Maybe I just live in Dullsville, USA, but I keep seeing the boring mom drudgery everywhere I go. Granted, it's also splashed all over my Facebook newsfeed, so it may not be distinct to my small corner of Texas.
What am I talking about? Here it is in a nutshell: "Oh, me? I haven't been out to a nice dinner in ages because the kids keep me so busy." Yuk yuk yuk.
Or how about? "I think the last time I saw a movie Avatar was playing, if that tells you anything!" *Commence knee-slapping and chuckling.
Since when did it become cool to be a mommy martyr? I don't know about you, but I really like going out in public. We waited until my first son was about a month old before we forced him on my in-laws with a very long and detailed list. Sure, they were kind of freaked out by the whole thing, but they figured it out. Sink or swim, right?
Since then, we've always had monthly babysitting because my in-laws live about 45 minutes away. Whenever they're not available, we set aside cash for a babysitter because it really is that important to go out in public and be a normal person from time to time—just like paying your cable bill. (A necessary luxury, dammit!)
I do feel that I understand the mind of the mommy martyr. You may feel like your life is no longer your own. You may feel really guilty for complaining about the awesome, healthy children that God gave you who also happen to scream in unison when they don't get popsicles after dinner.
So how else are you supposed to express your frustration in a healthy way that doesn't scar your kids for life? You can dive right in to mom drudgery and make sure that everyone knows about all the hard work you do.
As I describe this thought process, I promise I'm not judging. It's something I can relate to as I do chore after chore after chore and pick up 12 dozen Lego toys and blocks every day at 7 PM when I put the kids to bed. (Just a shout out to my husband because he helps with all of this too! A "daddy martyr," if you will.)
I am so empathetic to the fact that parenting can be really hard. Falling into the boring sad sack shame spiral is ever-so-easy. It doesn't make it any easier when this stereotype is encouraged in every mom group and on social media.
Once you're a mom, kiss your social life GOODBYE. Don't even think about putting on makeup every day because you won't have any time for YOURSELF. And don't even consider S-E-X because your crotch will be old and dusty for roughly two decades. Even after that, you'll be middle-aged, and everyone knows that middle-aged people don't have sex.
I'm just going to say it—stereotypes suck. I feel all of this mom drudgery and more, but I also remember how amazing it can be to shed the monotony and go on a date with my husband and act like myself again.
I understand the motivation, but I still can't grasp the reality of the self-punishment. I have seen friends on social media "brag" about not having been to a restaurant since they had a kid nine months ago. This leaves me scratching my head because I love going out to eat and, as I said, I love going out in public. We took my first son to a non-smoky bar in the daytime when he was two weeks old so that I could have beers I had been craving oh-so-much. He took his bottle of breast milk just fine, and I nursed my beer bottle right along with him.
I would give my firstborn for all of the mommy martyrs I know to crank it down a notch. You can't put a positive spin on vomit or being woken up every hour on the hour at night, even if you call it "the joys of being a mom." Also, there's absolutely nothing wrong with setting aside time for yourself to be a normal person again that doesn't live in yoga pants or mom jeans (name your poison). Sometimes, that extra hour of solitude provided by your loving husband or neighborhood daycare is the only way to keep your sanity.
Being a mommy martyr does not compute. I know there are days when it can be stressful to have multiple children biting at your ankles, but I still find time to go to the bathroom by myself, even if I leave my baby crying in the pack n' play for 30 GD seconds. Being a mom can be rough, but it's doable. Take a deep breath, pour a glass of wine, and book the babysitter.