Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

 

Mofomommyranting

There are a couple of things that piss me off now that I am a mother:

1. Hearing anyone say “she’s more than just a mother”.

No shit Einstien! I was a lot more than a mother before I became a mother. I mean really, if the underlying assumption is that either I am a mother or I do not exist, then you are saying that I was nothing until I became a mother at the age of 32. If that is really what you think, well, you are an idiot.

In addition, since birthin’ a baby I continue to be the evolving human being I was prior to August 21, 2004. I still carry all the same experiences I had before having a child, and I will continue to evolve in the face of changes that motherhood had brought, and the changes life in general brings.

Thank you so much for your vote of confidence that I am more than the mere label I acquired when I went through the totally insane experience of childbirth! Man alive, you are the wind beneath my wings. Before I heard those magical words “more than just a mother” I really thought that is all I was!!!! Before my daughter was born, I was just an itch in my own pocket.

Do you ever hear anyone say “He’s more than just an Electrical Engineer” or “She’s a daughter, but she’s a really good writer.” It’s as though people assume half of your brain cells exited your body with the afterbirth. It’s fucking ridiculous.

2. I read two articles on Blogging Baby that got me thinking.

You know what else pisses me off? People who feel the need to gasp in horror every time someone who has a child mentions things that are hard, or admits that they don’t enjoy every minute of ass-wiping. People who need to spout off about how we should really stop and smell the roses because kids grow up fast. I KNOW THAT AND IT’S STILL HARD AND I CAN SAY IT’S HARD ANYTIME I GODDAMN WELL PLEASE. I don’t want your fucking 2 cents of invalidation. Shut up about it.

If that’s the way you really feel, hooray for you and go home and kiss your progeny. They are lucky children, indeed. Mine’s lucky too. My daughter will grow up perfectly well adjusted knowing that she is loved. She will be clothed, fed, hugged and kissed every day of her life, and her momma will scratch the eyes right out of anything that ever tries to hurt a hair on her head. In addition, my daughter will grow up knowing it’s perfectly okay to admit when you’re tired and not having any fun. It’s okay to admit that sometimes you miss the old times. These are the admissions that keep people from hopping the one-way train to crazy-ville: population: 8,000 perfect mothers.

Mothers are policed like nobody’s business. Usually by other mothers. When I tried to breastfeed and failed, I felt scrutinized every time I was asked about it. I wanted to walk around with a disclaimer that read something like:

“I know I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, and I couldn’t help but notice you noticing me feeding my infant with a bottle. Please let me explain. I tried to breastfeed and pumped for 2 weeks. My daughter never latched on, and I go tired of pumping tiny amounts of liquid out of my malfunctioning breasts with a machine, while my daughter laid in her crib like a Romanian Orphan. I am hoping that now that you know that I gave it a shot, you will not judge me quite so harshly. I am a good mother. I swear. I even read a book on attachment parenting, which by the way, I already know I am failing miserably at. I am failing because I don’t breast feed. I am failing because I have to go back to work when my daughter is 10 weeks old and I can’t carry her in a sling for the 40 hours a week my attendance is required at work. I am failing because we decided against a family bed. Really. I tried. At least a little. Please do not judge me or turn me into social services. Thank you for your time.”

It’s like milling around with undercover Gestapo agents.

All of this crap, all of the put-downs, subtle or overt, come from a deep dark place of insecurity. The desire to covertly to imply your own superiority without a single iota of valid proof or justification for any said superiority. They are cheap shots at someone else’s expense. Cheap shots that are typically a vain attempt to make oneself feel better, smarter, sassier, more punk rock, more mother-earth-goddess, more urban, more suburban, more urban, whatthefuckhaveyou.

And you know what? I could also blame it on men, because God knows they deserve a little blame. The truth is, at LEAST half of this utter crap comes from other women. Women with and without children.

And am I free from guilt? Nope! I have flung the term “soccer mom” like nobody’s business. I did it before I was a mother and after I became a mother. I lamented all the fucking people with their huge fucking strollers who walked around wielding huge senses of entitlement as though they, along with their genius children just DESERVED more space than everyone else. GOD they annoyed me. And now I am one of them. So, yep! I am G-U-I-L-T-Y.

