The title of today’s episode should elicit a pretty clear reaction in most of you.
Some will say, “I’d love that!” – exasperated.
And others will say, “Because then it wouldn’t feel like motherhood”.
I’ll link the article in the shown notes. It’s a good, and long piece by USA today’s Alia Dastagir.
And I’m going to weasel my way into this conversation because I’m an involved father, and when I read it, I think, What if parenting didn’t have to be so hard?
And my reaction was “Because then it wouldn’t feel like motherhood”.
I throw out my honest answer because it cuts to the heart of what I think is a cultural expectation.
I mean, I literally think – If parenting wasn’t exhausting to me, and overwhelming most of the time – I would feel like I could be doing more.
And that’s the cultural problem right there.
Just like when your boss asks you to do something – and you hold back just a little – Could you have formatted that report differently? Or stayed a few more minutes after your shift to clean something up? Yea, probably, but your boss will then ask you to do that all the time. That’s culture. That’s what society expects of us as parents too. To go the extra mile, else you want your kid to be successful. To get that popular Christmas present, else you don’t love your kid enough.
And this article focused on the tangible shifts.
Less mothers staying home with their kids.
Increased child care costs.
Grandparents don’t live as close.
Social Media compares you to every other lying mother out there.
"People think motherhood is inherently overwhelming because we've made that idea seem natural," said the quoting professor. "We normalize the hardships of motherhood. ... This is now what's familiar."
Combine the lack of guaranteed maternity leave with a culture that bullies mothers for everything from breastfeeding in public to sleep training, and the generosity of a single holiday starts to pale.
I’m sorry mothers. Give yourself a break. I’ll work on helping educate, but we all have to work to change that voice in our heads which blames ourselves. Let’s start, by working on that.