The Rise of the Mommy Martyr
It’s been happening for years now. This mythical pedestal we have put the perfect mom on. We all see her differently. Either we aspire to be like her or we violently revolt against her. Putting her there to lash out against it. It’s weird. We see the moms with their pennants at birthday parties and chalkboard signs and we either a) start pinning that shit like it’s hot or we b) start droning on about how “unrealistic” that is. It’s so played out. I’m just tired of it. Some people like crafting…why are we fighting about this?
So either we get a battle of who has the best birthday party (and the posts making fun of said people and moms feeling like they suck) or we get a battle of who can go the longest without showering like it’s some gat damn mommy merit badge system of marytring. “Oh you don’t wear makeup for drop off, well I haven’t washed these yoga pants in 2 weeks”. Congrats? Why is this a thing? Did you just level up in some mommy video game I’m not aware of?
While I think moms trying to put on a show for everyone else no matter what the cost to the family is wrong, the cheerleading for giving EVERYTHING to your kids is just absurd. If you are wondering why I am ranty, it’s this viral video going around. I get the sentiment. I do. I applaud American Greetings for an awesome campaign but it’s a little hyperbolic, yes? Yes. We have all had sleepless nights. Yes. We have been subject to having to serve everyone’s food before ours for a period of time. But the line that rubbed me the wrong way was
“If you have a life, we ask that you give that up.”
::record scratch:: Once again, hyperbole to make a marketing point. I get it but I see this too much already with moms not thinking they are “mom enough”. YOU ARE A WOMAN, NOT JUST A MOTHER. Dear new insecure mom, please don’t strive for a selfless life like this. The list of stuff makes motherhood sound dreadful…and in my case unrealistic. This build up of mom’s who aren’t taking care of themselves is just as unhealthy as these photoshopped models. Now we play the “well I give more to my kids because I never sit down” game? No thanks. I will take care of myself and my family as a unit. No mighty pedestal for me, I suppose.
And this is a pretty big smack in the face to dads and other care givers. I guess they are just babysitting so you can do the dishes? Pretty sure most dads I know are taking on night duty with a baby or wiping off puke from the couch for the 3rd time too. Guess they figured adding “You will be utterly alone with no help” explicitly to their fake job description went a little too far but it came across like that to me. And what about working moms? This basically says there is no way I am carrying for my kid fully if I am at work 40 of those weekly hours, right? Fuck that.
Before we swiss cheese the hell out of my rant with exception cases (military moms, single moms, etc), I still think it is important to take care of you. That might not be going to get a pedicure or hell, going grocery shopping alone but teaching your kids to be independent and the value of other people’s time is something that should be strived for as well. Be it the “ring of neglect” (exersaucer) so you can read this blog post or just decreeing “quiet time” in the afternoons, raising kids who need you and only you for every thing in their lives isn’t the smartest decision in the long run. Those kids are fucking annoying later on…don’t make those kids.
So by all means, go buy your mom a freaking card. I am not against that in the least but do yourself a favor, moms, and be kind to yourself. You don’t HAVE to play cars EVERY time. You don’t have to be the only person making sippy cups. You don’t have to be the only gender at the PTA meeting. It’s ok to play Candy Crush on your phone and block out the rest of the world for some sanity. It’s ok to talk to other adults in the presence of children (and them not interrupt you). It’s ok to stay in the shower 5 more minutes just for the quiet. We are always mothers by nature but aren’t we still humans too? Stop the mommy martyr race. Oh…and go wash your pants.
12 thoughts on “The Rise of the Mommy Martyr”
I’m so glad you wrote this. I got more and more annoyed as I thought about the video. I think that our generation has done such a great job with finding a good balance of motherhood. Dad’s now help 50/50, we aren’t afraid to get a housekeeper or getting groceries delivered, we understand the importance of having “me time.” Why not celebrate balance instead of acting like a martyr?
