Am I old enough to start complaining about “kids these days”? At 30, for sure I am. OK but I’m not really here to complain, or talk about kids, directly. This is more about my dismay over the state of media and literature. I’m probably about to make myself sound very old and miserable, though I will try not to. Here goes.
I’m tired of shock-factor mom blogs. There, I said it. I recently read a blog by a mom who likened her post-partum genitalia to an animal that I’ve only seen in real life at my local zoo and once along the side of the road on Koh Phagnan. Prior to reading that blog, I’d already been getting a bit tired of the “real side of motherhood” blogs that I’ve been inundated with since joining Team Mom more than three years ago. One of the things that bugged me about moms long before I became one myself (and one of the things that I swore I would never allow myself to become guilty of) is how self-absorbed moms and pregnant women appeared to be. Example: I was at Ikea with a friend once and a woman with a large belly and cart full of wares was in front of us in line. We were talking, and the woman shifted her cart. Something long and pointed that stuck out of her cart whacked my friend on the side of the head and caught in her hoop earring. The pregnant woman looked, saw that it was caught, scowled and jerked the cart away without saying a word. When I mentioned the incident later to coworkers, I was advised that “pregnant women have a lot on their minds” and that was the reason this chick was so rude.
The conclusion I came to was that pregnant women and mothers of young children believe the world revolves around them, and I still find this to be true everywhere I go. You hear it again and again; “motherhood is the hardest job in the world”. Wrong. Totally not the hardest job in the world. “My vagina has wings that flap in the wind”. Gross! For me this raises a couple of questions. 1. Who cares? Obviously, these posts garner a lot of attention, so clearly a lot of people care (question 1a. Why?) or rather they can relate to this, or it makes them feel better about themselves – it has something to do with them, as moms, reinforcing the idea that the world revolves around them, as moms. Question 2. What happened to self-respect? Am I bit of a prude for finding this comment grossly inappropriate? Maybe…no. No, I’m not. That is inappropriate.
You see this stuff everywhere – it’s got that self-deprecating, “please like me”, “they can’t make fun of me if I make fun of myself first” sort of quality that just makes me sad. Yes, you became a mom, it wasn’t what you expected, no one handed you a trophy. Surprise! So people deal with this disappointment by writing blog posts about things like the horrid changes that happened to their bodies, the intent of which seems, to me, to be to shock people into sharing it all over Facebook so they can get lots and lots of attention from people they don’t know and feel validated that their efforts and what they went through earned them some respect. But attention and respect aren’t the same thing, and you’ve “earned” it at too high a cost for me. Exploiting your motherhood and body is a bit too much for me.
So many new-ish moms seem so angry. I see letters to their pre-child selves, open letters to people without children, and other passive-aggressiveness. It was entertaining the first time. Then it got sad when people started copying it, talking passionately about it, taking it too far. People without kids don’t really read stuff like that, so it’s not going to solve any problems. To sum it up, my problem with the momblog world is that moms (yeah I’m making a big, offensive blanket statement here, but understand that I obviously don’t mean EVERY mom) are so self-involved that they think that they’ve achieved something spectacular by being a mom (not entirely untrue) and that they deserve recognition for it (there’s the catch). From everybody. And they’re going to lengths to which they should be ashamed and embarrassed to get that recognition.
So, what is the moral of the story? It’s not a moral – it’s an appeal. PLEASE, moms, can we get our dignity back?