I’m an anti-cynic (Or, yes, it’s true. ~GASP!~ I love my children.)

A bit ago, I was nursing my 6mo baby Fiala, cooing over her, thinking how amazing it is that God has designed the hearts of mothers to think that their own babies are the most FABULOUS creatures on the planet.  And I thought, “I should blog about that.”  Then, I caught myself.

The last week or so I have come upon a number of blogs and websites that are ostensibly about mothering… but observed that, at least according to these websites, it’s now apparently hip to not really like your child, certainly not brag about your child, or ~gasp!~ enjoy your child, but to complain endlessly about your offspring, and the difficulties and annoyances of mothering, and to pine away for “me” time, and to write about how you “secretly” hate your child and motherhood, all whilst adorning him/her with ridiculously expensive clothes and gear so that (maybe?) it will look like you value your child because s/he is wearing such expensive stuff, or at least, it’ll reflect well on your own sense of style.  You may not LIKE your kid, but he sure looks cool!

Cynical mothering is cool, it seems.

Even a meme I recently participated in, about things I love about mothering…  Well, I traced it back to its roots, and the meme was actually created in sarcasm, and it appears that HUNDREDS of women gleefully posted about what they “love” about mothering, not about what they love about mothering.

Maybe it’s just that I don’t have the right sense of humor, and it’s all a big joke.  But, I’m not so sure.  There are definitely funny mom-blogs that hilariously chronicle the not-so-glamorous side of mothering.  But, what I’m seeing seems to be different.  It’s like it’s becoming trendy to be really indifferent to your children.

And, in light of that, there was a catch in my heart, as I thought about posting about my love for my baby:  “I won’t be cool.”

Ack.  Isn’t that awful?

Dear God, forgive me.

I will be the first to admit that mothering is hard, and that it’s not all rejoicing and felicity.  One teensy sentence in Christy’s blog last fall brought me to tears, and I heartily concur:

I had no idea that trying to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord would be so hard on my heart.

But, I see mothering as beautifully powerful and fulfilling and challenging and glorious and humbling and exciting and mundane…  all of it.  And, yes, I’m sure I’d dress better if 98% of our clothing budget wasn’t going towards endless pairs of disappearing children’s socks, and there’s a part of me that is bummed by that.  And, my home would certainly stay tidier if I didn’t have five children dumping their sand-filled shoes onto the bathroom floor, and that will certainly drive me nuts, every time;  it’s hard to rejoice over that one.  So, it’s not like I think we all need to run around in denim jumpers (ack, again!), never get a pedicure (though I’ve never had one), and lose our sense of joy over anything BUT mothering, and never confess our struggles.  However, I find it really disturbing that there appears to be a growing number of mothers who revel in anti-motherhood.

Hm.

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About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on May 15, 2009, in Babies, Blogging, Funny Stuff, Introspective Musings, Motherhood, Parenting, Sad Things, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I just found your blog randomly and have spent the last 15 min reading through previous posts. All this to say, I enjoyed your blog greatly!
    Additionally, I appreciate this post because I think motherhood is such a gift. I am not a mother, nor am I even married. I do love kids, however, and appreciate the “uncool” but incredibly-cool-in-God’s-eyes love that you have for your kids.
    Blessings!

  2. I, too am an “uncool” Mom… I don’t dwell on the hard stuff (though we all know it exists!). I love being a Mama and I cherish my children and pray everyday that I can fulfill this duty to His standards and that I continue to live in the joys… Even when my 7yo daughter asks 50 questions in ten minutes. 🙂

    Thanks for posting this… It made me stop and think! Oh, and now that I’m almost back among the living… I will get around to that loving motherhood meme.

  3. Oh I agree with you 100%. I know exactly what you mean about the trend of cynical mothering. There’s always a bit of truth in sarcasm and sometimes it goes too far. My children are so precious to me. I do hope that the funny things I put on my blog still portray how much I love them. Maybe I’ll go write a post about how wonderful they are…

  4. Glad to know I am not the only one who doesn’t have the same level of humor….I have stumbled across a few of these not-so-mommy blogs and there is definitely some truth in sarcasm.