I disliked this video from the moment I saw it circulating around, primarily because it 1) defines parenting as a 1-person job and 2) defines parenting as a JOB. I have been seeing this a lot lately and I HATE it. I do not equate parenting with a job. It is most often a choice, and then a lifestyle, and not something I could ever compare to my actual full-time career. Even for SAHM, I would argue that it is more of a lifestyle than a job. Is it hard and challenging, yes, but that is life, not work. It is so much better than any job I could ever imagine, because there is so much love involved, between kids and parents and between the parent team. I ain’t ever gonna love my job that much, and my job ain’t ever gonna run up to me and give me a big hug! Stop comparing apples and oranges!
This post is awesome. I didn’t watch that video, but I hear the sentiment alllll the time. Especially when the kids in question are over 2? You can take time for yourself. Your kids will be fine.
Awesome post! I heard nothing about this video until I watched it here. Blood pressure rising!
My kids are just awesome and kick butt and are ok even if I watch Food Network for a few minutes while they play with their blocks.
Plus, I absolutely HATE ads that cater towards Dad/the other partner not being involved. Shoot, my husband is home with the boys more often than I am, does more laundry, we take turns cooking…sorry, this makes me ranty! Thank you for posting about this!
I thought the video was sweet, I’ll admit, I shared it on Facebook. But, like you said, I’m sitting here reading this because 1. I’m pregnant and worked a 24hr shift w about 3 hrs sleep and I’m tired so my kid is watching a movie right now. 2. My kitchen is a disaster. 3. There’s a basket of clothes that have been sitting there for days…
And I felt kind of guilty. I have 50 things I could/should be doing but I’m not. Whatever. I can sit for a while. I have an awesome parter who works hard by himself while I’m on shift. He’s awesome. I’m awesome. And we are more awesome together. And thank you Jesus that my 2.5 year old is content playing by himself sometimes so I can decompress sometimes. And a Happy Mothers Day to all of us.
Thank you! My biggest beef about it (besides all that you wrote) was that it makes it out to sound like this job is the hardest thing that anyone will ever do ever. Look, I’m currently a SAHM, but I’ve done the working mom thing, too. You know what the hardest part of my “job” is? When the only person I talk to until 5:30 is someone who can’t even say “legos” correctly. There are billions of women who are doing this “job” of mothering. And I have been afforded many luxuries in life that have made this “job” TONS easier than others have it (namely, I don’t have to worry about shelter, clothing, or having enough food to eat”. I’m sick of being told that what I do is so hard, when really, all I’m doing all day is keeping the children from running into traffic.
LOL. The part about traffic just made me snort. But yes…people fighting in a war, women fighting tigers to pick berries in a field (that’s a thing, yes?), anyone on Dirty Jobs…THOSE are hard JOBS. This was a lifestyle choice my family made and work around. Not something I had to do to survive.
Honestly, I often think that women who claim to have “no time for themselves” because they just feel too guilty or whatever are just kind of pathetic. You are still a woman is right!! Our kids are precious and the most important thing to us, but our lives should not revolve solely around them!!!
But what would people right on their facebook walls 😉 ? Well written Brandy! I need a break from my kids and am not afraid to admit it. Do you think that for many there is a stigma with admitting this still? I love how you brought it back to defining yourself as a woman… mom is just a part of it, i’m an engineer, a wife, a runner, a smart-ass 🙂 Its not healthy to define yourself by just one thing regardless of what that is….
I really loved this post. I think you are bravely saying what everyone is thinking. Yes, I love my children, and yes, I need time for myself. They are not mutually exclusive. And my husband does just as much for my children (if not more) than I do. We are parents, not heroes.
Ha, thats funny I thought the same thing when I saw it, but didn’t bother to share that with anyone, lest I be stoned. I am a mommy and I work part time. And there are days I enjoy being at work more than I enjoy being at home, and vice versa. Being a mommy is hard, but honestly its not that hard and its not everything in my being. I am still who I was before I became a mommy, a woman who is ambitious and wants to succeed in her career as well as take care of her kiddos. I want both, and I am determined to get it. 🙂