If you’re like me, your Facebook newsfeed is absolutely chock-full of articles about mothering, raising good kids, having a better marriage, and (especially this month) breastfeeding. Sometimes they are funny. Sometimes they make me teary.
Sometimes they make my blood pressure rise and make me wish that the author was sitting 4 feet away from me so I could give them a nasty side-eye.
Normally I just send those to a girlfriend of mine, we shit-talk and scoff for a minute or two and then move along. Not today.
I was immediately apprehensive when I saw an article today posted by HuffPost Parents, entitled “5 Reasons You Should Have Sex With Your Husband Every Night.” Maybe “apprehensive” isn’t exactly the right word, but I don’t know if there’s a word that means “I-rolled-my-eyes-so-hard-that-I-half-expected-them-to-pop-out-of-my-head.” I read it, doing my best to do so with an open mind, but when I finished I was still mostly irritated. While I can agree that being close and intimate with your spouse or significant other is absolutely 100% essential in maintaining the health of your relationship, let’s call a spade a spade here. I love my husband, but sorry, our lives are rooted in reality and unless we wake up tomorrow and we are 22, back in college, and waking up at 1 PM on a Saturday again, it ain’t going to happen. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love each other, or aren’t close with each other, but when you start using terms like “every day,” you’ve just turned something fun into a chore to be checked off a to-do list. Don’t turn it into something parallel with unloading the dishwasher. That’s a buzzkill.
Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding? I breastfed J for almost 11 months. Breastfeeding is the probably the single biggest hurdle that I undertook. It provided the highest highs when it was going well, and the lowest lows when it was not. It’s stressful. Is he getting enough? Is he latching well? Why am I not making enough? Why am I making too much? God, my chest is tightening just remembering the final two months. I judge no one for opting out. I can tell you that personally, I stuck it out as long as I did because I am stubborn as a mule and refused to let it beat me. Let’s just go ahead and drop the air of superiority of breastfeeding moms. What is right for you isn’t necessarily right for the next mom. We all love our kids here. Do you know what matters here, truly? *Are you feeding your child? Are they gaining weight? Are they healthy?* If the answer is yes, then shuffle right along.
The Internet is rooted in judgement. You didn’t breastfeed. You stayed home. You worked. You had a C section. You had a natural birth. You had an epidural. You worked out all the time and got your body back. You didn’t make that a priority. You let your kids play on an iPad. You don’t let your kid watch any TV. You got married right after college. You’re in your 30’s and are still living life like you’re 20. You’re boring because you got married and had kids.
Christ, people- when did everyone get so nasty?!?!
Furthermore, you know what the most discouraging part of it is? It’s women attacking and judging other women. As Tina Fey said in Mean Girl, “there’s been some girl-on-girl crime here.” The very audience that knows better than anyone how hard the day-to-day can be as a parent, is the same one that is turning on itself!
What I have pretty much determined in the last 14 months is that being a mother is brutal no matter what path you choose to take. There have been countless periods where I was sure that being a mom meant that you were going to feel like an utter failure like 80% of the time. Why make it harder for someone else? Why make someone else feel like they aren’t as good of a mom, or a wife, or a friend as you are?
The word “should” is a dangerous thing. The “should” that matters is what works for your family best (in reason here, we aren’t over here advocating for Dr. Pepper in baby bottles!). Can we please just leave each other alone, stop the bitchy judgement, offer advice when it’s asked for, and maybe, just maybe support each other in this crazy journey we’re all walking side-by-side?
On a side note: I’m thinking that the editor of the Huffington Post Parenting section should probably have the dosage adjusted on their bipolar medication. They posted an article about why you should have sex with your husband every day (one reason was essentially to make your husband feel like a man), followed by “Top 10 Things We Will Tell Our Sons About Sex” with the byline “8. Nobody ever “owes” anyone else sex” (Really? Your previous author would disagree), followed by “How To Be Friends With Another Woman. ” (I’ll link to that one because half of it is preaching what I am saying right now. She gets it!) I think I have whiplash from the completely conflicting messages.