    Thanks for this great post!!!

  5. glutenfree4goofs

    I feel the same as Lydia! Wow, what a blessing we are allowed to be a part of and yet to complain about the right God has given us to be privy to such miracles in our children. Wow, again, I’m humbled. I hope through my funny and often frustrated rantings I am still honoring to my family and God. Thanks for writing ~ I love my children TOO!

  6. It’s absolutely delightful to hear real moms really love their kids and really love being moms. Gush about your precious babies all you want! It’s good for the whole world!

  7. Hi Karen – I’m the “David” that Catherine Connors references in the original post that you linked to above. I can tell you without reservation that when I discussed this idea originally with Catherine, sarcasm wasn’t on the agenda. Knowing Catherine fairly well, I think it’s easy to read what I see as self-depricating humor as something else entirely.

    I’m sorry you may see this global meme as something that pokes fun at motherhood instead of celebrating it. I’ve kept track of all the posts I can find on this meme at http://delicious.com/80clicks and that’s really not what I’ve seen.

    But in essence, that’s the point. It’s to bring in a variety of perspectives on motherhood. Your point of view is every bit as valuable as Catherine’s or mine or anyone else’s thoughts. It’s one of the reasons why this is, at least to me, so important. There are thousands of moms who feel the same way you do and scores who have participated, echoing your thoughts – from all walks of life and in every corner of the globe.

    I hope you will see this as an attempt to celebrate motherhood and not denigrate it. And I deeply appreciate the contribution you’ve made to it.

    • Hi, David ~

      I appreciate your reply. But, I think that the reason that the majority of what you’ve seen, as far as meme responses go, are positive/non-cynical/non-sarcastic because, like me, I think that most women didn’t track down the OP before participating, and they couldn’t have guessed, like me, the tenor of the OP.

      I understand that calling oneself a bad mom, or whatever, can be self-deprecating and funny… and even the best of moms have had bad days, or had incidents that, if they were broadcast on the news, would put their “good mommyhood” into serious question.

      And, neither do I enjoy the blogs (and they exist in spades) that paint motherhood as all sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. I think it’s unrealistic to portray one’s family as The Perfect Family, and perhaps some of the blogs/websites I’ve seen are in backlash to that.

      My concern is for the mothers who apparently delight in the whole “bad mom” thing. So, perhaps my charge is undue against the OP. Perusing her actual posts, we actually have many of the same goals in mothering, and even if one gets the wrong idea from one post, after you read four or five, it’s obvious that she doesn’t really hate her children. But, I have a hard time reading some of the comments she gets from really hardcore “bad mommies.”

      Still, though, my stance… uh… stands. I have seen a plethora of anti-mommy sites, and it disheartens me, makes me sad, and turns my stomach, all at once.

  8. I clicked on the link you provided for the origin of the meme and it was so sad.

    I’m all for being un-cool if it means absolutely adoring my children AND being a mother. In my opinion, there is no greater thing to do than being a wife and mother and I can’t imagine doing anything else. In fact, I only have about four years until my youngest turns 18 and I’ve already been asking my kids what I’m going to do with myself once they’re grown! 🙂

  9. Simplified Mama

    I, too, am a mother of five little ones and I have certainly noticed this “trend” even in conversation with other mothers. Sure it’s unpleasant at times (just this morning my 2 year old made me scrambled eggs mixed with strawberries…on the couch!) but it is also the most rewarding adventure I’ve ever been on. It is a refreshing joy to here someone speak against this nonsense and see there their children as a blessing instead of a burden.

  10. dadwhowrites

    Denim jumpers? Seriously? What sort of person would put their children in such things? Though I have to hold my hand up as a fully paid up member of the whinge-and-wring-your-hands fraternity. Different people have different senses of humour, I suppose…I do love my children dearly but I also need to vent periodically or I’d go mad!

