*I will be climbing onto my soapbox now. Please ignore the child playing with a plastic bag behind me...it ruins the effect.*
A friend recently asked me if I ever feel the need to play up my image on my blog. I thought about it rather quickly and answered no. I mean, we ALL play ourselves up to some extent. We choose what we write about, after all, we straighten shirts and clean faces before snapping a picture. But I've never really felt overly stressed about it, read and reread posts wondering what I "seem like" from the outside, or decided not to write something because of the way it will make me look. I suppose its because this blog, when you get down to it, is for me. I love that a few people read it, and that a few comment. But I would be writing it even if no one ever did, because this blog is for ME, not you.
It's basically just a way for me to use up all my leftover words at the end of a day, that and to write, which has always been a passion of mine. Josh jokes that I have a physical need to get out so many words (somewhere near a million) every day. On days when I've been home alone with Zeke he says "You have a lot of words left today don't you?" This comment usually comes after a good solid 45 minutes of me not breathing I'm talking so fast.
But Kim's question got me thinking, because I really understand the need to play up your image a bit in the Mommy-blog world. Hell, I think there's an awful lot of it going on in the plain MOMMY world. The Mommy Wars are a very real thing, that play to some extent in all of our lives, and they aren't going to go anywhere soon. I wish they WOULD but I'm not sure if, as women, as HUMANS, we are quite ready to do away with them...or that we ever will be.
My husband would just make remarks on the inherent evil and judgmental natures of women. He's a bit of a pessimist, that man of mine. But as a person that strives to look on the bright side of human nature, and almost NEEDS to defend, I try to look at it a little more fairly. And I've decided that I think the root of the Wars is that these questions we fight and judge each other over; to work or to stay at home, to breastfeed or to bottle feed and for how long, co-sleeping, crying it out, spanking, the list could go on forever but none of these issues actually have a RIGHT and a WRONG. And we all know it. So no matter which way we personally decide to go, we feel guilt. Guilt is pretty much the dressing of motherhood.
I stay home with Zeke, but then I feel not only envious of the mothers that get these whole separate lives from their children, but I also feel guilty that I'm not using my time at home to my fullest, that I'm lazy basically, and that I'm not contributing to my family or my society as a whole. I also wonder if I'm getting boring, if I'm getting stupider, and if I will have anything left when Zeke goes to kindergarten, let alone to college. I could go out and work, sure. Or even better, go to school, which is a desire so strong I can literally taste it at times. But then I'd just feel envious of the mothers that get to stay home and see every moment of their child's developmental years, and guilty for the time I spend away.
Its like this with almost every issue. Josh and I decided not to cry it out. Which, as all non-cry-it-outers can attest to, results in quite a bit of cosleeping with your toddler. I know that Josh and I have both felt ashamed/annoyed/guilty that our 1 year old has almost never spent an entire night in his crib. We've wondered if we are spoiling him. We've wondered if, in the end, we are actually disrupting his sleep more than helping. We've wondered if the exhaustion might cause us to kill one of our children when, in January, we have TWO children waking us up every night. But (and I suppose I dont have any proof so take this with a grain of salt) I imagine that people that decide to cry it out with their kids ALSO have doubts. They might wonder if they are being selfish to leave their child crying, if they are going to cause life-long bad sleep associations and habits, ect. They might feel just as ashamed that they couldnt "stick it out" until their kid learned to sleep as Josh and I feel at the fact that we couldnt "stick it out" and let Zeke cry for us without being answered.
The biggest guilt inducer for me is the fact that I weaned at 11 months. I had hoped to breastfeed until 2 and to have my milk run dry so "early" has constantly bothered me. I think about it every time I see a happily nursing toddler, heck, I think about it whenever Zeke prefers Josh over me (which i pretend is because I have failed him in some way, and not because Josh is an amazing daddy and around to play with a lot less than this boring mama). And this is actually a great example of the widespread nature of mommy guilt because I'm pretty sure everyone feels guilty no matter WHEN they wean. Be it 6 weeks or 6 years, there's the guilt. And if you go past 6 months you get to add the guilt for breastfeeding SO LONG, which people will be sure to make you feel.
And all this guilt we feel? All this envy of other people that went the other way and surely must have it better? It turns into judgment. And boy howdy is it strong. We doubt ourselves and to cover it up we push everyone we know is "worse" down. You can also see this tendancy in any middle school cafeteria. But the thing is, it just makes everyone feel worse. You arent a better mother because Cathy is a worse one. But Cathy is sure going to feel like shit, and probably so do you.
We all contribute. We all judge each other too harshly, myself included. Which just leads to judgeing ourselves too harshly. And the desire to "spruce up" our image online. And even though I dont think it can stop, I am going to commit to stopping it in my own life.
So here is me, not judging you.
And also here I am assuring you that I am in no way a perfect mother.
My son was literally playing with a plastic bag while I typed this. Yep, I'm blogging while he's not only awake but playing with dangerous objects.
As much as I write about Healthy Eating, I bought and finished off an entire bag of pizza pockets by myself in a little over a week. A family sized bag. I also ate jelly bellies for breakfast yesterday and almost NEVER buy organic foods (honestly I have my doubts about the superior health of your average store-bought organics, which still travel thousands of miles and are farmed en masse. Healthier for the environment, definitely, for me....maybe? I think local is going to be your actual best bet, which is luckily also cheaper.)
As much as I diss families who dont eat dinner together every night and wonder why they dont cherish the family time as much as Josh and I do, well Zeke and I usually eat breakfast side by side, him in front of his food and me in front of my laptop.
Zeke watches TV regularly, spends many days just in his diaper, and gets copious amounts of candy on long car rids.
I am just a mom.