Being a mother is hard. I am pretty confident that every mother out there feels a huge amount of pressure to get it right. No one worth their salt wants to screw up their own kids. I am just as confident that every mother out there is afraid that they are failing their children in one capacity or another. And the judgments we fling on one another all come from the same dark, musty, stanky place of fear in our hearts.

Will things ease up if we can get to a place where it’s okay to not be perfect?

A place where it’s okay to choose not to have children? A place where it’s okay to have children? A place where it’s okay to admit that we’re tired? Can I admit that sometimes I watch the clock, anxious for bedtime when I can have a thought to myself? Will you judge me if I admit that sometimes on a Saturday, instead of playing with my daughter, I just really want to go see a movie or play a game of Trivial pursuit?

I do not have the answer. Maybe the answer is simply to keep in mind that people are annoying and insecure and judgmental. That being said, most people are doing the best they can. I look back at things I have said and done in my life and I want to cringe at my own stupidity. But I keep growing up. At least I hope so.

My point, if I have one, is that we are all idiots in various stages of our own idiocy.

Yeah, you are a judgemental asshole. You know what? So am I. If we can somehow make it okay to BE an idiot and an asshole, perhaps we won't have the need to point a finger every time we see someone else acting like an idiot and an asshole. If it's okay to be an idiot, we can more easily admit to our own idiocy. We can ackowledge our own pasts, presents, and futures, all chock-full of examples of our own utter lack of self-actualization.

And with that, I will take my own advice. Who am I to point fingers anyways? Just pretend you never read any of this. Okay?

11 Comments:

Anonymous jess said...

Awesome! Really, well written and expressed. I think i love you.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous cj said...

You make excellent points all the way around. Feel better now?

I can't stand nipple nazi's either. Both my girls were preemies and I was unable to breastfeed. I remember my brother calling me up and asking how things were going and being SHOCKED my baby was using a bottle. HE even gave me the lecture about breastfeeding. *gags* I gave him the what for... Explained that I didn't need his seal of approval, my baby was getting all the nutrients she needed, my boobs were for astetic purpouses and the whole bonding theory is BULLSHIT. Amazingly enough he's never said anythingn else about it. Fact of the matter is, we as mothers need to do whatever it is that we need to do to get us through the day. If that means bottle feeding, going back to work, or God for bid saying "This is hard" than so be it. The bottom line is we get up every day to do it all over again.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

I've got to believe that the Mom's that are the meanest about breastfeeding and pacifiers and preschools and their pregnant diets are the ones that are the most insecure about their own parenting skills.

It is just a guess, but it always makes me feel better.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous madge said...

W-O-R-D

11:27 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

to the Izz-o.

(I'm finishing Madges thought)

5:32 PM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

You knew I would agree 100%. At least I hope you knew. I'm right there with you, sister.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

You know, I never knew what it was to be judged til I had kids... though unfortunately, I find I do a lot more judging now as well. As moms, we just do what we gotta do to get by... Sometimes that means your kid ends up in public with oatmeal on her forehead (it happens). Though I have breastfed both babies (still nursing my 6 month old), I don't fault others for not doing it - for whatever their reasons. No matter what the topic is with kids, there are people on both sides of the fence who will scream til they are blue in the face that their way is the RIGHT way. I just found out the other day that I'm a heartless, unfeeling mom for letting my baby cry it out to sleep. She cried 20 minutes for 2 nights, and now she sleeps all night. I stand by my decision - you do what ya gotta do.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

you are my hero!

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Meredith said...

Word!

I have to say, I also had terrible problems with breast feeding and had to pump every 2 hours and give my son the milk in a bottle. When I went back to work at 3 months, he became a formula kid.

I kept waiting for the comments and the pointing fingers and negative clucks from others, but they never came. I had things ready to say in response. But I guess I got lucky, no one gave me a smidge of attitude.

I try to not be a jerk either but I found myself thinking jerky thoughts when I saw a friend breast feeding her 20 month old at a party. The girl just walked up to her mom, picked up her shirt, pulled down her bra and latched on.

I had to remind myself that there is nothing to judge. Glass houses, first stone, that sort of thing.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Great post, women are too hard on themselves and EVERYBODY is way too judgmental.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous pariswriter said...

I hear ya, I hear ya, I hear ya!!!

My daughter is now 2 and I could relate to SO MANY of the things you talk about.

Just discovered your blog, btw. Am really enjoying reading it!

"Carrie"

11:07 PM  

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