I'm not only over and done with most of the parenting bullshit, I'm also getting more and more tired of reading about it. Yes, I realize I'm no longer part of that dewy, sparkling generation of "New Mommies", but I know I'm not the only one who reads the never-ending posts and articles and manually pulls my eyeballs out of their sockets just so I can literally roll them across the floor.
Before I get a bunch of cool young moms on my old ass, listen up: I am in awe of the support that's available to parents now. When I first became a mom, I felt like I was alone. I hated it at the beginning, if we're going to be super honest here. My firstborn came out of the gate with wicked colic and it lasted almost 6 months. I remember sitting with my lactation group (oh the things you can do when you only have one kid) and describing to them how badly I wanted to hurl my squalling, pinched face demon of a baby against a wall some days. They looked at me like I had just admitted to actually doing it. I'll never, ever forget the one mom sitting across from me, her own baby suckling contentedly at her breast, and saying to me, "I think you're kind of overreacting. He's just a baby." If my stumpy leg could have managed it, I would have crotch-kicked her under that table.
What I'm saying is, I understand what you're mired in. And those of you who are relatively new to this parenting gig, consider yourselves so fortunate that you have an entire Internet full of sympathetic ears. I know you're also exposed to so much more as far as criticism and pressure goes, too, which sucks. It was hard enough being a new mom and only having the skeptical eyes of one small group of lactating women on me.
But here's the deal: I find myself groaning when certain topics are covered in parenting blogs. And no, there is nobody holding a gun to my head, hissing through clenched teeth, "READ THESE POSTS OR SWEAR TO GOD I'LL PULL THE TRIGGER". I read a lot. Not books, oh dear no. The books are stacked up on my nightstand and the coffee table like tipsy towers of papery guilt, reminding me that once upon a time I was a voracious reader. No, these days, most of my reading is done on my laptop and, when I can find my reading glasses, on my phone. And usually while I wait in the car for a kid, or when I wake up at 3 in the morning and have played all my rounds of Trivia Crack and can't fall back to sleep.
The parenting blog posts are everywhere. They pop up in my Facebook feed, they're links on Twitter and I get the e-newsletters in my email. Sometimes they reel me in and I genuinely enjoy what I've read, but like I said one long-winded paragraph ago...sometimes not so much. I've compiled a little listicle describing what I've dubbed "The Five Dead Horses Of Parenting Blogs", and I'm trying to make 2015 the year I stop clicking on links that sound even remotely close to these subjects:
1. Earnest, vaguely hipsterish Stay At Home Dads reminding us of how awesome they are. Look, we all get it. You are part of the New Wave of Fatherhood. I love it! Time was, a dad would show up at the playground during daylight hours and it was like a Sasquatch sighting. Now, it's run of the mill. How great for your kids that they get to have a parent home with them. But guys...the world doesn't need one more tragically ironic photo of you looking all seriously serious with pony-tails in your big bushy beard, having a tea party with Hazel Louise and/or having your fingernails painted by Axl. And by the by, can people stop with the "Now THAT is a great dad!" comments? Yes, they're great. But so are the dads who are out working their asses off to provide for their families. Hell, in my humble opinion, just being a contributing father, whether you provide income or care or both, makes you a great dad.
2. Bitching about not being able to use the bathroom in peace. I kind of understand this one, up to a point. I was in that boat for a long time, where showers were done furtively and quickly, with constant peeks out of the shower curtain to make sure the baby in the car seat hadn't choked or fallen out. And I have experience in sitting on the toilet, doing my business, while breastfeeding (who knew that learning how to wipe with a baby on my lap would be great training for Future Me and my lovely panniculus? Google it, I can't be bothered to provide an explanation right now. Three c-sections, bitches!)
Look, babies who need constant supervision are one thing. But kids who understand words and are capable of being left in a room by themselves for four minutes have zero reasons to be in the bathroom while you take a dump or change your tampon or scream into a pillow. Are there bathroom doors without locks now? Is this something new? You are the grown up, my friends. Kids don't have to have free reign of your homes. If you don't like eyes on you while you're in there, don't allow the eyes to be there in the first place. My kids knew from the time they could walk that Mommy needed a modicum of privacy now and then. Bathroom doors were, and still are, closed while occupied. And if you are one of the "B-b-but I don't want my kids to grow up ashamed of our beautiful and amazing bodies and what they can do!!" then zip it about how you can't get two freaking seconds to yourself while your beautiful and amazing body does its job.
3. Vagina talk, and the endless euphemisms for the word "vagina". Yes, I know...I wrote an award-winning (LOL) post about this subject. But that was two years ago and it was already getting old (the subject, and also my vagina...ba dum BUM). It's wonderful that we are all confident and secure enough to talk openly...nay, BRAVELY, about these miraculous machines between our legs, and what we endure with them but can we move on? Hooha, vajayjay, lady garden (yes Anatomy Experts I know that's in reference to the pubic hair region), lady bits, meat curtains, poon/tang/poontang, coochie, cloven tuft, moose knuckle, baby cannon, tuna taco, Hairy Manilow, sperm harbor, etc. It's one thing to be loitering outside of a high school boy's locker room and hear these things, quite another to read yet another (almost) middle aged woman spouting the same hilarity ad nauseam.
