I think that all of this negativity is part of a backlash created in part by the unreasonable expectations thrust upon mothers over the last 30 years or so. We are, by so many people, ourselves included, expected to be perfect. As modern women, we must be able to handle a demanding full time job, juggle the complicated social and activity schedules of at least 2 children, be an amazing and supportive wife, keep the home fires burning and our kitchen floors spotlessly clean. I won't go into why exactly we buy into this crap, but the pressure is there.
There have always been some writers who are willing to bare all their flaws for an amused public. Erma Bombeck comes immediately to mind. But this bad is good thing is a relatively new phenomenon. Now, it's hip to be bad.
I don't necessarily think that all this blogging about how difficult it is to be a mother is a bad thing. We can all be the most amazing of parents, but sometimes it's just damn hard to be a mom. Parenting involves a complete identity shift. After 30 years or so, it's no longer all about "me." Now it's about "the baby." That shift can be difficult under the best of circumstances. But, if you are anything like me, you'd rather rip your nails out one by one than talk about how you yelled at your 2 year old to your co-workers around the water cooler.
For me, and I think many others, blogging about the bad parts of motherhood is cathartic. After a lifetime of striving and pushing to achieve, it's nice to finally feel confident enough to say, "Hey, look at me! I'm running around naked! And I don't give a damn what you think." (Or maybe I do give a damn, but I want to know that I'm not the only one showing off her cellulose to God and everyone.)
Let's face it, blogging about the bad is also far more entertaining than blogging about the good. No one want to listen to someone wax on and on about what a great mom she is every day. If a co-worker did that to me, I'd be tempted to sneak into her office at night and leave a nasty used diaper in a filing cabinet. We get enough competitive mothering out there in the real world. Yes, everyone loves a happy ending, but you have to have some conflict along the way or no one wants to read the story. You know what I mean?
But I do think that Girls Gone Child, and HBM, and Joy have a point. I do tend to write more about my failings as a mother than my successes.
Like, Her Bad Mother pointed out in her post, you don't see all of me on this blog. You don't see me reading book after book after book to my little guys and loving it. You don't see me playing chase with the boys for 2 hours on a rainy afternoon to keep them entertained and happy. You don't see me calmly pick up a thrashing toddler off of the floor in Target and walk with my head high to the car, leaving my unpurchased booty behind in the name of consistent discipline. You don't see me confidently questioning my child's doctor when I don't agree with a treatment, or crying with him when he gets a shot.
As a mother, I rock.
I worry, yes. I feel occasional guilt about working, second child syndrome, not keeping my scrapbooks up to date, and letting my kids eat Cheerios off of the floor. Hell, I even compared my struggle with motherhood to a near death experience.
How sad is that?
These neuroses are only part of me as a mother. But, like many introspective people, I tend to spend more time naval gazing about my flaws than my strengths. In my defense, I have written a few posts about how motherhood has changed me in a positive way. Looking back through my archives, these are some of my favorite posts. But the positive posts are far outweighed in sheer number by the negative. I would like to change that.
After all, I started this blog as a sort of record for my children. I don't record just their milestones, but how their lives affect me. I would hate for one of them, looking at my blog posts at some point in the future, to think that I regretted motherhood or that I completely f'ed up. Hell, they'll probably think that anyway from about age 10 to 20, so why help them out?
So, I'm going to try to focus on some of the positives about being a mom. After all, who wouldn't love being a mom to this:
I'm going to make a conscious effort to show you all why I am a damn good mother. Consider this my first submission.
Won't you join me?