So, I got a little off track with this topic in my original post, I figured I should continue it here.
I have a separate theme prepared in my head, regarding Facebook, but I’m going to address a small portion of that, here.
I’m sure that many of you already have Facebook pages, and, if any of you are Mothers, you will likely be guilty of the transgressions I am about to discuss.
When I open my Facebook page, apart from the various requests for 3 bricks to build someone’s henhouse, a pig heart for someone else’s Satanic temple, and the announcement that someone has created the word “ho” in WWF, this is what I am bombarded with:
“OMG, today Johnny ate his first Cheerio, I’m sooo XCITED!”
“LOL, here’s a picture of our Wendy sitting on the lawn in her pink dress. Isn’t that soooo awesome!!???”
“I’m so proud to say that Jaleel stopped sucking his thumb today, and won the “I’m a Big Kid!” award at daycare! He’s growing up!! I’m so proud!!!!!!!”
“Today, our Sasha got her first training bra! It was a big day for our family, we celebrated and went out to eat!”
“HAHA, here’s a picture of our Wendy sitting on the lawn in her blue dress. Isn’t that soooo awesome!!!??”
All I can say is, what the hell is wrong with these people? You’re telling me that your life is so ridiculously mundane that the most exciting thing (ever!!!!!!) to post about is a f-cking training bra? I’m sorry to tell you this, but this crap is boring, and you need to get a life.
Now, I do understand that, when you become a parent, it pretty much sucks up your pre-parent personality and life, and it generally consumes your day to day activities for at least 18-25 years. I understand it, I get it, I’ve been there. The clincher is, no one wants to hear about it. Furthermore, if you’re so enamoured with the fact that your kid is sitting on the lawn, and have to post about it, you probably have some issues. If your life is somewhat boring (it’s okay! We’re not all rock stars out there!), own up to it and stop trying to make it sound like something romantic.
I could go into a whole sidebar here on how we’re growing (or have grown) a generation of kids who think that every single thing they do is worthy of an award, earned or not, but I won’t. What I will go into, though, is the class of Mothers who believe that every bowel movement should be exonerated, and who refuse to shut the hell up about their kids.
When Spenser was growing up, he was quite beautiful and well-behaved. I’m not just saying this, he really was. I’m not saying that he didn’t have his awkward/ugly phases, he did (5th grade is never an attractive time, is it?). I also know that he is no angel, despite what my mother says. For the most part, though, he looked like a kid in a Ralph Lauren advertisement, and acted like one, too. Whatever that means.
Anyway, though Facebook did not exist (at least, not on my computer) back in his early childhood days, I felt no need to pronounce to the world that he threw up all over our table at iHop one Sunday after church (though, I admit, it’s a funny story). Or that he ate a bagel with cream cheese and really enjoyed it. Or that he wore a green plaid shirt with khaki pants on his first day of Kindergarten. Anyone who saw or knew Spenser didn’t need pronouncements of his “greatness,” because they encountered it, first hand. Do I have pictures to mark the occasions (except the vomiting one)? Sure. Did I run out to every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the street to show them the pictures? Certainly not.
Not because I didn’t think my kid was fabulous, but because I didn’t think I had to show proof that he was.
Him, being, was proof enough.
Over the years, of course I told stories of his real achievements and milestones. But I had other things to discuss as well. My job, the War in Iraq, the Meaning of Life, and my unending search for a Renaissance Man, to name a few. My daily life is not overly thrilling, kid, or no kid. I don’t need to drag you and 327 other people into it. Call me crazy, but I like to have meaningful conversation, at least some of the time.
When I went for a rare night out with friends, I wasn’t constantly worried about what he was doing or if he was okay. I didn’t miss him. And I didn’t drone on and on about him with my non-parent friends. It was three hours of Just Me time, and I was going to enjoy it. I’m not going to apologize for this. I promise you, unless my son is serving overseas in the military, or away from me for like, 2 weeks (at least), I won’t be talking about how much I miss him.
Overall, what I’m trying to say, in my fully honest and certainly not sappy way, is that Motherhood can really suck, and if you claim that your life is just perfect as a Mother, I don’t believe you. It’s not all oohing and aahing and pretty pictures on lawns. You love your child, but it’s not easy to feel that when you have had only three hours of sleep in a 72 hour period. You love your child, but it’s not easy to feel that when his principal calls to tell you that he wrote the ‘f-word’ on the wall in the Boys’ Room. You love your child, but it’s not easy to feel that when he rips up his home made Mother’s Day card to you because you wouldn’t let him ride his bike with a cast on his leg.
The funny thing is, these un-pretty moments are what make you a Mother. The ability to love your child/children through all the really tough bits, even when it feels like you are on a fast sinking ship. The people who only have the pretty stories to tell are in denial. The people who “miss” their children during their 1 hour per month romance time with their (likely neglected) Soulmate are ridiculous.
I love my boy with everything I have, and I am blessed to have him in my life. He is a Joy, and, I feel, a gift to this Earth and the people who inhabit it. If you’ve met him, maybe you already know. If you haven’t, you’ll just have to figure it out for yourself. I’m not going to try to convince you (or myself) with pretty pictures or nonsense stories.
When your child saves the life of a wheelchair bound grandma from a burning nursing home, by all means, post about it on Facebook. Until then, no one wants to hear about his Cheerio or progression from thumb sucking. Tell the story of how proud you are that s/he stood up to a bully and got a black eye and suspended from school in the process. Tell the story of how you met your husband and how lucky you are to have him. Tell the story of your dream to learn authentic Italian cooking by traveling to Italy. Get a life, go out on a real date, open your eyes, and stop being a sappy Mom.