Call it a mission statement, a manifesto, a set of rules, reminders, a way to keep ourselves sane on this crazy journey called motherhood.

Some tenets we’re trying to live by:

*We will call what we’re doing work. Even if the world doesn’t acknowledge it, we will: motherhood is the hardest work in the world. It’s physically demanding, psychologically strenuous, spiritually complex, and unpaying.  We refuse to accept the whole “I-don’t-work-I-stay-home-with-the-kid” thing. We’ve held lots of jobs, and not one has been more intense.  We know how challenging it is to work outside the home and raise kids, we will never be too proud or silent to ask for help.

*We will complain when we want to. We are allowed to bitch. We’ll never forget the healing power of a good old-fashioned rant.

*We will boast when we want to. Yes, our child is the cutest, smartest, most hilarious, most cuddly on the block.

*We will cry when we need to.

*We will laugh maniacally when we need to.

*We will not forget to play. With our kids and by ourselves.

*We will not forget the power of an occasional martini.

*We will not spend money haphazardly, or on useless status objects, or on stuff we think we “should” have.

*We will not be snobs about thrift stores.

*We will ask for help when we need it.

*While we will boast our kids are the smartest, cutest, most delightful creatures ever planted on this earth   we will not turn them into our status symbols of success.

*We will yell when we need to and feel guilty later.

*We will do our best to educate ourselves, to read valuable books, to attend parenting classes and lectures, to listen to those “experts” we admire—but we will also trust our instincts.

*We will avoid the rancorous, black-and-white thinking that pervades the media. We know people raise children in different ways.

*We will forgive ourselves when we make mistakes.

*We will not forget the power of an occasional martini (when they are sleeping and we’re not driving).

*We will share our triumphs, fears, and hopes with other parents. That’s right: parents. We will not forget the important role that fathers play, or deny fathers their own wisdom, their own experience (even if we complain about  or bemoan their incessant need to toss the kid over their heads).

*We will be at our best when we remember to take care of ourselves.

*We will be strong, smart role models. In our successes and in our failures.

*We will keep adding to this list.

*We will keep laughing.

*We will sometimes use salty language—around adults. Of course we can’t stand when people use dirty language around their children. But, on the other hand, isn’t there something  unsettling about mothers who talk baby talk and, even worse, can’t keep it out of adult conversation?

*We will find places of sanity and sanctuary in our own backyard. The library, the nature preserve, the mall.

*We won’t forget who we are.

Tell us: what “rules” do you follow as a mother? Leave a comment! Add to the manifesto!

This is just the beginning.