Sex, Lies & Mommy-Blogging
I'm glad Mommy blogs weren't around when my firstborn was a baby. I might have killed myself, quite honestly. I always go a bit crazy after I childbirth as it is--PPD, roller-coaster hormones, sleep deprivation--and I'm fairly certain all the pretty, popular and practically perfect Mommy blogs would have thrown me over the edge. All the beautiful home-births! All the cloth diapering! All the homeschooling of your children (in Latin!) before they turn 3! Not to mention all the organic oatmeal containers re-purposed as side-table lamps on Pinterest.
Ultimately, all the daily reminders that no matter how hard I try, I suck as a Mother. And also, why have I never thought to upcycle my cloth diapers into new window curtains? Because I'm a terrible mother, that's why!
Maybe Al Gore invented the Internet, but sometimes I think Mothers invented the Mommy-blog the better to eat their fellow Mommies, my dear.
If I were a New Mom right now? I'd be so intimidated. But thankfully, I'm an Old Mom and very content to have given birth to five human beings, none of those births being anything other than ugly, brutal and bloody. I did not call my hypnotist or doula to help me achieve a "beautiful birth." The only thing I called for was: "DRUGS! MORE DRUGS!"
After childbirth, I did not dress-up in a cute little nightgown and post pictures of myself on Facebook with the caption: "Placentas don't taste that bad, afterall!" In fact, I did not even watch myself in the mirror as I pushed out babies.
I did, however, get to see a geyser of blood hit the ceiling during childbirth--which detail is NOT part of ANY Birth Plan that includes words like "beautiful" or "spiritual experience."
Look, even my Birth Plan wasn't planned. But it did include words like: THIS IS ***** INSANE, MOTHER***** HOW THE **** AM I SUPPOSED TO ******OUCH! OUCH! I'M DYIIIING!!
All I'm saying is, I'd like to return to a simpler time when mothers were allowed to have ugly births and weren't held up for public scorn if they decided to (horrors!) formula-feed their babies. What's so hard about just saying: "Good for you!" and meaning it?
Instead, we've got all these Mommy-Designer/Lifestyle blogs that make motherhood seem like one transcendent dream of all-organic, water-birthing, co-sleeping crocheted tricycle wheel covers.
There's nothing wrong, of course, with pretending like your life is a lovely dream. This is why I like to peruse Martha Stewart books--because her dreams are so pretty. But here's the difference: I understand she has a full-time staff of people staging, photographing and editing her dream to make it look real.
The trouble with Designer/Crafting/Cooking/Lifestyle Mommy blogging is that it appears as if these Mommies do it all without any outside help. As if, baby, they were born this way. Being a Proverbs 31 Woman just comes naturally! And don't forget to like my Facebook fan page so I can send you a free sample of all-natural vitamin supplements!
Nobody ever mentions how last week they had to call Poison Control because their toddler guzzled some bleach--(oops, can't let anyone know you use bleach because then you might lose that sponsor who is paying you to promote their all-natural cleaning products on your blog!!)
These falsehoods are only made worse by the putting on of superior airs, the passive-aggressive language that suggests if you reeeeeeally loved you children, you wouldn't send them to public school or give them anything other than The Very Best.
The main problem I have with these ideas are that they seek to define Motherhood--indeed, your entire identity as a person--by the way you bake your bread, decorate your house or educate your children.
And that's a definition of womanhood I wholesale reject mainly because it only works with a small percentage of the global female population; ie. upper-middle-class, privileged.
So, if feminism is to move forward, I think we Older Moms owe New Mothers the space not to feel crushed under the pressure of pretending it's all so very perfect. Wanting to be a good mother is good. New mothers want to give their babies the best. But this urge can easily become an unhealthy, hurtful compulsion when you're comparing yourself to your favorite Mommy blogger who somehow manages to run four miles a day, homeschool her six children and take beautiful, well-staged photos of her all-organic, gluten-free dinners--without any paid staff or outside help.
I used to believe in Only The Best For My Children and now I've mellowed a bit and believe in grace and good enough and sometimes Chicken McNuggets.
I believe in working hard and in giving myself a break. I believe in blogging about real life and not making anyone feel like a crap-Mother after reading my posts.
Mostly, I believe there are many ways to mother well. And you are the best mother for your children so don't let any blogger (myself included!) make you feel otherwise.
As a wise sage once said (and I'm paraphrasing, here), it's better to be imperfectly YOU than to be a perfect imitation of someone else.
I don't know who said that but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a Mommy blogger.