Mother Sucker

26

Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Mother, Mothering, Parenting | Posted on 26-08-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It seems that proclaiming to be a mother who sucks has become the social norm. At least among bloggers. Oh, and TV shows.

There is a “mother debate,” spurred by an article by Rebecca Eckler, I’m Leaving My 10-Week Old To Go On Vacation, a mother, author and blogger, who left her 10-week infant (with trustworthy people watching him) while she vacationed in Mexico.

The question is not really about “should you or shouldn’t you leave your 10-week infant while you vacation.” I mean, to each her own.

I think the REAL debate is about our society’s downgrading of motherhood. Our culture seems to glorify mothers who, well, mothers who suck. And proclaiming to be a mother who sucks is now socially (social media) acceptable. To get viewers? To get blogger readers? To get Twitter followers?

To me, it seems like our societal motherhood bar is getting lower. Much like how the U.S. education system teaches to the “Lowest Common Denominator.”

@TheMamamash, got me thinking with her tweet: “I’m all for being realistic about parenting, but it seems like some blogs are getting dangerously close to glorifying truly shitty parents.”

Yeah, putting shitty parents on shiny pedestals.

But how can I pass judgment on other mothers? I can’t. What are my credentials? I never took any child psychology or early childhood education classes. All I know is I am doing my best to love and mother my children the best that I can. And I admit, the bar is kinda high.

We all suck sometimes. And as Mommy bloggers, we self-deprecate and tell stories about our weaknesses because we are genuine and true, and we think we are a little bit funny. But like @TheMamamash, I too, prickle when I see blogs by authors who claim I’m A Mother Who Sucks and I’m Proud of It.

  •  @TheMamamash tweeted, “When you’re a good mother, you care when you’re not.”
  • @Dalrie tweeted, “When you’re a good mother you always try and do better.”

I care. Yeah, I probably care too much. And yeah, that doesn’t make for an interesting read. Sorry. Check out what Alison has to say about this, in her post How to Go Viral.

Oh and by the way, when my first infant was 10 weeks old, I could barely leave him alone for two hours with Nana while showered or ran an errand, or maybe went jogging. See, I couldn’t leave. I had the loving-every-minute-of-being-with-my-infant-that-it-was-hard-to-leave feeling. I also had the guilt. Oh and the lactating breasts. If I WERE given the opportunity to travel to Mexico when my infant was 10 weeks old, I would probably loathe the way I looked–all haggard and heavy with my post-baby weight–squeezed into a one-piece and sarong. P.S. I got a puppy this summer and can barely stand to leave him alone for more than a few hours. #yeahthat

I did travel on a three-day business trip when my baby was 10 MONTHS old. I had to do a milking marathon in advance of the trip: pack and freeze. And in between meetings, I would pump-and-dump. I wore a fake face in the meetings, pretending that my heart and breasts didn’t ache and feel bruised.

I agree that there is a problem, too, with setting the motherhood bar too high. Those of us who do this, know who we are. Who wants to be a failure?

Alas, the motherhood bar. Not too high. Not too low. How about silver medal high?

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Comments (26)

Pippi, well said. I’m a mother sucker too. I too, can barely leave my baby (3 1/2 months now) with his grandparents for longer than 2 hours, even if I leave them a bottle. Because guess what? As much as I like free time (and I D0), I like being with my kids more.

Yes, we all tell stories about how we sort of suck sometimes (hey I tell FB peeps how my toddler says shit), but at the end of the day, we don’t glorify it like a certain ‘mom blogger’ *cough twit cough* does. We tell the stories to ask people to tell us we actually don’t suck as much as we think.

Right?

(thank you for the shout out!)

Silver medal high is achieveable and totally doable! I also think perfectionism is a setup for a failure, and actually ensures that you are the furthest thing from perfect. And obviously, if you are sucking at the whole mothering thing then maybe…try a little harder? LOL.

I think being perfectly honest with yourself as a mother is important. So am I a perfect mother? Hell no. Do I have areas where I can improve, Hell yes. Do I love my kids and want the best for them? Of course.

And that’s what mothering is. Never having all the answers but trying to at least ask the important questions.

Thank you for your comments! I think we all like free time but as you sweetly said, we really do like being with our kids. And it’s OK to say that! It just might not sound quite as cool as abandoning your kids for self-fulfillment. Wink.

I think we tell our suckage stories to show that we are all imperfect and we try to relate to others.

Because at the end of the day, it’s all about connecting and connectedness, right?

XO,
Pippi

You’re right. Being honest with yourself as a mother is so important. I know I suck in certain areas and I admit my suckage to my children. Like when I’m so exhausted from work and am snippy with them, I tell them why I’m grumpy and that it’s not them, it’s the trigger. They understand. And the next time work gets me grumpy, I try to separate it from them. Always trying to improve. Always going for silver medal high. 🙂

Thanks for writing!
Pippi

The article you linked to was truly awful and probably written for maximum controversy purposes to generate hits. But I wouldn’t even write that in jest. I mean, if you’re going to be terrible mom, be a good comic and write it for parody purposes. But leaving a 10-week-old baby for purely entertainment reasons is wack. I travelled on business when my kids were still breastfeeding, but like you it was around 10 MONTHS, and I pumped and dumped. I found breastfeeding and even pumping really satisfying. I think it’s sad that many women feel it’s so onerous. Interestingly, I read that France and Ireland are two countries where breastfeeding is quite rare, in France because it’s considered anti-feminist and a way to mess up your breasts, and in Ireland because it’s seen as a somewhat sexual activity. Ha ha sorry to deviate to the breastfeeding angle but that’s the first thing I think of when I imagine leaving a 10-week-old while vacationing for a week or more. Sheesh! Go good mommies!

