.
“Give yourself a break. You’re not Superwoman. Don’t be a martyr!”
Wow. So poignant.
Really, why is it that, as moms, we are so terribly critical of ourselves? If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you feel guilty that you should be working and contributing more to the family financially. If you’re a work-outside-the-home mom, you feel guilty that you should be at home raising your little ones. Each of us envies the other.
“I stress out over my messy house. I hate it when friends and family are ‘in the neighborhood’ and just ‘drop by’ unannounced. I never have time enough to keep the house clean. I don’t spend enough quality time with my kids. I feel like I’m letting my husband down. I wouldn’t know what to do if I had a full day all to myself. I don’t even know what I like anymore.”
“Why can’t I get the laundry folded and put away before I have to wash everything again? Why can’t I keep my cool at the library like those other moms? Why can’t my kids be mindful and well-behaved like the ones we saw at the grocery store this morning? Why can’t I just be happy with my life? There must be something wrong with me!”
OK. You get the point, I’m sure. Now, let’s look at things from another perspective. Your very best friend in the world has confided in you all her deepest insecurities. You’re going to tell her there’s something wrong with her, right? . . . Didn’t think so. Why is it, then, that we think it’s OK to say these things to ourselves? It’s NOT!
Remember, we only get to see a tiny snippet of another mom’s life. We never get to see the whole picture. Every woman feels inadequate in her mothering in one way or another, at one time or another. So, please, don’t be a martyr… recognize your own limitations and get help when and where you need it. I dare you!
And, please go easy on the other moms who cross your path each day. They’re dealing with their own insecurities. They don’t need your judgment… they need your help! So, next time you see a struggling mom, offer her a hand. I double dare you!
What are your thoughts? How have you grown to accept your shortcomings as a mom? How has your perspective changed since The Before Kids Time?