When a woman makes negative comments about the big “M” known as Motherhood, there are those who act as if a major sin has been committed. There is nothing, NOTHING, more challenging, exhausting, frustrating and sleep deprived as being a parent. You don’t get breaks, you don’t get vacations, you give of yourself in ways you never thought possible, and the thanks you get is like a drop of water in the middle of a thirty day march in the desert. Not enough to relieve the thirst, but delicious just the same.
I was taking a day off from work to take care of my six-year-old son who had come down with his second ear infection of the season (How on earth is this a day off from work?), and The Talk was on TV. It’s one of those women-gathered-around-the-table-talking-about-women-related- subjects, shows. A viewer sounded off on motherhood and some of its downfalls. The audience gasped. I was thinking “you’re preaching to the choir sista,” but according to the audience response, I must have been in the minority
It cracks me up that every time a woman complains about parenting, the battle cry of “Enjoy your children, it goes by so fast,” or “But the rewards are well worth the work,” rears its off key warble. Complaining does not mean I would trade one second of life with my children for something else, it means that I have a need to vent, and dismissing that need as if it were trivial negates just how challenging being a Mom can be. A Fortune 500 CEO can vent and complain about the downside of a company, and no one blinks an eye, but let a woman complain about the loss of interesting conversation because she’s too busy changing diapers or burping babies, and the judging begins.
Our second child came a full nine years after our first. We were truly under the delusion that we were a complete size as a family. The changes that came prior to and upon our son’s arrival made my head spin. I had to trade in the VW Bug I always wanted and was enjoying, for the big honking mini-van. I love my son, but I still miss my Bug. I left a job that I enjoyed to be home with a newborn. I gave up traveling with fellow musicians, learning and sharing our craft, to change diapers and sing lullabies. No guitar or piano could ever hug me or smile at me and send me to the moon the way my daughter and son do, but I still miss crafting a melody with those who understand the intricacies of note upon note. The choices I made were mine to make, but even the right choices can be hard.
My husband and I attended a long anticipated wedding when our son was two. Shortly after eating a splendorous buffet, but well before the festivities truly began at the reception, our baby-sitter called. My then 11 year-old- daughter was distraught beyond belief at how her baby brother was still crying for Mama and Daddy. My son was a sobbing, heart-broken mess, and the baby-sitter was stressed to the point of hysteria. We did what we had to do and left the wedding. My husband was put out beyond all measure. He complained about missing a good time and how he couldn’t believe we had to leave to take care of the children. Understand that my husband is the biggest of teddy bears. There is nothing this man would not do for his children, but this was the first time he ever had to give up his plans to attend to his children. It’s not the T-Ball, Band, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, planned activities that knock the air out of you, it’s the unexpected that can throw you off kilter, and it hit my husband smack in the kisser. Welcome to my world, I thought, but didn’t say. He was disappointed enough without me showing my, uh, hind end.
It’s hard being a Mom. Go ahead, say it. There is no mea culpa in venting. There is nothing wrong with stating your case. Not if it’s fact. We’re allowed to vent, really. In the mean-time, I need to go pick up my daughter from band, instead of planning the next blog. Life goes on, we vent, we juggle, we give to others as we give of ourselves. I am the CEO of my children’s well-being and I love them, no matter what I’ve given up for them. Like any company, sometimes mine doesn’t go the way I planned and I'm allowed to complain about it.