Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Increasing Insanity of "Mommy Culture"

Does anyone else feel suffocated sometimes by the non-stop banter about motherhood?  It seems every day there are multiple articles about motherhood in my newsfeed.  "10 Things Not to say to a Stay at Home Mom"  "10 Things Not to say to a working Mom" "How to Miss a Childhood"  "Let's Stop Judging Each Other"  and sometimes I just want to scream, "Enough already!!".  Oh my goodness, can we please STOP talking about motherhood and dissecting every little bit of it.  Seriously, I cannot imagine that generations past talked and talked ad nauseam about motherhood the way we do.  No, they just did the darn thing.  I just get sick of the "mommy culture" sometimes.  I find it overwhelming and I feel like the pressure and "background noise" just keeps increasing.

Let's take Pinterest for example.  Valentines Day is coming up and once upon a time, this holiday was probably not celebrated at all by children.  Perhaps if mother was feeling crafty she may bake some regular, ole' cookies.  Was she pinning 15 different crafts and making each meal contain some red treat and creating elaborate decorations for her home?  I'd venture to say, no.  I just feel like things are getting insane in this world of motherhood we live in.

How about the articles about "How Not To Miss A Childhood".  I've read a couple different articles about the same general topic of being "present" with your kids.  Here are my thoughts.  Yes, you shouldn't be completely glued to your phone 24/7.  Obviously.  I believe in healthy boundaries and those articles do have some good points.  But I also believe that giving your children your non-stop attention because you don't want to miss any little thing they do is unrealistic and, dare I say, not in your child's best interest.  Again, let's think about past generations, women had a lot more physical work to do just keeping up the house.   Do you think they had time to sit and be "present" for every little thing they did with their children and frolicking at the park  all day long?  No way.  They were working and keeping an eye on their children while they did it.  Probably a much less watchful eye than we keep on our children today.  If you want to spend 10 minutes on your phone while your children play at the park, bravo!  Good for you!  Relax for a few minutes.  Your kids will be fine.   I feel that the constant helicopter/entertainment parenting is doing our kids more of a disservice than we may realize.

Before you get the impression that I'm an aloof, distant parent, I'm quite the opposite. I am a stay at home mom who has devoted this season of my life to raising my two kids.  I understand the importance of investing our time in the next generation.  But I don't think that means that they should never be told "No, you need to wait"  or  "Mommy is reading right now, please don't interrupt"  or  "You need to play by yourself and you'll figure it out"  instead of constantly intervening and entertaining.  I don't think that we need to teach them that as their mothers, our world revolves around them.  Yes, in some ways, it does practically speaking, but the bigger message is the world does not revolve around them.  They need guidance and support, yes.  But they also need independence.  

People say "cherish every moment" well, let's be honest, some moments are NOT cherishable.  There, I said it!  Like when my son broke a glass bulb all over his floor while his sister simultaneously pooped all over the rug.  I will not miss those moments, well maybe for the laughs but I'll be glad when things like that don't happen.  We don't have to be mushy-gushy precious-precious all the stinkin' time about motherhood and our kids.

I wish there was more honesty.  I wish there was less "pinterest-y stuff" raising the unspoken bar of whats expected.  Motherhood is amazing, but it's also hard.  It is the hardest thing you will ever do.  There are moments of joy and ecstasy and moments of sadness, frustration and pain.  Portraying only one side of motherhood helps no one.