Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Momversation Monday cont.: Which is harder, being a wife or a mother?

I have been thinking about this most of the day. When I have something on my mind, it usually tumbles around for a series of days. I think on it, and then put it away for a bit, think on it more, put it away for a bit. I thought about putting my thoughts into the comment of the original post, but I might be long winded. (Me? long winded? say it ain't so)

Something Clarissa commented on started me on this line of thinking, and then all the other comments started the hamster on the wheel running. She and I had a conversation a long time ago where I expressed the idea that we as women have been lied to. Somewhere in college I heard it, you hear through the media TV and commercials all the time. We were told we could have it all, a tastefully decorated and immaculately clean home, an home organization system a la Real Simple magazine, an efficient household machine with meals that would make Martha Stewart (I'm not knocking her, I like her and habitually rip off her crafts) jealous, a blissful marriage, a full and fulfilling career, an absolutely divine motherhood experience where each and every single one of your children get everything they need from you. And if you fall short of any of this, there must be something wrong with you. Its not really true. You can have some, and maybe even a lot if you are very lucky.... but you can't have it all.

There wasn't some government conspiracy to perpetuate this thought, in a way, women have. I am going to use myself as an example, just so it doesn't come off as "preachy" because that isn't what I intend. Every time I post on my blog about the awesome heights of family bliss we have reached, but don't post about the lows or the anxiety, I am not being real and I am perpetuating this myth that family is all rainbows and smiles. When I run to clean up the house so it can look showroom perfect to impress a friend, even though I KNOW this isn't how we actually live, and that I had to growl at my children like an angry doberman to achieve it, but of course I'm not going to tell you that... I'm perpetuating this myth.

I have a theory that if we would all live more transparently with each other, we would actually be doing a huge service to womankind as a whole, and our daughters. I used to suggest that we should all load up in cargo vans, and spontaneously do an unexpected "tour of homes". We could all grab out coffee, and go from house to house unexpectedly "dropping in", I also think Dr. Phil style cameras would work too. The dirty laundry, last nights dishes, bickering with husbands and arguing with children, moms in pajamas with no make up, children covered in drool.... it would all be there in every house. I stopped suggesting that when everyone looked at me in horror. But this would do so much to break this facade of perfect everyone always tries to project. It would do so much to break the myth.

So for my part, I have tried to be very even handed with the blogging showing the highs and the lows. But I am committed to being even more transparent in real life. I kicked that off this morning by not cleaning my house and wearing pjs for a playdate!

1 comment:

Rob said...

BRAVO! In this corner, leading by example is my very good friend Jennifer! :) I couldn't agree more with this post.

The "Family Facade" is a lie we're all guilty of slinging around. Dads have similar things impressed upon us but nothing to compare to what society has put upon a mother's shoulders.

I'm really glad you wrote this. I particularly LOVE the part about "living more transparently". Great job! :)