The Goddess Myth

The Goddess Myth

Erin Burt

This article by Claire Howorth graced the cover of Time magazine a while ago, and while I don’t read or watch much news, somehow it found itself on my radar.

There have been many different reactions to this article, and the idea of the goddess myth in social media. Suzanne Armes got rather grumpy about the article here. She felt like Time didn’t talk how our culture and even our economy, workplace rules, and standard operating procedures impact motherhood and giving birth. Alexandra Sacks MD, was a fan of the Time article, and really appreciated Ms. Howorth’s emphasis on the individual and letting go of the “perfection” of motherhood, and embracing the reality of everyday life with kids.

Now, perhaps I live in the middle of nowhere, but in my corner of the world we don’t talk about motherhood in concepts and ideals, we talk about it in messy reality. We all make our own motherhood choices about formula, and epidurals, and sleeping schedules, and we sometimes discuss those topics. But we usually talk about our struggles with the toddler’s latest phase (hitting), complain about the never ending mountain of laundry, and remind each other, that this is a short, intense phase of life and that we’re all going to survive this!

Yes, it is a myth, no mother is perfect, and no childhood is complete without messes, sickness, and frustrations. I do think Time didn’t do the bigger picture justice. The pressure of motherhood in today’s society is overwhelming, and there are lots of big-picture reasons for that that impact our daily lives. The concept of the “goddess myth” isn’t helpful to any mom no matter how “goddess” like their parenting choices are.

But at the end of the day, Claire Howorth just wants moms to feel more comfortable living their real, messy, stinky, sleep-deprived, lovely lives. It really boils down to this quote from a follow-up post by Dr. Sacks: “Remember, there’s a fine line between inspiration and aspiration. Comparing yourself to idealized images can quickly become a trigger for guilt, self-criticism, and shame.”

Jenny Ditch lives in Illinois with her family and has no desire to become a perfectionist, it sounds exhausting!

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