• Tue, Dec 31 - 3:00 pm ET

It’s All Gonna Be Okay: 5 Things I Learned From The Mommyish Community This Year

parenting advice

One day, I want to be a parent. As you’ve all no doubt deduced, I am somewhat high strung and prone to worrying, and I’ve expressed at length my myriad of fears over one day having children of my own. I’ve been worried ceaselessly that I won’t be adult enough or feel ready or be the person I want to be before I have children, because I live in fear that my behavior will be contagious and I’ll pass those issues onto them. I didn’t expect that in trying to hash out how parenting relates to feminism I’d get an entire education on my future.

1. Parenting won’t upend my life in quite the way I think it will

parenting life changes

I’ve been thinking of this whole thing like I’m going to be living my life, and then suddenly with no warning I’ll have a baby around and I’ll stop being me. Of course parenting changes lives drastically, but all you cool fucking moms have made it abundantly clear that becoming a parent enriches your life, not destroys it.

2. Pregnancy and parenting are basically shit covered war zones

During our daily correspondence, the Mommyish writers delight in terrifying me with stories of vaginas falling out, pooping everywhere, the entire concept of placenta, and a whole host of other horrifying things that happen to pregnant women or parents. While I for the most part remain wide eyed and incredulous, I think it’s healthy to get a sense of the literal shit I’ll be slogging through one day, so I’m not horribly surprised when I change my newborn’s diaper.

3. Some idiot decided to make motherhood into a competition

These stupid toddler lunches that look like art pieces speak to our culture that creates a competition for all women in all activities. While I think men certainly are not exempt from feeling like inadequate parents, I see this as a pretty gendered issue, since women are told to draw all of their value from parenting. I find myself looking at these shitty blogs all lined up in a row with beautifully furnished homes and children who’ve never had chronic illnesses or will one day need legal help and moms who appear to be well rested, happy, and able to juggle piano lessons, soccer games, their own social lives, and perfect marriages. I see harmful narratives about women in constant, manufactured competition over at my day job writing for The Gloss, and it pains me to think that it really doesn’t get better. If I see one more doe-eyed couple with perfectly attired children in a house with no urine-stained furniture or estranged family members, I’m going to fly off the handle.

You can reach this post's author, Julia Sonenshein, on twitter.
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  • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

    I love you J

    • Julia Sonenshein

      <3 <3 <3

  • Bethany Ramos

    What a wonderful post!! I know you will be a great parent because you are honest and so fun – you’ve got it made!

    Also, my husband and I talk about baby shit sooooo much. I thought we would be way cooler than that, but suddenly it has become all about – Well, what did it look like? What did he eat? And it strangely comforts me that we both care about shit a lot.

    • Julia Sonenshein

      I definitely feel like we’ll be shit talkers, too. You’re the freaking best, B.

    • Bethany Ramos

      No, you!!!

    • lea

      Lol, I’m right with you on the shit. I swore that I would never be “that mum”, the one who talks about baby poop.

      It wasn’t until my husband confessed that his internet search history had more references to baby poop -”should baby poo be fluro yellow”, “is explosive poop normal for a newborn”, “is it normal for 2 week old to poo 10 times a day”….- (yes, yes and yes apparently, if you are wondering), that I realised it was ok to talk about poop.

      So the night I was a little too close to the business end whilst changing a nappy in the dark, at 3am one morning, and the then 4 week old pooped with such force I got it on my face, MY FACE!!!, I knew I could wake my husband and he’d understand.

  • keelhaulrose

    Your attitude is right on.
    There’s no book in the world that truly prepares you to be a parent. And there shouldn’t be, because no two babies are exactly the same. What makes yours happy might make mine cry.
    If you don’t want perfectly attired children in a ridiculously clean house you’re welcome to come to my home, where the phrases “Eh, we’re not going anywhere public, go ahead and wear that” and “I could have sworn I just had all the dishes done an hour ago…” are commonplace and the vacuum is on strike at least once a week.

    • Alicia Kiner

      You are not alone. My son got some new jogging pants for Christmas, and while most kids are super bummed by clothes, he was super excited. He absolutely screamed “Yes, LAZY pants.” Because while I don’t really care what they wear when we hang out at home, I insist they at least get out of the clothes they slept in the night before.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Your son sounds awesome :)

    • Julia Sonenshein

      I’ll be there soon in my adult onesie!

