motherhood lark

[Declaration: I am not actually schizophrenic, although from this post it may appear otherwise.]

Anyone see Jacinta Tynan's piece in the Sun Herald's Sunday Life Magazine? "The Big Easy" or with subtext: this motherhood thing is all a bit of a lark.

Please read it and tell me what you think. Because I am all over the place with it.

I read it and my first reaction was intense irritation at her smug message that being a happy mother is all about choice. Then I caught myself and thought – that's kinda true. I'm glad she's happy. I'm glad she's enjoying the ride.

Then I thought about it some more and found myself goaded about the fact she has one child who is nine months old and she sports a glamorous newsreader job and obviously has childcare, surely going on about how easy motherhood is is a tad premature?

At least come back to us in two years time and update us?

Then I remembered those lovely cruisy early months where it was all cups of tea and Big Love for my little person and high energy levels. When I held back from going on to Adam about what a glorious day we'd had at home because he'd been at work all day while we played.

Then I swung back to annoyed at her slightly blinkered middle-classness, (an easy target and a rabbit hole I fall down myself all the time.)

I have been unsettled since reading this article a couple of weeks ago. A fabulous read but I couldn't shake the feeling there was a happiness vacuum or black hole in there.

I'm having fun. I think you're having fun. And it's not in some sad, deluded or compromised way.

Mostly I just feel really lucky.

If a little tired. And all over the place.

Was there ever a time when I could write a coherent post?!




11 Comments on “motherhood lark

Hook and Needle
August 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm

I think the first article is written by a naive first-time mom with an easy baby, frankly. I remember feeling that same way with my first. He was so laidback, it was like we’d taken on a new stuffed animal, not a human being. He went everywhere, slept anywhere, and took to new experiences easily. My daughter, whom we prayed for and underwent surgery to have, is not so easy. I love them both more than life, and they bring me both joy AND happiness (thankfully, I don’t have the daily stress and anger the second article seems to suggest). They are exceptionally fun people. But they are not easy. Taking your baby in for shots is not easy. Arguing with your spouse over who gets up in the night is not easy. The financial burdens are not easy. The only thing relatively easy about childrearing is, in my case and I think yours, loving them utterly. And even that love is part of the problem. When her son has a cough and needs to have his chest x-rayed in a contraption that looks like a midevil times prop while the nurse tells you “let him scream, it helps us see his lungs.” That’s not easy. And honestly, if she thinks things like that are easy, she’s a bit sadistic. I know certain things have to be done, and that they are ultimately done out of love, but they are not all easy.

Great post.

August 3, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Okay, my dear, before I read beyond your link- I hate her!

Now, having finished reading your post, I still hate her, and I’m impressed you can be glad she’s enjoying motherhood. I think she’s destructive with it, and should shut up. I’ve never heard her of her, but if she’s a newsreader and glamorous and intelligent than she must have quite a bit of influence- many readers who are used to trusting her for the truth, and also generally like her for whatever reason.

So, that’s power, and brings with it responsibility- if she wants to encourage mothers to be happier she should find a better way. This just comes across as arrogant and naive and I cant imagine it doing anything other than depressing those Mums who are struggling, (me sometimes, though less so these days- 22 months is a wonderful age!) and as for all her non-Mum readers, well, I can’t see what good it does anyone if they’re encouraged to think we’re moaning too much, and don’t actually need the support we might ask for.

I read a random blog to this same effect recently, and didn’t keep note of where it was- probably just as well as I toyed with various things I could have said, for a few days. What good does it do anyone? I loved maths at high school- found it fun and interesting and pretty easy, but who does it help if I gloat about that and tell everyone else they’re just thinking about it wrong? I don’t think any of us have much control over our emotions at 4 am, especially when exhausted, stressed, sore nipples, whatever, and to blithely claim that we should just be more like her, and cherish the fact that all the neighbours are asleep is rude and also sorely unaware of human nature.

Phew, I need a cuppa.

Yeah, I read that NYMag article a few weeks ago, too. Didn’t find it now, but I’m sure there was a quote in there about children bringing great joy, but turning all your other joys to crap. I laughed (sort of) about that to Dave that night, and then we ordered a curry after Henry was in bed, and he made me acknowledge what a great and un-ruined joy a takeaway curry is. Gotta love that man.

Now, really, cup of tea.

Hear Mum Roar
August 3, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I, like you and many other bloggers, wrote about this today too. I can’t help but wonder if she just did it to get attention. Other than that, I think she’s a complete tosser.

August 4, 2010 at 8:00 am

You know, I don’t think that people should have children to enhance their own lives, because it does not quite work like that…not unless you REALLY want it. Being a parent is hard, especially as they get older. In the beinging it might be about getting shots, making the tough choices, but as they get older the decisions become harder {sometimes} and the kiddos are more strong willed.

Tosser, complicated…call it what you will. I remember hearing my mum tell me that when my kids said “I hate you”, it meant I was doing a good job. Parenthood. Sending your littles to bed early bc of bad behaviour when you’d rather be snuggling them is no fun… I know it is part of the process. But no, not easy…we as parents have such a responsibility. To me it is an honor to raise my 3 littles…and perhaps it is because of that attitude, I love it + them and am so grateful to be a mama.

