The Parable of the Best Cartoon Mother
I took a Facebook quiz this week to see which Disney mother I am most like. A Disney illustrated computer program analyzed my answers and determined that I am most like Sarabi, the mother lion in “The Lion King”.
As a Sarabi-like mom, I am a gracious mother with a calm exterior and a fierce spirit.
Calm? Yep, that’s me. Gracious and fierce? Well, those are not words I would have chosen to describe myself, but who am I to argue with a scientific, Disney-animated, personality quiz?
Based on the ten questions I answered in the 38 seconds of self-analysis it took to take the test, a virtual analyst wrote this about me, “You would put yourself through hell and back for your family and never ask for a single thing in return which kind of makes you a saint.”
A saint?! Me? Really?
No . . . Well, maybe . . . Okay . . . So, how can I argue with that? It is, after all, Facebook official.
Let’s see the other Disney mothers do better than that!
Queen Elinor from “Brave” a better mother than Sarabi and me? Not likely. She may be a noble role model and have great hair, but her daughter has a rebellious streak and the triplets need to be locked in the dungeon until the sugar wears off.
Andy’s mom from “Toy Story”? I don’t think so. The quiz praises her for fostering creativity in her children, but did you get a good look at her house? There are toys EVERYWHERE!
Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother? Not on her best day! Take away her magic wand and all she has to offer is a couple of rodents, a very large vegetable and a nonsensical song about some old bippity with boppity boobs. That is totally inappropriate for young children!
Who are the best Disney mothers? I think it is obvious that it is those of us who have a Sarabi-like philosophy of child rearing. But it doesn’t matter what I think. To know who is the best Disney mom, we would have to ask Walt Disney.
I submit this story as a parable in animated form. Most women will understand it. For those of you who are men and do not have female ears to hear the message, let me explain the meaning to you.
Women are born with an intense need to know they are significant, that who they are and what they do is good and right and worthy.
As mothers, it is often hard for us to find our worth. No one sends us “Thumbs up on the aesthetically pleasing color variations in your dinner foods” or “Good job with the kitchen floor potty clean-up” memos. Our jobs do not offer us plaques to hang on our walls or trophies to set on our shelves. And we do not have standardized specifications by which we can measure our successes and feel good about ourselves.
So, we make up our own standards. And we are crazy hard on ourselves.
We need to feed our kids three healthy meals a day, preferably of our own making, and two servings of frozen chicken nuggets in one week will most certainly cost us the Mother Of The Year Award. We must school our children properly, discipline them appropriately, and protect them from all danger. We should teach them to obey their elders, spend their money wisely and eat their broccoli without complaining. We need to make sure they do not to lie, steal, bully or pick their noses in public.
We need to do these things and many more with perfect results and without asking for help. You would not believe the amount of guilt we can carry when we use the television as a babysitter for half an hour so we can shower, brush our teeth, clean the peanut butter off the toilet seat, keep the family in clean underwear, and eat chocolate without having to share.
At some point, most of us realize that it is impossible to meet all the requirements we have set for ourselves. We must accept failure or set priorities. So each of us chooses the mothering standards we consider to be most important and we measure ourselves according to this new list.
Unfortunately, we measure other mothers by the same list.
- Balancing motherhood with a job
- Feeding and vaccinating your baby,
- Schooling and disciplining your children
- Putting your kids to bed at night
(Those are the biggies but the list goes on)
If your list of choices on these issues are not the same as mine, you must be wrong. Because, if you are right, that means I am wrong.
And I can not be wrong. Because, if I am wrong, I have failed my children. I am not a good parent. I have no worth as a mother.
We need a judge to assess us, measure us against other mothers, and tell us we that we are right. I have no idea what Walt Disney would say if we could ask him who is the best Disney mom. But if we were to ask God to identify the best of His chosen mothers, I’m pretty sure I know what He would say.
He would say, “Come to me, all of you women who have burdened yourselves with questions about who is right and who is wrong, and I will give you rest from all that crap. (Matthew 11:28, loose translation)
“Be still and know that you do not need to be perfect . . . and neither do the other women.
“Because I am God . . .
- I paid a terrible price to declare you good and right and worthy
- I can take care of your children with or without you
- I direct each of you on your own path as a woman and a mother”
(Psalm 46:10, extremely loose translation)
Chasing the “Who is right? Who is wrong?” questions will send most of us women into a permanent spin.
But if women take their places in a circle, as if they were spokes in a wagon wheel, and all walk toward God, who stands in the middle, they will find that they will naturally draw closer together.