Exactly! If you’re going to be a terrible Mom, write it for parody purposes. So well said!

I could barely leave my 10-week old PUPPY. Oh for goodness sake, I need to add that into my post!

And oh, by the way, the French have a point. Dang, those sagging breastfeeding breasts. But I am happy I did what I did. Even if mothers don’t choose to breastfeed, or cannot, there’s the whole bonding issue with a 10-week old infant. I mean, we had to board my puppy for 7 days and he sorta forgot me while I was away. Can you see the parallel here?

Thanks for writing!

XO,
Pippi

Great post Pip! I love the balance, passionate raw honesty and humour that your insights bring.

Perfectly said. I just linked to this post in my blog today, so check it out! 🙂 Well done. You hit the nail on the head for what got all of us in such a tizzy on Twitter. I think it is gross that this woman has a single reader, much less many of them.

It can be tough with all of the input/judgement, but the best thing we can do is honor our own parenting barometer.

Maybe not so much setting a bar, but setting an expectation for improvement would be great.

You elaborated on what I was trying to say in 140 characters very well. Thanks for the shout out!

Fantastic follow-up to our Twitter discussion this weekend! I think many of these posts are being provocative simply to provoke, which increases page views and notoriety. I’m all for self-mockery in those moments of motherhood that are less than outstanding, but not for irritation for irritation’s sake.

Thank you, Donovan. It is nice to have a man fan…especially a Global Guy. 🙂

High five!
Pippi

I will check it out–and thank you.

I understand celebrity shock news, but motherhood shock news is sorta sacred territory to me.

Thanks again,
Pippi

I think every mother knows about input/advice/judgement/critiquing. I get it all the time…and it usually bugs me.

You’re right…honor our own parenting barometer. Well said! Thinking about it that way may make us less likely to judge and criticize other mothers…because that’s not energy well spent.

Thanks for your comment,
Pippi

Self improvement? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

XO,
Pippi

Exactly. I’m all for self-mockery (just call me Poopy Pippi). Oh and how is your thong? 🙂

XO,
Pippi

Well said, Pippi!
I have nothing to add, but just wanted to chime in and say that I agree with everything that has been said here. I always enjoy reading your blog. 🙂

I am so happy to have your support. Love that you like my blog.

XO,
Pippi

I have to agree that it’s become fashionable to be a shitty mom, and it’s really unfortunate. A true feminist would skip the shitty mom status by skipping kids all together and do the single powerful career woman bit. Feminism perplexes me in many ways, but none so much as when it is twisted in such a way that the woman gives herself permission to be “absent” and not “tied down” to anything, including her children. To me its seems sexist because its assuming that men enjoy being away from their children and family responsibilities, when the men I know, including my husband, would much rather spend time with their family, especially their new baby (ours is 6 weeks old).
I think all these shocking stories about shitty parenting encourage shitty parents to be even more shit-tastic than they already are. I have some friends who are total dunces in the parenting department, the last thing they need to read is more crap affirming their self-absorbed behaviour. p

I think that it was necessary that there was backlash to ‘perfect parenting’ because what people were expecting was crazy and not even necessarily better parenting. Children need their mothers but not all of the time and people over-estimate how much the baby mozart and 24/7 attention can really help.
But yes, it has gone too far. People who have won ‘mother of the year’ in the UK include someone who smoked while pregnant. Eckler is frankly an incredibly selfish person. Non-extreme views and techniques might not be entertaining but they definitely make for better parenting.

You make great and valid points.

I love your comment, “I think all these shocking stories about shitty parenting encourage shitty parents to be even more shit-tastic than they already are.”

Ding ding! I conquer!

Thank you for your thoughtfulness in your response…thought-provoking!
Pippi

You are right. It’s neither the perfect parenting nor the shitty parenting…somewhere in the non-extreme-in-between…where most parents are but it’s the “extreme parenting” that gets all the headlines. AKA man bites dog, er, mom bites infant?

Thanks for your comments!
Pippi

Thank you for saying all this. I’ve been thinking about the kooky “I suck!” stuff since the whole “I get drunk on playdates and I’m cool because of it!” thing several years ago. Parenthood is nuts enough without glorifying what doesn’t deserve it. Why can’t we just be real, and be real about sharing that? And then I remember that people make up crap all the time (what was that non-memory-laden memoir?). Sigh.

You know my mantra: If it’s fiction, baby, just say so!

Yes, perfectly said! “Why can’t we just be real, and be real about sharing that?”

I think a lot of us are real and we just need to stay true to that.

Thanks for writing,
Pippi

Silver medal high. I like that.

I’m a good mom who sometimes messes up. I always try to be better, but I also forgive myself when I’m not.

We can all do better. And we should all support each other more. That’s all.

I liked how you said you forgive yourself when you mess up. Oh and supporting each other more. Two very important things!

Thanks for sharing!
Pippi

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