The funny thing about blogging is how you can read someone’s blog for a while, feel like you know them as a real person, and then they just…disappear. Right? So, hi again. Nice of you to stop by.
So I’ve been reading a lot of Paul Auster, and he totally blows my MIND. After Invisible, I read Man in the Dark, then The New York Trilogy, but I must say that his best work is The Book of Illusions – so if you only read one, there it is.
Then I read all the Gillian Flynn books (I do love a quick creepy read), and liked them all. Not exactly Literature, but fun vacation novels if you like gothic stuff. Of the three (Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl), Gone Girl is the best, and I just heard that the movie is in pre-production starring Reese Witherspoon. Good times.
But I’m not really in the mood to write about books today. I’m in the mood for a Rant.
I’m back with a vengeance today, a score to settle. If you have problems with language, you might want to stop right here. Shit’s about to get real.
A few months ago, I came across this as it raced around the web.
Then, today, this one popped up on my Facebook feed.
And here’s my response, that’s been percolating in my brain for a long while now.
These essays piss me THE FUCK off.
But why, you might ask? These writers are advocating for children, and encouraging parents to be more loving, more present, more attentive.
My answer? Bullshit. I don’t buy it. I don’t trust their motives. And – how dare they presume to know my life, or anyone else’s, for that matter?
I don’t believe that these essays are concerned with the children. Instead, I believe that they are aimed at mothers specifically to make us feel bad about ourselves. They are driven by guilt, to impart guilt. And there’s enough of that in the world. I think these essays are perfect examples, on the global scale, of the type of mother you meet at the playground and then avoid like a pox at every future playdate – you know, the one who says shit like, “My daughter has been reading since she was eight months old! She’s even learning Proto-Germanic, and we’re taking a class on Seurat and pointillism at the MFA. What about your son? He looks like such a healthy boy.” I’m tired of the thinly-veiled criticism – the kind of criticism that tries to obscure itself as “helpful” or “constructive.” We mothers work hard. Motherhood, in all its incarnations (single, “working”-mom, “SAH”M, whatever, who cares?!?) is difficult, important work. It is unrelenting. It is constant. It is the land of no sleep and the constant feeling that you’re fucking everything up. It is worry and prayer and more worry. And it never ends – not when they leave for college, not when they get married, not even if they (God forbid) die, as this heartbreaking essay so eloquently puts it.
Additionally, and this is but a side note – if we all agree that motherhood is a Job, then we should all agree that mothers need resources and equipment with which to perform that job. No one tells my husband to get off his phone during the work day – because everyone understands that he needs said phone to do his job effectively. And guess what? I don’t have a work day. I have a work life. So when I’m emailing or texting or on the internet on my phone at 8 pm, or midnight, or 7 am, chances are high that I’m doing something like one the following (all things I have personally done on my phone in the last 24 hours, by the way):
1) Arranging a parent-teacher conference for Kid1
2) Searching the public library database for a book needed for her copperhead snake project
3) Emailing her teacher that the required book wasn’t available
4) Rescheduling a cello lesson for Kid2
5) Organizing snacks for Kid3’s soccer game
6) Videotaping Kid1 and Kid2’s music recital, then emailing it to their grandparents
7) Planning sleepovers for Kid1, Kid2, and Kid3
8) Collecting money for Kid1’s Girl Scout troop
9) Coordinating CCE carpools for Kid1 and Kid2
10) And so on and so forth.
But my main point is this. I’m allowed a life. If I’m at T-ball practice and happen to get on Facebook and have a laugh with some friends, or check out my cousin’s latest Instagram offering, or watch a Lonely Island video – GET OFF MY BACK. Don't you dare judge me. At times, these are the only things keeping me sane, and I’m a better parent for them. It’s okay for me to take a break. No one can or should be productive every second of every day. We need some space, throughout our day to decompress, to unwind. To laugh. And honestly, I think one of the big problems in our culture is that we spend WAY too much time worshipping at our kids’ feet. You know what? If I miss five seconds of her twirling on the beach, she’s gonna live. And she will probably be the better for it.
But you know, if you disagree with my take on this, that’s cool. Those of you who object probably shouldn’t have been wasting your kids’ time by reading this anyway. You should be baking brownies from scratch while completing your son’s science fair project. And you probably missed an entire minute of fingerpainting. You’d better make that shrink appointment now, because your kid is screwed. Hopefully your phone is nearby. Oh wait.