Shockabuku: A swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever. (From Urban dictionary.)
I just read Catherine Porter's first article for the Toronto Star and I am less than impressed. Aside from the whole "when did women's issues become only about moms?" problem, I am wanting to smack her around with a bag of oranges* for a few minutes as a result of reading her whine about her life. Catherine, if by some weird off chance or due to the alignment of the stars you happen across my blog, I am addressing this post specifically to you.
What you need, my dear Catherine, is shockabuku.
You see, Catherine, there is more to life than your child's big poo and being woken in the morning by kids sitting on your head. And, I hate to break the news to you, being a mommy is not the hardest job in the world. You will not be getting a chuckle or been-there-done-that thought from me. Yes, we moms all multi-task. And yes it is hard to get a moment to ourselves sometimes. But, we all signed up for this job when we decided to have kids. Your mom did it, her mom did it, and her mother before her did it too. You are not the first woman to have kids. You are not the first working mom. You are not special. Is there comfort in knowing that we moms are not alone? Of course there is! But, those are moments shared between friends over a cup of coffee or glass of wine. They are not issues to broadcast to your readership.
Why is it that you felt, as an introduction, you needed to tell us about your life as a mom? I would rather have read about your year farming in India. We all share the same morning routine to some degree, but I would venture a guess that the majority of us have not spent a year in India. I feel like I would have known you better if you had shared the life lessons (other than the value of soap) you learnt in India. Or maybe you could have told us about your educational background. Mention the kids, for sure, because being a mom is part of who you are. But it's not all that you are. You are a journalist who spent a year in India and has some great stories to tell us about it.
You came across as a woman with a martyr complex in your column. I'm sure that was not what you intended, but it read very much like you want us to all look up to you in awe that you can juggle so much. Did you even think about the percentage of your readership who do not have kids? They read something like that and it immediately turns into "blah blah blah I have kids blah blah blah I'm so overwhelmed blah blah blah". To be perfectly honest, that is how I read your column and I have four kids (none of who, incidentally, I feel I need to give my full attention when they are around - life doesn't have to be as difficult as you're making it).
Women need an identity outside of their children. More and more of us seem to be swallowed up by our kids. You are in a unique position, Catherine, to address that to a mass of women through your article!
Like I said before, you need shockabuku. I never really believed in the whole martyrdom of mommy-hood to begin with, but after my shockabuku experience I have little patience for it from others. I tolerated going to play groups and listening about the trials of potty training little Johnny before, but now I can't. I want more substance to what I talk about and what I read. I do appreciate how difficult it is to maintain some form of sanity during the morning rush but how about something real to read about? Something that will make me think. Something that will make me want to make changes to the world. Something other than your kids. Something other than what I just did that morning myself. Something less mundane.
You said your biggest challenge was to change a diaper. If that is your biggest challenge, then may I suggest that you look at it as something to be thankful for? Can I tell you about one of my biggest challenges a year ago? My biggest challenge was just getting out of bed through the fog of my clinical depression. Now that I am seeing a therapist and am on medication, I marvel at just how easy life is. Yes, I have four kids. Yes, I have to get three of them off to school in the morning. And now add to that that I am volunteering each morning as "parking lot monitor" at the school and my morning routine can be hectic. But it's easy! Oh so easy compared to a year ago when I had to do the same routine.
On November 12th, I can tell you right now what my entire day will look like. I will be getting out of bed at 5:30am and will be leaving the house with my husband at 6:00am to drive to the hospital at 6:30am. For the ten hours following that, I will be sitting in a waiting room while a team of specialists cut open my husband's head and operate on his brain. I will be longing for the hectic morning routine. I will gladly live your life for that day.
You need something, Catherine, to alter your reality. What you see as hectic, crazy life, I see as a life to envy. I would love it if the most difficult thing I had to deal with each morning was a poopy diaper. Instead I have to deal with a husband who is going paralysed and worry about him driving to work. I get to spend my day thinkging about things like seizures and aneurysms and strokes as a normal part of my day. I get to watch each morning as it gets increasingly difficult for my husband to physically get out of bed. Next time you feel the need to let us know how badly you have it, remember there are those who have it worse. They deal with the day to day issues you do and then add a heap of other problems on top of it. Think about the former homeless. Think about the cancer survivors. They all do the same thing you do but are glad to do it.
Alter your reality, let go and I can guarantee that your morning will be a lot easier to deal with.
*I heard that a bag of oranges won't leave any bruises but still pack a whallop. Anyone know if that's true?