Friday, May 12, 2006

As a mother, not so much

I've been thinking about Mothers Day lately. So has much of the blogosphere. I love that so much of what I've seen is about the dirty, smelly truth of it all, how ugly and hurtful, wonderful and terrible it can be.

The cooing baby lying fetchingly in its cradle too easily supplants the trials and embarrasement of labor, I think. What you see in the media and in most books is the rosy, downy-headed ideal of it all: the soundly sleeping baby; the cozy mornings in the nursery as the rising sun softly paints the walls; the first laugh, steps, words. As a result, it seems like women are afraid to talk about the rage and isolation that can come with having children. Like they're bad mothers if they even so much as think that maybe this whole motherhood thing isn't as great as everyone said it would be. Even worse, I think some start to think there's something wrong with them for not being 24/7 head-over-heels in love with their children. That's starting to change--and about time--but not fast enough for my taste.

Every now and then, you see what's been hastily swept under the rug. Brooke Shields blew the barn doors open when she publically revealed her battle with postpartum depression. Liv Tyler lambasted other celebrity moms for rushing to lose their pregnancy weight too fast. For the most part, though, celebrity mothers have nothing to say about motherhood but how wonderful it is, how fullfilling, how they can't imagine anything as entirely glorious. Feh. Give me a nanny, driver, cook, housekeeper, and personal trainer and I'd have nothing but sunshine coming out my ass, too.

Most of us, however, muddle through as best we can with no one to aid us but family if we're lucky, nearby friends if we're not. There isn't enough public discussion about the raw insides of motherhood. I hope that will change soon. Until then, I'm here to rant about it in excruciating detail.

Happy Mothers Day, you.

Five bad motherhood things about me:

  • I spend entirely too much time online. Part of that is that we live far enough outside of town that working around the nap schedules of two kids pretty much prevents me from running errands or doing toddler-time activities without sacrificing infant sleep. So I waste a shitload of time socialize online. Oh, and blog. I do that, too.
  • I am a terribly impatient person and get immensely frustrated when she dawdles or refuses to cooporate. When we need to leave yesterday to get to an appointment and she refuses to get dressed, I get icy and stiff.
  • I have discovered that I don't like toddlers nearly as much as I like babies. Not to say I don't get a kick out of her on a pretty regular basis, but this independence thing is killing me.
  • I let her watch more tv than I would like because I'm spending too much time online (see #1 above).
  • No idea how to entertain a toddler, especially on shitty, cold, rainy days. Which we've had for the better part of a week. Which will continue into next week. Which sucks. Immensely. I leave her to entertain herself a lot more than I think I should because I don't know what to do with her.

Five good motherhood things about me:

  • Perp eats anything we put in front of her. I put that down to feeding her whatever we're eating and refusing to make food an issue. We'll fight about so much stupid shit in our lifetimes, why make food a battle?
  • She's sunny, independent, and sociable, mostly due to her inborn nature but fostered by my willingness to hand her over, as a baby, to nearly anyone who asked. Or so I tell myself. She never had stranger or separation anxiety.
  • Both my children were breastfed since the day they were born. Perp continues to nurse several times a day at over 2 years of age.
  • I am a Good Enough Mom.
  • I honestly can't think of a fifth item. How fucked up is that?


Devan said...

You are so right that no one ever talks about the rage. It makes you feel like a terrible mother when you think you are the only one who has ever felt that way. Like there is something wrong with you, when indeed there is not. (most likely ;)
And I'm sure that there are at LEAST 5 good mothering things about you. Ask your toddler or your husband. I bet they can name a bunch. :)

nessa said...

Interesting. Not that you asked, but here are mine...

5 bad:
1. I spend all of my waking (and most of my sleeping) time fretting over another person's every breath. Irrationally.
2. Shitting in peace? What's that?
3. SLEEP: Lily will ONLY go to sleep for me, and she has to be nursing (well, she's gone down for gma a few times & daddy once since that newborn sleepaholic stage was over). She sleeps horribly at night if she's in her crib. Like waking every 45min sometimes. Like not going down at all, despite me trying for hours, sometimes.
4. I feel selfish because when the baby finally does sleep, I just want some ME time ALONE. houswork & hubby be damned. Sometimes when she's awake, I'll put the TV solely for the purpose or making her quiet & busy so I can dick around on the internet for 10 or 15 minutes.
5. Daddy anxiety about taking care of the baby is so palpable it's become my issue, too. He's GREAT playing with her or taking her for walks, or hugging & loving on her. But he's never really even tried the whole diaper, dressing, bath, sleep etc thing unless he's the only one around.

5 good:
1. nursing past a year (still going). Probably one of the top 5 things I am proud of in my entire life.
2. her personality is so much fun to watch emerge. even since she was teeny tiny, she's had personality plus, for sure.
3. i also have a good eater. we did the 'baby food' stage for a few weeks, off and on, before i said screw it, and just gave her mashed up or cut up pieces of our meals. it's the ONE thing in my day that doesn't turn into a battle with my young toddler.
4. baby kisses. slimey, gooey, wet, baby kisses. and baby bear hugs.
5. i feel so much closer to my mom since i've had a baby. we may be on totally different wavelengths sometimes, and have pretty different parenting philosophies, but it's like we're both soldiers in a war. (which: kinda).

nessa said...

whoa, dude... i posted a comment earlier this morning, and then it said that it was awaiting moderation. do you not love me anymore? did i do the validation thingy wrong? ;)

Northwoods Baby said...

I turned it on thinking that only certain people might need moderation (no account people. Not no-account people, though, they often have the most interesting things to say) but it seems to want to filter everyone. So I turned it off. ;)