Yep. I said it. We’re basketcases and we all know it. It’s concerning that I say this, but not shocking to most. Right? No big news flash that motherhood will drive you nutty.
But, modern day parenthood has driven us completely bonkers. Dads, of course, are becoming more and more active in their families, which is awesome. It’s not that they love their children any less. But, men have a way of letting things go and are far less to prone to guilt. Women are wired differently.
Modern mothers are losing their minds, and it’s an epidemic.
I am seriously starting to think that women are burning themselves out so much that they are unable to be successful in any or all parts of their lives. My friends, when they are honest, are all so tired and stressed. And, don’t get me wrong, so am I a whole lot of days.
But, what happened? I don’t think motherhood was always like this.
In my opinion, we have idolized and idealized the child.
Children are absolute magic. I cannot get enough of them. I really love kids.
BUT, kids are still kids. As a matter of fact, they have zero other roles or responsibilities in this world than to be kids. To learn stuff. To play and investigate. Period. And, if left to their own devices, that is what most children will do all day.
Instead, the Pinterest-age mom is hovered over the computer like a Looney Tune trying to figure out how to bake 3 ingredient cookies while the kids make their crocheted oven mitts. Oh, and then she is also trying to work during the week. Because, most of us work outside of the home these days.
That is not a slam on stay at home moms, either. Because, that’s a whole other kind of hard that can seriously turn you into a loon. Plus, there’s so much more pressure to do all of the Pinterest crap because you are supposed to be not only a mother, but a part-time preschool teacher.
Then, there’s the work at home moms (like me, at the moment) who have a lot of advantages as far as flexibility. But, I also have to sit and stare at my laundry pile while I work and sometimes I get the extra special pleasure of attempting to do my job with a small child begging for juice and crackers every 5 minutes while the cat throws up on the carpet.
I am glad that my kids are in preschool, not just because it lets me work, but because it grants them opportunities for socialization and learning that I simply can’t provide. But, again, even if I was able to do so, why is that my job? I don’t want to do it and my kids would rather go to school than stay here with me all day so that is what I call a win-win.
But, there’s something going on that is putting everyone on the losing side…
When did moms stop asking other moms for help? Or talking to the teacher, honestly, about the kids? Or thinking that kids are resilient and sturdy? When did children become porcelain figures that are so easily shattered?
Mothers are losing their minds because we are putting an obscene amount of pressure on ourselves to make crafts and cupcakes and make sure the kids have every educational opportunity out there, and we feel like we have to do it on our own.
My grandmother who raised her kids in the 50’s tells of rotating kids through the neighbors’ houses and sharing parenting duties with both her sister and her mother. The kids ran around after school and played at friends’ houses. Mothers looked after one another’s kids and kept an eye out for the “village” in a way that we do not do anymore. Sure, part of that is because our lifestyles have changed in pretty big ways. BUT, we also no longer trust one another. We worry constantly about judgment from other parents and are always trying to stake our claim as the “best mom on the block.”
We are turning raising kids into a much harder job than it needs to be (and parenting is already the most difficult thing in the world).
The constant criticism and judgment between and amongst mothers is crazy. It’s as though the “Mommy Wars” robbed us of our comradery and also forced us to start comparing ourselves to others on social media or on TV. And, since when has comparing yourself to others’ highlight reels become a way of figuring out who you are supposed to be?
I love sharing photos of my kids and talking to family and friends (and, occasionally ranting) on Facebook, but to spend your whole life cropping, trimming and putting a filter on everything is pretty sad when you really think about it. Not everything has to be for public consumption.
Not everything is everyone else’s business.
When you think hard about what you are doing as mom (whether you are putting it on social media, or not), do you feel satisfied or confused and terrified? Terrified, right? Yeah, well that’s how it is for all of us. And, anyone who tells you that it isn’t is a liar. Period.
So, moms need to start reaching out for help when they need it. We also need to start cutting the list of what is our responsibility.
Guess what? Some DADS actually stay home these days. There are all sorts of moms and you don’t have to pick your identity off of what you see on a newsfeed. It is also more than OK to let teachers love on your kids while you are at work. In addition, you aren’t doing a thing wrong if you keep your kids home, but to ask your friends and family to come over and help so that you can live your life, run errands and just have time away from the kids.
I am lucky enough to have a husband that is so involved with the kids, the house and all aspects of family life that I rarely get burnt out in this way anymore. But, once upon a time, he worked 80 hour work weeks and I was a stay at home mom with 2 babies under 2 (those were dark times). And, I am not embarrassed to say that. It was a very special time in many ways, too. But, it was exhausting and nerve-racking and kind of awful sometimes. Just like anything else in life.
Which brings me to my next point…
Why is it OK to struggle when doing anything new, other than parenting? I mean, I know why we feel that we want to be on top of it and why it is hard to let go of the guilt. But, the reality is that parenting is a really, really hard job. It is also something that can be done with passion only when parents are satisfied in their own lives.
So, forget Pinterest and delete all of “those moms” on Facebook. Or, just ignore them. What they are putting out there is rarely reality and really shouldn’t matter anyway.
Otherwise, and I say this from experience, you will truly go crazy. Take my word for it and save on the therapy bills. 😉