I first saw it shared on a friend’s status, who seemed to agree with the author’s premise, but I didn’t read it because the tagline was “Parenting isn’t all that it is cracked up to be”. Yeah, that’s NO BREAKING NEWS!!
It again came up in a facebook group of some of the most awesome moms (Ruchita, take a bow!) and the negative review of it by so many moms who I consider very articulate and fair on all counts.
This time I had to take a look and when I did, borrowing the author’s words, “each time I saw it, it made me more angry”.
Anger is an emotion which rarely touches me and even rarer to find on this blog. Since I believe that universe manifests more of what you put out there, I refrain from any negative emotion. But this time I am making an exception and let anger take the front seat since this article deserves lots of it.
An Open Letter to the Lady Lying About Parenting
Dear Ms Venugopal,
After reading and re-reading your article enlightening the masses about the harsh realities of motherhood, I was confused about why you were watching Aishwarya talking about motherhood being a bliss (oh, the horror!) and that too on a loop. Were you trying to understand why someone who obviously has a lot to do in her life is talking about the joys of motherhood? (compared to the rest of us mere mortals who chose motherhood since we don’t have anything better to do in our lives- YOUR WORDS NOT MINE).
Believe me unlike you, most of us have not taken the celebrity road to understand the motivations behind what we do in our life. If someone is taking a decision about whether or not to have a baby, based on what Aishwarya or a celeb mommy says or the not-so-pleasant smell of Johnson’s powder (never used it for my daughter), then I think they have bigger problems in life than understanding the merits or demerits of being a parent.
I don’t think I have to justify to you the reason I chose to procreate, just as you don’t have to justify to me or anyone the reason for your existence in the world. But as a parent, here is what I found deeply disturbing in your article.
First of all the most frequently used word in your article is “exhaustion“. Yes, parenting is exhausting. We have all established that. Being at the beck and call of another human being is sheer exhaustion. Putting their needs before yours is truly draining. But does that mean that not having kids is bliss? Don’t people without kids ever feel exhausted? I recently read about a 24 year old Indonesian girl who died of overworking. Yes, she died of working in an office, not of running after a toddler or staying up with a colicky baby.
Ms Veena, many people are much more exhausted than us mothers, just to stay alive or worse, to keep a miserable job. But that does not give anyone the license to label MOTHERHOOD as the root of meta exhaustion in the world.
My contention is that you are portraying motherhood as a life sucking vampire but not even touching about what moms can do to save themselves from it. Is not having kids the only alternative? Not at all, but having self-care strategies and intentionally making time for your own self is what will keep you sane. Blaming motherhood for you being crabby all the time or letting go of your interests or life will only harm YOU. Instead, use motherhood as an excuse to fall back in love with yourself and reclaim each part of your life, one day at a time.
Your second objection stems from the fact that society puts too much pressure on people who can’t or don’t have kids. I agree! I have seen how women feel judged because they chose not to have a progeny. But does that mean you have to go and reverse discriminate?
To say that people who don’t have kids are selfless and doing a great service to the world where as people who have kids are burdening the overpopulated planet and trying to create mini-versions of themselves! Wow! Really, did you get THAT exhausted from parenting? Do you think you can get away with saying that people who found employment and work in good jobs are responsible for poverty and destroying world peace? Yeah, I didn’t think so!
But motherhood is a low hanging fruit. Anyone can take a shot at it.
Specifically, someone who has the opportunity to get featured in a widely read newspaper and the heady power of knowing that whether right or wrong, their views will get a lot of eyeballs! But does that make it okay to target someone?
Here’s where it gets juicy. Your strife with mommy bloggers is that they bring glamour and style to the pitiful job of being a mother. I have no clue about the bloggers you have read but as far as I know, mommy bloggers are single-handedly responsible for creating a virtual reality check on what being a parent is like. We (and I am so proud to be a part of this community) bare our lives, our minds and sometimes our souls to help other women realize the harsh truths of motherhood and more importantly, that they are not alone.
Whether it is postpartum depression, feeling guilty, being judged by other moms, hearing “I hate you” from your own flesh and blood or losing a child, mommy bloggers have never held back from the real truths about parenting.
I think your trite observations about motherhood serves only one purpose, which is to make mothers feel like some losers who chose the easy way by simply popping a kid out and blaming all our lives’ troubles on them. There is not an ounce of help or positive advice in your words but a load of negativity and high handedness.
We mommy bloggers on the other hand, try to create a community, a sort of online village to help you raise your child.
And probably my biggest problem with your ill-conceived article (pun not intended!) is that you seem so out-of-touch of a modern-day mom community. Everywhere I see whether offline or online, moms help other moms to navigate this complex labyrinth called motherhood. I see scores of facebook groups, where women feel safe to ask the most basic questions about child rearing or reveal their vulnerabilities as a new or experienced mom.
Every time a mother declares that “motherhood is hard”, I see hundreds of supportive and positive comments trying to build her up NOT give her a lecture about Motherhood Bliss 101.
Even in my offline social circle, moms are constantly trying to make other moms feel better; they babysit for friends, they help them in making school projects and they even pick our kids and feed them lunch if we are running late from a meeting.
I would hardly call that preaching from our tower of lofty ideals!!
Yes, there are a few bad eggs who compare and judge but that happens in every sphere of life. You have good with the bad and yin with the yang.
The truth is that, yes, parenting is difficult. It is probably one of the most “exhausting” (there, I said it too!) things you will ever do. But it’s not the only difficult or exhausting thing in life.
Life itself can be difficult or exhausting. But motherhood doesn’t suck the life out of us. Unless, we let it.
I wish you had given some uplifting advice for the next generation parents instead of making your article a cautionary tale about the perils of motherhood. So I will take this opportunity to give some advice to you.
Ms Venugopal, your life is designed only by you. What you choose to see or hide depends on your vision. I and so many other moms choose to see support, love and bliss while you may choose to see judgement, exhaustion and burden.