Eight years ago I became a mother to a beautiful healthy little boy. Not a day goes by that he does not make me smile. Four and a half years later I became the mother of yet another gorgeous son. Today as I try very hard to balance my needs against my competing responsibilities, the one thing that I am sure of is that motherhood is not easy.
Since starting my own blog I have had the pleasure to converse with many wonderful women that are both professionals, bloggers and mothers. Octagalore from Astarte’s Circus never fails to challenge my assumptions and leave me deep in thought. Tammy, of What Tammy Said overwhelms me with her brilliance, and BFP, of Flip Flopping Joy humbles me with her passion. These women come from completely different backgrounds and yet we are all united by the shared experience of motherhood.
Each day we awake to different struggles, sorrows, and joys. Each of us has a unique voice and yet the one thing I am certain of after reading and interacting with these women, is that motherhood is an essential part of our lives. Our blogs cover various topics and we are determined to examine the world around us from the multiple lenses of class, race, gender. We do not speak with a unified voice and yet we are all mothers.
Mommy blogging has become a cottage industry. As these women speak endlessly about their children and the challenges that comes from trying to mother in a world where women are expected to be perfect at all times; hawking the occasional diaper genie or changing pad can lead to very big bucks. Dooce is one of the most popular blogs on the internet and is so successful it now supports a family.
I guess what I am basically saying is that it does not matter that you may have spent hours walking the floor with a colicky infant, changed diapers until you thought your arms would fall off, or learned the lyrics to to the opening theme of Franklin; unless you are willing to follow the script your motherhood will not be acknowledged in the online sphere. The highly coveted title of mommy blogger belongs to those that continually post about their little angels.
You see, once you have given birth your every waking thought must be about your little angel if you are to be understood as a “real mommy”. If you are not pondering how to get the puke stain out of your angels favourite shirt or wondering how you can hide the vegetables in dinner you are not doing your due diligence and the mommy regulators will be sure and let you know.
LABELS, LABELS, LABELS, women can wear more than one hat at a time. It does not mean that if your attention is diverted from your kids that suddenly you stop being a mother or that it is not an important identity for you. Modern motherhood is about more than adventures in potty training (twitter followers know what I mean). I’m not ever going to be the stepford mommy that wears pearls and heels to vacuum and whips out cookies like my next orgasm is dependent on it.
I will occasionally lock the bathroom door and hide. Reading for me still involves more than Green Eggs and Ham or Jacob Two Two. Yep, you can be a mother and read the New York Times, or Time magazine. No, you will not get struck by lightening if you refuse to treat Parents magazine like your personal bible. While I am up on the latest slang thanks to an energetic eight year old, surprisingly I have not give up using words that contain multiple syllables. As much as the mommy collective would like to create motherhood as an OCD adventure, you can tailorize the experience to your comfort level.
So as I was saying when I started this rant: eight years ago after a sanity inducing epidural, I spread my legs while my vagina stretched to a size I thought was humanely impossible and gave birth to a wonderful little boy. As life altering as that experience was, I decided that retaining my individuality would be a good decision. The mommysphere may not think that I am the stuff that good mommy bloggers are made up of but unfortunately I refuse to believe that kool aid is a wonderful drink even when served in a crystal wine glass.