This week, we’re talking mommy stuff (again). Specifically, the insane level of expectations many mothers place on themselves. Lauren, a working mom of a 2.5-year old, has been struggling with an extra dose of mommy guilt lately, so she’s turning to Maayan, as a child-free (and happy to be so) source of insight. Sometimes, it can be handy to have an outsider’s perspective on a situation, and Maayan provides some refreshing views on the world of stress most mothers deal with.
Listen to This: Just Be Superwoman! Mommy Expectations
First off, we’d like to meet the mother who glides through parenthood without any guilt. Well,okay. We do know a few who seem to be blissfully confident with their choices, and truly, kudos to them. But if you look at the facts, they’re in the minority. Take a look at these statistics from a post in the New York Times about mothers,
- 51 percent of working mothers feel guilty about not spending enough time with their children
- 55 percent of working mothers feel guilt about the untidiness of their house
- 55 percent of stay-at-home-mothers feel guilty for not contributing to family income
- 44 percent of stay-at-home moms feel guilt about the untidiness of their house
- 49 percent of working mothers and 47 percent of stay-at-home-mothers agreed with the statement, “I am my worst critic”
Basically, no matter what you do as a mother, you have a high chance of feeling shitty about it. And there are even more nuances to the shittiness….Parenthood magazine helps us count the ways:
-The #1 reason for guilt in most moms was yelling at their kids. Lauren has only yelled a couple times at her kid, and yes…she felt awful about it. But in general this isn’t a biggie for her. She’s CERTAIN, however, that she will face this issue as her child gets older and more sassy.
–Not wanting to play more: Oh boy. This ones a biggie. Little kids are incredible. They’re genuine, imaginative, honest, vivacious….and also they can be incredibly boring. The games they want to play can lead to a parent’s eyes glazing over almost immediately. And yet, shouldn’t we be enjoying every moment available to bond with our children? It’s tough.
-Not wanting sex: Fantastic–another person you feel pressured to make happy and fulfill–your partner! Some women feel zero guilt about turning their husbands down if they’re not feeling it, and good for them (within reason). But many of us feel like it’s just another failure in a long, long list of things we ‘should’ be doing.
–Wishing you were free: Oh come on. Everyone likes to picture that greener grass over there on the other side of the fence. WHY mothers shame themselves for fantasizing about a child-free trip to Paris or a night out at the clubs is a maddening mystery. But, many of us do it….just piling on the shame, willy-nilly.
-Working: This is a biggie for Lauren. Her community is filled with other moms who either stay at home or work part time…creating an illusion of mother-child-togetherness bliss that constantly taunts her. Also, It stings to know that other people are essentially raising her child. And then there’s that awful question ‘well why have kids if you never spend time with them?’ I don’t know, fuckface, why did you get married/have a relationship if you only see your partner at the beginning and end of the day ?? Oh because you love a person and you make those hours count? Now there’s a thought.
As you can see, there’s a lot of tension and emotion going on for moms. Or at least for Lauren. Maayan refreshingly points out how INSANE these expectations seem to be…and it’s a good point: Why is it that when women have children, they suddenly feel the drive to be perfect at every facet of their life?
Sure, some lucky ladies don’t beat themselves up over their dirty house, others are fine with letting their children watch a TV show here and there…but if they’re not down on themselves, there will always be another judgmental mother out there to do the job for them. As Lauren explains in the podcast, the online mommy community can often be more vicious and catty than a high school homecoming committee. (Just see what online commenting did to our beloved mommy blogger, MODG–hint–she felt too judged and decided to stop blogging. Awful.)
Oh, and WHY aren’t fathers plagued by the same issues??? Dads, weigh in, if you don’t mind. We’ll be planning an episode on THAT juicy topic soon enough….
Here’s the lovely family dinner Maayan talked about
Moving on: Rant, Rave, Tips are now Rant, Rave, Tip, PONDERS.
Yes, we’ve added a category. Sometimes, there are topics, thoughts, and things in life that don’t warrant anything as strong as a rant or a rave, and they aren’t really practical enough for a tip, yet they’re certainly worth talking about. Like, why is it so hard to stay grateful for what we have, or is it okay to not put grocery items back where you found them but instead place them randomly and sneakily on a shelf that’s convenient? Stuff like that.
This week, Lauren has a rant….which basically serves as an ANNOUNCEMENT as well. She went jogging the other day, and it positively sucked. But not for the usual, everyday, jogging-just-sucks-for-everyone kind of way. It sucked because she now has a baby bump, roughly 5 months along, that was pounding repeatedly into all her internal organs, particularly her bladder, with every jogging step she took. So yes, folks, it’s official….Lauren will be inviting even MORE MOMMY GUILT into her life come late January! Get ready for some FUN podcasts and posts about the joys (or lack thereof) of pregnancy. More on that here
Maayan has a tip: Don’t let go of the (dare we say?) dying form of face-to-face communication. So much of how we talk to each other now is electronic…and so much can get lost. Maayan believes Facetime–the handy app on iPhones that lets us have a visual of your friend while you talk, is woefully underused, considering what a magical difference it can make. So, make time for Facetime…if you can. More on that here