Thursday, September 23, 2010


It's no secret that I'm cynical. It's part of my charm, I say. Not only is it my way of viewing the world, it's my way of coping with it. So, it's not surprising that my blog today is written with the cynic in mind. But bear with me because beneath my cynicism is a real issue. I was talking with a good friend tonight about some of the tribulations of motherhood. It became clear in our conversation that too often we experience women who romanticize motherhood. Now, that's not to say that motherhood is torturous, so how could anyone NOT complain. But, I AM saying that many women seem to feel the need to minimize or dismiss the frustrations of motherhood in order to appear like they've got their sh*t together when, in reality, they struggle to maintain their sanity at times, too. In general, my personality is to call BS when I hear someone talk all positive or all negative - it just isn't real. And, most importantly, it's annoying. When I really think hard about why the all-or-nothing attitude bothers me, it comes down to the fact that it totally minimizes and invalidates other people's feelings. It's isolating and it makes people doubt themselves. So, let's keep it real. The women who paint a rose-colored picture of parenting (and, ironically, I have found my cynical self guilty of this at times) don't realize that in the process of convincing themselves and others that they can handle anything, they make those of us who struggle with the stresses feel bad about ourselves. In my opinion, women shouldn't feel guilty for acknowledging when things are tough or overwhelming. We get too focused on not wanting to look like the complainer, wanting to look like we can do it all, or, worst of all, potentially being perceived as not loving our children. Of course we love our children. Acknowledging the poo doesn't mean we love them less, and maintaining that everything is perfect doesn't mean we love them more. Bottom line, I have learned that there are aspects of parenting that are just unpleasant, unfortunate, and unfair. That's not to say that everyday should be a bitchfest, but I am a believer that if we can talk more openly about those hair-pulling moments with each other, a lot of guilt and the incidence of postpartum depression would decrease. [Did anyone else hear those violins in the background?]

As I step off my soapbox, I will preface my List below with the fact that I love Leila more than I can put into words (which, now that I think about it, is probably why my blogs focus on the cynical stuff), and I happen to think that, overall, I'm a pretty good mom so far. I just need to get a few things off my chest. So, here we go. It is totally UNFAIR that...

1. I can describe, in detail, the pattern of shadows the moonlight creates on the nursery wall at 3AM.

2. Only a mere 12 months after celebrating my doctoral degree, do I feel like I can only have coherent conversations about baby spit up.

3. My "friends" blatantly lied to me about this "4-month hurdle," after which things magically fall into place and parenting an infant becomes an easy, blissful experience. Well, Leila's 5 months old - is it me, or is it just as damn hard as it was a month ago?

4. Getting ready to take Leila to the babysitter's looks like I'm packing for a week-long trip to Paris. Well, minus the passport. And Paris.

5. After only spurts of sleep here and there, the next morning I have black circles under my eyes while Leila is a perky, happy, rosy-cheeked cherub of a bebe.

6. My social life has dwindled down to ".com"

I really could go on, but it's 4:42AM (I'm sure I could work that into the list somewhere). Feel free to share your own "UNFAIR!" moments. When all else fails, they at least provide mommies everywhere with a good laugh!