August 4, 2010 at 9:22 am

Obviously, I’m not exactly qualified to comment, and I must admit I only half read that article (because it looked a little boring and I have far more interesting things to read on a Sunday), but just from following your blog alone, I know parenting can be hard, but at the same time you make it seem like the most joyous thing someone can do.

Jodie Petrov
August 4, 2010 at 9:23 am

Hi Fi,

Really, that woman is either on something or is living in la-la-land to think that all children are as easy as hers. I laughed out loud at “But soothing a crying baby who won’t sleep for love nor money is a privilege, not a hardship”. Try one that screams like a banshee for hours in the night for weeks on end and see how privileged you feel! I mean, really! I just wanted to throw him through a window and crawl back to bed a lot of the time!

And I’m afraid I didn’t really find it all that funny yesterday morning when, having managed to scrape us out of the door on time to get to work Oli promptly threw up all over himself and the car a block from home necessitating a turn-around and complete change of clothes. Oh humourless me.

Granted we’re not having the best week around here thanks to a dishwasher that has decided to go on the blink, cough and mucus induced vomiting on the little man’s behalf with all the extra washing that goes with it, and pregnancy induced tiredness, and perhaps another week I WOULD have seen the humour, but I do think she is a little naive and lacking in imagination (and empathy actually) if she thinks that it is always so easy, and that the same applies to everyone.

So yes, today – hate her!

Of course there are still many delightful moments in there too, but the reality is that there are ups and downs every day, with the ups counterbalancing the downs most of the time! But please, allow us our grumpy moments.

Hoping that you are having a more up than down day (which for the record we are today!)

a generally cheerful, but realistic and hopefully honest, J. xx.

August 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I’m a bit like you…

Part of me wonders why someone who has one nine month old would dare to write such an article.

Part of me hates her because I’ve never had just one child and I have secret delusions that having just one would be so easy and lovely and delicious (and yes I know they are total delusions) and here she is telling me I am right and it’s so not fair!

Part of me wonders how much she works and how much child care she uses and how much other support she has, and how much money she has to spend on ‘extras to make her life easier’ and how much isolated ‘just her and the child’ time she has… and if any of that makes a difference?

And part of me agrees… it really is a choice in a lot of ways. Sure I am tired and there are tough days but if I choose to be happy, to accept the bad with the good and still enjoy parenting then it really is a whole lot easier…

Maybe she just chose some bad language? ‘a cinch’…. that implies that it is ‘easy’ as well as ‘fun’ and I think it’s feels ‘easy’ if you don’t stop to think about the momentous thing you are doing!

Ok enough ramble form me!

August 4, 2010 at 6:22 pm

I read the article last week too. I think that she’s RIGHT when she says its a priviledge to be a mum and how we chose to be here. And suggests we rejoice somewhat in the life of it, I do like that.

I think she’s WRONG when she says it isn’t hard, I mean really! Parenting can be very hard at times.

But mostly, I think she’s an idiot for writing it with one 9 month old baby as her guide. That would be like the contestants on Masterchef telling the world how easy being a restaurant chef is! She (and the MC contestants) have had a small taste of a particular life but shouldn’t be making grand statements on the ease of it all.
P.S. I wonder what the writer’s mum/sister/friends thought of the article?

August 4, 2010 at 6:29 pm

P.S. Sorry- forgot to say:
the writer keeps on saying how easy motherhood is. Just because something is hard doesn’t necessarily mean its a bad thing. We don’t only love the easy things. Parenting IS hard but we still love it with all our heart, soul and body, don’t we?
I think we’re all irritated that she said it was easy but we can agree that it is something to love šŸ™‚

August 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm

I’m not sure I can add anything not already said very eloquently by both my clever sisters, and the rest of you. As I was began the article I was thinking (very patronisingly): “Oh bless, she with the one, easy 9-month-old”. I was exactly the same first time around, for that first year. But by the end of the article I was ready to slap her! I think the editors were a bit misguided to publish such a silly article. It’s so fluffy and one-sided. And yet that other article was a bit too much the other way. Somewhere in the middle is the reality, I think. The paradoxical world of parenting: wonderful, terrible, exciting, boring, rewarding, frustrating, exhausting, exhilarating…and all the rest!

August 5, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I’m afraid your post has sent me into a bit of a spiral. Yes, yes, it goes without saying that the writer of the first article has yet to get a clue. Yes, I was there at 9 months with number one. By about 10 months it started to get pear-shaped. It was a nice honeymoon period, and I can’t begrudge anyone that period (heck, it’s that first lovin’ period that’s the only thing carrying you through sometimes.) BUt – I did look at the parents a bit further down the track and think – ah, what’s-a-comin?

The second article? …. made me notice some feelings I didn’t know I had. I’d been getting some inklings but this article turned the trickle into a flood. Not nice to acknowledge, but acknowledge it I must! I feel a bit like I did just as I was moving out of adolescence; angry, all fired up, and not really sure which way next. The period directly after that was great so I’m holding out for that. And wondering if Menopause is another stage just sorta like it.

Anyway – thanks for posting it. I NEED thoughts like this in my world, and to know that others have them.

And … I haven’t said it yet, but your baby is bee-yoo-t-i-ful. And your family rearranging themselves around her is too.


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