4. The Mother Effing Mommy Wars. For the love of God, it has to stop. Or at least, the baiting articles and comments need to end. We have become a Harpy Nation of Screaming Sneetches with stars upon thars, desperately trying to win some imaginary competition and figuratively shitting all over anyone who doesn't parent exactly like us. This is one area where social media and mommy blogging and ALL OF THE INTERNETS has hurt. You can be as proud and as pleased with yourself all you want, just know that you can't swing your elbows without hitting someone who thinks you are a magnificent failure. Oh, you had a c-section? Poor thing, you didn't get to really give birth! Oh, you stay at home with your kids? Nice yoga pants, you lazy mooch. Oh, you don't breastfeed? Enjoy your sickly children, loser. Gah, you nursed your baby out in public? Way to expose innocent men and children to your sex-charged milk bags, slut! You work full-time? Must be nice to have someone else raise your kids, working girl. Did I miss any?
I don't know when this crap started, and who knows when it will end. But maybe, just maybe, if we stop being such bitches to each other, it will ease up a bit.
5. All of the Woe is (Mom)Me blathering. "Parenting is hard!' "This isn't what I thought it would be!" "Some days I don't like my kids!" Guess what? This is a song as old as time, my friends. Ever since the first Cave Mom watched her husband walk out at the break of dawn to join in on the mammoth hunt, looked down at her screaming Cave Baby and thought "This not what me envisioned for self", people have been discovering just how hard parenting is. But I think the point has been made. Over and over. And over again. Life changes, sometimes kids are demanding, smelly dictators and we don't get what we expect when we're expecting. That's how the mama cookie crumbles...sweep up the crumbs or let the kids eat them off the floor. It's your call.
And that's where my grumpy old blogger rants ends. I am already envisioning some of the comments: "Don't like it? Don't read it, granny!" "Kiss my shiny waxed yeast cake, Jenny!" "Who asked you, anyway?" and maybe even "You nursed your kids for so long because you felt guilt over the c-sections, didn't you, freak?"
Of course these imaginary comments are all spot-on (except for the c-section one. I loved my c-sections, ladies, mostly because my daughter almost died during the lone vaginal birth, but that story has been told).
Please know that this isn't a diss to the Mommy Bloggers out there. They are wonderful and fabulous and serve a purpose. They provide support and camaraderie and many hilarious stories about poop and wine and husbands and dirty minivans and make funny parody videos. I'm just acknowledging that there comes a day in a woman's life when it's time to say goodbye to that phase, and move on. Kind of like when you have that big garage sale where you get rid of the baby gear and maternity clothes, right? It's a bittersweet parting.
I'll list some of my favorite blogs below. Can't call them Non-Mommy Blogs because many are penned by actual parents, but they cover issues that have nothing to do with parenting (and if they do discuss parenting, it's usually not the typical mommy-blog fare). If you have any to add, please do so in the comments.
And please, be gentle and non-judgy if you see me reading yet another tale of potty training or how Caillou is the Antichrist and rolling my tired old eyes. This will be a gradual wean, people. *sniff*
THE BLOGS I LOVE:
A My Name is Amy: Divorce, single parenting, generally being a boss of life. Love her!
Nina Badzin: Books books and more books! Mom of four, strong voice in the Minneapolis Jewish community, all around fun and smart lady.
The More, The Messier (Suburban Correspondent): Another "seasoned" Mom! She has lots of kids! She's smart and has stayed married a long time and is one of the most down-to-earth, honest bloggers I know. (and she homeschools which I think is the bomb...lucky kids!)
Momastery: Duh. Glennon, Monkees, reality checks daily.
Bitches Gotta Eat: Just give me one Saturday with her, please. Single, no kids, living the single life without a lot of money. Samantha Irby completes me.
Abby Has Issues: I heart Abby. Single, no kids, 30-ish funny woman. She keeps it real.
The Bloggess: It's Jenny Lawson. That is all. (have I
Mandy Fish: A gorgeous, smart Buddhist who writes like a mofo. I wish she'd hurry up and get her memoir published. I'd put that sucker on the TOP of one of my book towers.
Galit Breen, These Little Waves: One of the most genuinely beautiful people I know. She's a mommy, she's a blogger, but I don't think I've ever read the words "poop" or "vagina" on her blog. She's big into craft beer and she's a dog lover. Plus she knows the band teacher at my school so we're 6 degrees and all that.
Tracy Morrison, Sellabit Mum: I love Tracy. She's my period-spirit-animal. Also a mom, she tackles real issues like body image, health issues, marriage and the chick RUNS. Like, 26 miles at a time. A lot.
Smitten Kitchen: I got my kick ass Chicken Marsala recipe from her. And many other things I could actually make and not ruin. Great recipes, fun writing.
Chump Lady: If you've been cheated on, this is the blog for you. And don't tell her, but I have a major blog crush on the author, Tracy Schorn. In my mind she has a raspy voice and an East Coast accent. She lives in Texas.
Shannon Lell Girl is good. She's a mommy, too. But also a writer, an editor, a new divorcee and one of the strongest, smartest women I know.
Domestic Spaz: I've "known" Beth for years, from back in the old eBay chatboard days. She's funny, she's a devoted mom and loves her man fiercely. I want to go to Florida and hang out with her.
Back to Allen: My beautiful friend Lisa's blog. She's a single mom to older kids, a passionate writer and she once sent me homemade preserves. I love her.
So, so many more to add but I'm going to bed. Peace, homies. I love you all!