    • Just to be clear, in the U.S., “jumper” is akin to “pinafore” in the U.K., so it’s for the mother, not the child. They’re kind of the stereotype uniform for the homely mother, especially one who homeschools. (What you call a jumper, we call a sweater.)

      And, of course, I vent, too…. One of the things I love about the online community is that, to some extent, we share each other’s burdens with a “been there, done that, and here’s what worked for me” kind of approach. It’s just that some venting, lately, seems to go over the top. Like way too far over the top, and that’s to which I refer.

      And, is this the blogger formerly known as “unrelaxed dad”????

  11. Sometimes I let the stresses of life bog me down and I treat my kids according to that. That is when I think that I loathe motherhood.

    But that is also the time that I take a step back and realize that I lost my focus on Christ and He is what keeps me grounded and enjoying my children and my life.

    I LOVE being a mother and am very thankful that God has allowed me to do so.

  12. Great post. I was just discussing something very similar with another blog friend. I get very frustrated with moms who do nothing but complain about their children and motherhood. Does my son frustrate me at times? Absolutely! But I am going to choose to focus on the positive when it comes to blogging about my child.

    • I cannot let myself dwell on the difficult aspects of motherhood, but they do exist, and I do blog about them, though hopefully, everyone emerges from the difficulty with at least some maturity, if not some actual solutions. Or, even if it, like Christy said, the events make me turn, yet again, to the Cross, then it’s all worth it.

      I see blogging as marking the process, the experience.

      So, I don’t know if you’d like this blog, long-term. However, I think I remember you commenting on here, before you had your son???

  13. Interesting.

    What surprises me, and continues to surprise me, are the number of mothers I talk with who exclaim that they couldn’t possibly homeschooling because they couldn’t be around their kid that much. They are so happy to have the kid out of the house and away at school.

    It really weirds me out.

    ~Luke

    • You know though… I think I might feel the same if, say, my 11yo was just completing 6th grade in the public school system, and had picked up all the attitudes and bad habits that come from being “matured” by your peers instead of your parents. KWIM? If I had that child, I’d probably think, “Get him out of the house.”

      But, bless God, that hasn’t been our experience. He’s been at home, and in other environments (like church, neighborhood friends, Little League) where we’ve been able to really guide not only his schooling, but his development of character.

      Does that make sense? I think parents have a MUCH tougher row to hoe when they bring kids home from a PS environment 3, 4, 8, whatever years into their schooling, instead of starting young.

      When I get comments like, “Oh, I couldn’t stand to be around my son for that long each day,” I sometimes think — but do not say — “I probably wouldn’t want to be around your son for that long each day, either.”

      Maybe that’s ego, but I don’t think so. My kids have not been raised by the public school system, nor by their peers; they’ve been raised by my husband and me. I think that goes a LONG way towards shaping them into children who I’m happy to spend all day long with.

      In addition, I think God gave special love AND special… forbearance, if not fully mature patience, to each mother for her own children — which is why I probably don’t want to homeschool anyone else’s kids, and another reason why it’s best, IMO, for mothers to teach their own children — no one’s going to care for their well-being better than she is. No matter how much that teacher is paid s/he is just not as invested in your child more than you are.

  14. glutenfree4goofs

    I read an article on children who learn socializing behavior from other children. Guess who it is? Public school children! I’m not saying it can’t work because we certainly have to teach our children how to be in the world, this IS after all where we live, but if you are able to choose wouldn’t you prefer to have children learning socalization and maturity from God fearing, not always perfect but trying, praying, adults?

    Anyhow, we homeschool and have family teaching in the public school but it’s not primarily about the quality (or not) of the school or teachers, it’s just plain better as you said Karen, for each mother to continue to learn what makes each of her children tick and teach them in a way that motivates them to pursue truth.

    That was a huge run on “I does teech my own kid!” HA

    One other note, even the best teacher is only as good as his parental support! Kids are wired to look up to their parents, for better or worse.

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