Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Mommy bloggers: is only the ugly funny?

I'm a bit of a voracious reader of parenting memoirs. I love hearing other's experiences, especially those with vastly different one from my own. Many of such books I read  put on the library queue after someone links a mommy blogger post: written by someone who, unlike me, managed to turn her attention mongering and pathological need to share every aspect of her life with the internet into something concrete that makes her money. Which sometimes  I think I should do, but really, who has time for that?

I've seen a pattern emerge, and I wanted to explore it. Many of these books sport early reviews that speak of the "honesty" and "authenticity" of the author. The books therein almost universally speak of a house that's a war zone, a husband that's lazy and clueless, and kids that never clean up the messes they make and are mini-despots.

I figure that one (or parts or more) of three things must be true about these mommy-bloggers-turned-authors:

1) They're exaggerating in the interest of making the book more interesting

2) They simply are not past the often zombifying baby/toddler years

3) All they say is true and they desperately need to implement some time management and delegation of chores.

I'm not trying to say I have it all figured out, my house is always immaculate, or that there are never daysI 'd trade my husband in for a fictional man. In the interest of honesty; I yell at my kids too often, I am too often impatient with EVERYONE in my family, and I frequently send some kid to get started on dinner prep because I don't want to step away from the internet. I HATE playing games with my kids (OK, with anyone)  and even one game of Magic often requires them to bribe me with chores; I  make my eldest pay me for driving him to the comic book store, and I have told my kids that if they ever want to play an outdoor sport, that's fine, but I'd be dropping them off and heading to the nearest Starbucks. (luckily, our people don't really do outdoor activities so it's all good). But  have to wonder, do people really live this way? Do other husbands really come home from work, flop down on the couch, and not do their share of the baby care? Maybe I did luck out by having a husband who took seriously that nature had equipped me to be the food source and that I was home all day, and he changed diapers and walked babies for years on end. The "war zone house" years were short because I started expecting my kids to clean up after themselves as soon as they could walk, and by the age of 6 they were doing dishes (by hand!) and folding their own laundry. You can guess how much sympathy I have for someone with ablebodied tweens and teens who complains about the sink full of dishes, the messy house, or their kids' laundry.
And sleeping through the night? I don't buy the idea I've seen floated about, that you'll never sleep through the night again even after your kids do. I've been mostly doing it for years, and when  don't, my enemy  is usually a fascinating book, my desire to watch just "one more episode" of whatever my series of the month is, or my seeming inability to learn that I can't drink coffee late in the evening and still sleep later. Not my kids, not even when they get sick .(The last few times one of my kids got sick in the night, I only found out when they told me in the morning. Even the sound of someone vomiting in the next room didn't disturb my slumber/ Mother of the year!). In fact, my eldest just spent two weeks away, including a week in less than first world conditions, and I didn't even leave my phone on at night.
Parenting is not the rosy, sunshine soaked experience that the past has portrayed it as . But I don't think it's usually as dire and crazy making as the popular bloggers make it out to be. I'd try to convince people otherwise, but  think my story's too boring to sell.


At 8:05 PM, Blogger Maggie May said...

you made me laugh a few times, and I agree with a lot of what you are saying. there are just so many different circumstances... i know that with a lot of people, you delegate chores, but if both parents work full time, and the kids go to school and have activities, it is insane. at least when i was working full time that's how i felt. by the time i got home, there were literally about 3 hours for our entire family until bed, to talk, make and have dinner, clean, homework checks, answer phone, care for dogs, shower- it was really overwhelming.

I loved when you said 'our people do not do sports' haha!!!

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe said...

I know there are so many circumstances I can't speak to, but..I just finished "Motherhood Comes Naturally (and other vicious lies) and there were funny bits and parts where I wanted to slap the author with her own book. Aside from referring to her daughter as "bitch" because the kid wanted some of Mommy's Thai. She seemed to fetishize laziness and selfishness while at the same time whining that she had to do it all.


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