  • Alicia Kiner

    As I’ve noticed, and so have others, cause I’ve heard other people say it… The people who worry the most about being good parents, actually ARE good parents. Because they CARE. If/when you have a munchkin or more of your own, you’ll figure it out, because you already care. And welcome!!

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      “The people who worry the most about being good parents, actually ARE good parents. Because they CARE.”

      It’s like the parenting version of the Dunning-Kruger effect!

    • Julia Sonenshein

      Thank you!!!

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      I don’t remember where I read this, and I’m massively paraphrasing here (see previously referenced memory issues, and that’s mere hours before legal weed here in Denver!), but someone on the internet wrote that everybody has concerns about being a parent. It strictly depends on what kind of concerns those are. If your concerns are, “My dad lives in Wyoming, so who could I dump my kids on regularly so I can go skiing/yell at the Broncos/smoke some dope/all three at once? Because that’s kind of far to drive, especially since screw it, I’m gonna smoke some dope anyway,” you’re probably not cut out to be a parent. Or at least not a good one.

      But if your concerns are, “How can I be sure I’ll raise good kids?” you’ll be just fine. And Julia, it sounds like you’re the latter, so good luck, even though I doubt you’ll need it.

  • Tinyfaeri

    “I’m not going to get it right because nobody gets it right.”

    Yes! I mean no! But yes, you are correct!

  • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

    “I started contributing to Mommyish this Fall after falling in love with Eve Vawter”

    SHE’S MINE, YOU FOOL!

    Just kidding! I love this post and love you! You will make a grade A mom some day, and you’re a kick ass role model for the younger generation now. I can’t wait to see what you have for us in the new year. :)

    • Julia Sonenshein

      I’LL FIGHT YOU FOR HER. Actually, fuck that, I’ll fight everyone in the world for all the Mommyish writers. YOU’RE all mine, F.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Wait…are you suggesting what I think you’re suggesting?

      A Mommyish Fight Club?

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    This is a pretty awesome community. I was at my mom’s house for like a day and had no internet, so when I came back I had to immediately check in and I missed the Return of the Eve! I missed all of you internet people!

    • Bethany Ramos

      We missed you tooooo!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Awwww! The Mommyish love!

  • Ashley

    Totes commented on the wrong article. Comment deleted.

  • Ddaisy

    I love this article times a million.
    I also hang out on this site despite being a long way from having children myself (if ever), because I love the feminist discussions on this parenting site way more than on any actual feminism sites.
    I, too, am extremely uncertain about having kids someday, but all the cool moms I’ve met here make it seem not nearly so much like the end-of-life-as-you-know-it apocalypse I’d always believed having kids to be. If we could ever actually create the “Mommyish Island” that keeps getting proposed around here, I think I would have a blast raising kids on that island with you guys.

  • Magdalena

    All of this. So, so true, especially the point you make about the seemingly perfect parenting that is highlighted in some other blogs. Some of the other mommy blogs I read before I discovered Mommyish were so discouraging, mainly because the comment sections got way out of control. Moms calling each other bitches, moms telling other moms they felt sorry that their children were being raised by such an incapable parent. The community on Mommyish has a much different feel. I don’t feel like a total failure when I read posts here because it’s like everyone here has collectively accepted that parenting is a complete circus, and we’re all just trying to keep juggling our balls. Hmmm… That sounds…inappropriate. But I can be a little inappropriate here and still be accepted.

    And that feels awesome. Thanks for this post, Julia!

  • Margo Burton

    I agree with most of this post, aside from bashing the mom who prepared her child’s lunch artistically. I never saw that as her trying to compete with other parents or make anyone look/feel bad by comparison. She is an artistic person and utilized her talents in a unique way. It is a positive thing, to find outlets for one’s inspiration. No need to turn it into a negative.

  • Simone

    Yeah, I came to Mommyish because of Eve’s weirdly feminist rant called Eff the Milf, I’m Bringing Frumpy Back, in which she bellowed at everyone about her right to wear kitten sweaters and mom jeans instead of going to Pilates the day after having a baby and getting manicures a lot.

    Then another reader asked if we could have beige bras that come in a box and granny panties and Eve bellowed that Of Fucking Course We Could, and since then I’ve been reading Mommyish almost every day.

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