Things Moms Can't Say
Editor's note: this is the first in a series of "Things X Can't Say"; whether its Moms, Dads, Women, Men, etc - all about how we feel judged for our decisions when we really need to lift each other up in support. If you have something you would like to write, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week I was sitting at a kid sports thing and was texting a girlfriend who was also sitting at a kid sports thing and we were commiserating about our mom commitments. At first it was the usual back and forth banter between moms, but then it turned serious; she told me it was suffocating her. We agreed to meet up (on her back patio, because, kids) for a glass of wine after sports things and discuss further.
Being a mom is an experience that varies for everyone. As a mom of two kids, ages 8 and 9 years old, I’ve met loads of moms. Moms like to talk about being moms and because of this, I’ve heard tons of mom testimony, and they are all different. For the most part, mom testimony is positive. It includes all of the pride and joy they get from their little pride and joys. I see women in my mom network posting their highlight reel in social media to back up their mom testimony. And for the most part, I believe them. I truly believe there are women who LOVE being a mom and find joy and fulfillment in every single moment of their mom experience.
I am not one of those moms.
It has taken me 9.5 years to be okay with this. I’m just not that mom. Does it mean I love my kids less than Joyful Mom? HECK NO.
I mama bear so fierce for my kids, I am their biggest cheerleader, we have fun sometimes, and we have a pretty great relationship. BUT, I find the day-in-day-out minutiae of parenting life-sucking and mundane. There is no joy for me in refereeing fights over who gets the last fruit snack in the pantry. Getting up and having to watch Shark Boy and Lava Girl on a Saturday morning is not my idea of an ideal start of the weekend. Even something that SHOULD be fun, like going to the beach, becomes a chore with kids. It all starts with a good intention of making memories and laughing and playing in the surf and quickly turns into someone throwing sand in someone's eyes and someone stepping on a jelly fish and someone always ends up crying (usually me). Exhausting.
I’ve been talking with other women about this topic lately and I think more moms feel the same than what we are all letting on. We need to say it out loud, ladies. We need to support each other and drop the judging and say the ugly truths about this parenting experience. It’s hard sometimes and while there are certainly moments that bring joy and moments that bring a feeling of fulfillment, for some of us, those moments are the minority of the time we spend parenting.
We need to stop feeling guilty.
I am giving myself and all of the other Complacent Moms a pass. There is nothing wrong with us. We are not selfish. We are women who are there for our kids but who also take care of ourselves. We NEED to take better care of ourselves. Why does a second grade soccer game take priority over a mom’s night out with her friends or a book club she’s been looking forward to? Who wrote these rules? And when? It may be time for a revision of the rules of parenting where the moms are expected to drop their lives and conform to this archaic standard of “sacrifice” to our children’s schedules. You’ll make it to a majority of soccer games- but you can also send them with a car pool and make it to your book club; THE KIDS ARE GOING TO BE JUST FINE. You are an individual outside of being a mom and it’s okay to own that.
Shannah is the Director of Member Services for Social Graces Social Club, the Houston-based, national club of the Socially Conscious Fashionista movement, that focuses on men and women of substance. A Trunk Keeper for Matilda Jane Clothing, she has been dressing the little girls of the Houston area in twirly dresses for over 4 years. Mom of two, she wears the many hats involved with parenting school-aged children. IG: @shannahbanana2012 FB: @Shannahquinn Twitter: @domesticninja socialgracesocial.club matildajaneclothing.com/shannahquinn