Friday, August 12, 2011

The Mommy Martyrs

I am about to post something that is probably going to make me wildly unpopular, but hey, I'm in an ornery mood.

Maybe you've seen this little gem floating around on the Internet?

It tends to make the round on Facebook every few months and every time, without fail, the same thing happens: all the moms post their "You Go, Girl!" rally cries in the comments before reposting it to their own page. Also, I get really annoyed.

Look. I have a kid. I'm a stay at home mom. I'm not saying it's not hard. I can go back and read my blog posts from the first year this boy was around and see just how very hard it was. But for reals?

It's not THAT hard. It's not so hard that you shouldn't be able to have time for your friends. It's not so hard that you shouldn't be able to do things for yourself, as a human being, as a woman, as a wife, as a friend.

The woman who wrote the letter is asking a very real question, and I think it's terrible that the advice columnist blasted her the way she did. She said she doesn't have any children so obviously she has no idea what her friend is going through. Cut the girl a little slack!

Also, I happen to think that she asks a valid question in trying to understand why her friend has no time to call or email; what exactly goes on in that sort of work day? I mean, how would she know? She doesn't have any children!!! I understand her asking if it's a contest, I really do. I've gone through "friendships" a few times with people who saw everything as a contest. Women who feel they have to prove how important they are, and they prove their worth with being so busy. Just too busy for everything, including you.

Having a baby is hard. The first six months kicked my butt like no other. By eight months, I had definitely settled into a groove and felt more like I knew what I was doing. Yes, you do have to learn to do things with one hand, and you have to balance a whole bunch of things every time you leave the house and even formerly simple tasks do take a lot longer than they used to take. Babies are WORK, make no mistake about it. However, they are not the soul sucking, thankless, never-ending, tugging at you from 50 directions job that the advice columnist makes them out to be.

I went grocery shopping with my kid. I left my house with a baby and a giant diaper bag and his molded plastic item du jour. I hung out with my friend, when she wasn't too busy to hang out with me, and I really don't think that my child suffered because I did those things. I kept him fed, and he was always clean and in a cute outfit. We went to baby story time at the library, and play dates with our playgroup. My kid learned how to sign, how to walk, how to feed himself, and how to talk even though I took time to post to my blog and keep up with my emails.

I'm not saying this because I'm trying to be all like "I'm better than you" because I am probably not better than you. I'm just so tired of this mentality that some women take on that just because they've had a baby that they deserve some sort of medal. Having a baby, for the most part, is a choice. Some of the greatest moms that I know never seem to be short on time for friends in addition to family, even though their family always comes first. People need to learn that making something a priority doesn't mean that you need to exclude everything else. If you are blessed enough to have a friend who wants to talk to you on the phone, who likes to exchange emails, who thinks it would be fun to hang out with you, and you can't find a few minutes here and there because you have A (as in one, the author of the letter says her friend has A CHILD) CHILD, well then, maybe you don't deserve that friend.

That all being said, I'm writing this from the point of view of being a stay at home mom with only one child. Two kids, I'm sure, are WAY harder. I'm really kind of freaked out about that, actually. It's gotta be like herding cats! Also, I don't know how the moms who have to go to a workplace, and then come home and still have to do most of the stuff us stay at home moms do manage. I would be stressed out of my mind. I'm not talking about those moms. I'm talking about the moms like me - the ones with one kid, the ones that stay at home. Being a mom is hard, no doubt about it, but it's not the hardest job on Earth like some people like to say. It's just really high up there on the "thankless" scale and I think that makes it seem a whole lot harder.

Oh, and well I'm at it, please oh please don't even get me started on this little bit of precious that pops up on Pinterest every freaking day:

It brings to mind a term I've heard before: The Sanctimommy. Ugh. Aren't you just such a good mommy?

I know that the trend right now is for bloggers to post "keepin' it real" photos of how their house is usually a mess. I want to know what exactly you're teaching your kid by letting them trash your house. My house is by no means a showplace 24/7. I struggle with keeping up with the dusting (I live in the desert, after all!) and there's usually something scummy on my coffee table because the boy sets his drinks there. It's not unusual to have Hot Wheels littering my sofa. But photos where every room has junk all over the floors and the sink is piled high with dishes? That's just gross.

Part of raising children is teaching them boundaries and how to take care of themselves, including cleaning up after themselves.

And now I'm done with my grouchy rant. (Watch, I bet that means I'm not pg again this month)


Blogger Jennifer said...

Thank You! As someone who doesn't have kids yet, it's interesting to me to see what traits I want my kids (and me) to have one day, and which I don't. Honestly, the best moms I know are the ones that still have date night with their hubby, girls night with their friends, and take time for their own hobbies. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, it's up to us to choose how we use it.

But what do I know, I don't have kids... (eye roll) ;)

7:13 AM  
Blogger Danea Burleson said...

I pretty much agree with what you have said. When it was just Asa life with a kid was pretty easy as a stay at home mom. But now with two kids and trying to run a business(albeit from home) I do find making playdates a little harder. BUT in recent months both Jeff and I have decided to make a point of going out with friends which usually means separately. We both need our friend time as much as we need our alone/kid free time.

No I can't always just drop things to go meet for coffee, so I totally get where the woman in this article is coming from, especially when I have had a childless friend or two completely drop me once the babes came along. But ultimately you DO have to find balance and keep you "me" time.

When I nannied the mom made a comment about how she used to have time to wear makeup and nailpolish but not anymore(their office was downstairs in their home). I swore I would never lose my girly loves just because I have kids. Yes they are often at my feet and pushing cars through my makeup brushes while I get ready and so I started a Privacy rule when I am getting dressed. It's awesome. Guess I am not talking to much. Anyway just wanted to say...

You Go Girl! ;)

8:30 AM  
Blogger Katy Cameron said...

Phew, coming from the childless angle, I was hoping it wasn't just me thinking this! Funnily enough, I've had a number of friends posting on my blog recently things like 'I wish I had your energy' or 'I wish I had time for everything you do', which I'm sure they don't mean to be offensive, but I kind of see an underlying accusation there, a sort of 'how do you have so much time to be doing anything you want? What are you NOT doing that I am, which is obviously far more worthy?'

Well I'm not playing with any kids, I have no other half, and my flatmate and I share the kitchen and bathroom and stop for a chat about 3 times a week. I do spend time with my friends, but I'm painfully aware that I have a lot more free time on my hands than most because, unlike my friends, no-one has actually chosen to date me or marry me, I am the unlovable wallflower (oops, sorry, pity party for 1 in the corner here!). My house may not be show-home perfect, but I do wash my dishes (by hand too, we have no dishwasher!)

Guess we can never win lol

3:12 PM  

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