A recent survey done of all mothers 82 million moms in the U.S., reflects that nearly half of us are unhappy. Furthermore, nearly ¼ of all women are clinically depressed. 41% of new mothers were unmarried in 2008, women over 35 accounted for more pregnancies than teens (first time since the early 1990’s) and we’re educated too….Mothers in the 35 and over range had at least some college education (71% or more). So, what’s with all the numbers? We can thank The National Center for Health Statistics and Census Bureau for the data, but, the real question remains…Why is it that our society expects ALL WOMEN TO BE EXCELLENT AT MOTHERING? Does everyone expect all men to be great engineers, mathematicians, philosophers, astronomers, mechanics, husbands, FATHER’S? NO!!!! Have we worked so hard at making it look effortless that everyone assumes we’re all good at this?
How many times have you felt that somewhere in between tidying up the house, preparing nutritious, well-balanced meals, balancing the checkbook, your social calendar and your child’s ever changing wants/needs that you just want to SCREAM!!!!! Not out of anger (we’re honest right ladies – we did choose life after all), but, frustration borne out of not attending to things we still want to do. Yes, your children must come first, but that doesn’t mean you died when they were born? When’s the last time you felt entitled to pick up your guitar, your pen, your microphone, dance the night away and let loose. Where did you go momma, how did this happen to you? Furthermore, not every woman was chomping at the bit to have children. If you happen to have been content with or without them, then the invariably challenging moments of motherhood can really crank up the heat. What woman once impassioned with the thoughts of her goals and dreams – now chiding her toddler for the umpteenth time about not jumping on the sofa isn’t a little miffed that she has had to become Head Disciplinarian, life coach, personal stylist, hairdresser, secretary and all around Girl Friday? Mother Teresa perhaps would not have had issue with this assignment, but the rest of us aren’t so sure some days.
I can tell you the Industrial Revolution changed the face of the nuclear family forever. No longer bound by geography, people started fanning out and ditching their family of origin for new locales and “greener grass” (aha – alas, it is not always greener). Without the built in support system of grandma, sisters, brother, aunts/uncles and in-laws, the job became exponentially more taxing (P.S., we’re not supposed to complain either).
So, how do we make it work, find Zen and enlightenment in the post-modern era of women’s liberation (liberated from what, last time I checked we’re still killing ourselves out there)? We are “supposed” to look as put together as we did pre-baby, as sexy (be “in the mood” as frequently, despite exhaustion), and be as wrapped on Mr.’s every word as before???? Sounds like a bit of a tall order. As a friend of mine so wisely said recently, the days are long, but the years are short and the hours between 4pm and 8 pm seem like thirty hours not four.
Perfection…unattainable, control of a situation (toddler involved or not)…an illusion…. Perhaps the best we can do until the circumstances dictate change is use the things that inspired us to possibly inspire our own children? Play the music to them, dance with them, do your sport with your own little sport in tow and regardless of whether or not they adopt our interests as their own, when we look back maybe we’ll be glad for sharing our passions, happy that we didn’t really miss out and have made some lasting and with any luck, wonderful memories in the process.