Monday, July 07, 2008

Redefining Motherhood

I know that I've posted about this before, maybe around the time that my blog was reviewed by a humor site. The reviews were decent, a relief to my fragile ego, because seriously, my work health plan only covers a few therapy sessions a year, and I need those to get over my addiction to Paul Walker's abs and my desperate need to suck tequila out of his belly button.

The criticism I got was that I was a Mommy blog. And you have to say this last sentence with a look of disgust on your face, like you've just licked a skunk's butt hole.

Apparently, Mommy blogs aren't humor blogs. They're Mommy blogs. (you are doing the look without prompting at this point, right? Because I already have a toddler to teach these things to, I can't worry about all of my readers as well.)

This was news to me. I guess when I was single, I didn't think mothers were very funny either. I remember being 22 and at my very important communications coordinator job, in my Ally McBeal way too short skirts, and this lady I worked with had a four-year old and two-year old, and she would talk about them incessantly. How they did whatever and it was so funny. Or when I'd ask her if she'd seen some all-important show the night before, she'd tell me no, because she was putting the kids to bed, and well, this is going to sound archaic now, but 10 years ago, we didn't have Tivo. I know, right? How did we go on with our lives?

I didn't think this woman was very funny. I thought she was a bore actually. And I vowed that I would never become uncool. In fact, I didn't think I really wanted kids back then, because unlike cats, you totally couldn't just leave them in your apartment to go clubbing all night. And really, who would want to live their lives like that.

And I've mentioned this before, but one day, I was married. Still not sure how that fully happened. I know there was booze involved and a very large diamond and an Elvis impersonator. Surprisingly, in the last sentence, I'm only kidding about the booze. I was sober, making the whole thing even more bizarre, because I can barely commit to a Starbucks order without second guessing myself on whether I should have gotten a caramel macchiato instead.

Then one day, I was sitting on the couch, a Johnson & Johnson commercial came on, one of those that's black and white and the mother is happy and the baby is happy and he's splashing in the sink and an announcer says softly "you've always fallen for the tall, dark and handsome type, so who knew the love of your life would be short and bald. A baby changes everything."

And I started bawling. Just like that. All of a sudden, this uterus I'd had for 26 years was screaming to be invaded. Me, the person who tolerated babysitting because it meant money for clothes. Me the person whose idea of hell was Chuck E. Cheese. I wanted a baby and I wanted one so badly I could feel it in every fiber of my body.

A few months later, a tiny little human being moved into our house, one who screamed if I didn't hold him every hour of every day. Who kept me awake for days on end. Who didn't tolerate me even taking showers so that I'd go many days without washing my hair.

I don't remember loving those days. I don't remember going through those days with love in my heart and this sense of fulfillment, I was too busy trying to survive. But I know that I never sat there and thought "holy shit, I've ruined my life." I was just being and all of a sudden, I who had gone years without taking pictures would spend hours photographing toes the size of pixie dust and grins that were really gas. And I'd stare at that little boy for hours on end, in shock that I had made him.

Even crazier? I wasn't that different. Sure, all of a sudden I was no longer the cool girl who knew all of the hot spots. I no longer had much conversation other than my child. But as far as I'm concerned, I'm just as funny as I was before. If anything? I think I'm funnier. Because I was kind of a bitch before. OK, I still am a bitch. But I was more of a bitch back then. If anything I've been taught as a mother is that I have to laugh more. Life's too short to not find the humor in being force fed a teething cookie that's mushy with baby drool.

The first time I went to a Mommy play date, I dragged myself there not really wanting to go, but I could no longer afford to go to the mall every day like I had for months and I needed to get out of the house. I expected to go there and be surrounded by "mothers." Shudder.

But when I got there, I was stunned. Those "mothers" were actually people. They were gorgeous, but without spending hours in front of the mirror or being in the best shape of their lives. They didn't care they had spit up on their shirts and they talked about drinking too much wine once the baby was (finally) asleep. They were sassy and funny and smart and didn't talk about how perfect their kids were. They were real. They were like me.

And finally, my illusions of mothers were shattered. Mothers aren't my mother. Mothers are women like me.

The Internet has also brought a slew of women who've broken the "mother" mold for me. Like this one,, a successful hysterical writer who makes motherhood look bitchin' cool, because seriously? When you're writing skits for Chelsea Handler, you're not "just a mom."

And then this morning, I was watching the Today Show, and they were talking about Dara Torres, a 41-year old mother who not only qualified for the Olympics for a fifth time, she also broke an American record. The woman has this rocking body and abs that make Paul Walker look out of shape. And when asked, she says her daughter is still the most important part of her life.

Just a mother? My ass.




beach mama said...

That was an awsome post! And I totally agree. You really are so funny to other moms, those that don't have kids, just don't understand how funny it is when a 3 year old farts and giggles about it.

And I saw that swimmer on the Today Show this morning and I am in such awe. She ROCKS!

AndreAnna said...

Amen to everything.

I'm still me. Just a better me.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Two quick thoughts come to mind...

*since when did likcing a skunk's butt hole become a BAD thing


*do you now want to suck tequila out of Dara's belly button?

Oh, more....are you an equal opportunity tequila sucker?

Hallie :)

Morgan said...

Amen to that! :)

Becca said...

hell yeah

Marmarbug said...

I think moms today are MUCH different than moms used to be. Not to sound snobbish but it is true! Back in the fifties moms were expected to take care fo the kids, clean and thats it.
Now moms STILL do that but we are SO much more. we have confidence and realize that we are still a person outside of our childrens lives.
And that swimmer chick? Freaking AWESOME!
And I want to suck tequila out of Matthew McConaugheys belly button.
Badly. said...

I was so proud of her, too. Cause she's 41 & she makes me look like a cow patty. She's amazing. At 41 I'll be in Depends, I just know it.

the planet of janet said...

*standing up and applauding wildly*

Haphazardkat said...

Amen, sistah...
Only thing I can add is...
You were correct on the "Chuck E. Cheese is hell" business.
Word to the people :|

Anonymous said...

Anyone who says we're "just mothers"? Can lump it. Hard.

The end.

Stefanie said...

I will add this to things I think I've said but maybe I haven't. I agree! And thanks for the shout out. I love your blog and find you hilarious and I'm sure you were funny before you had kids too but somehow, having kids makes us funnier.

That Chick Over There said...

My ass too!

And Jason's mom's ass, apparently.

Colleen said...

and those who make that "just licked a skunk's butt hole" face when calling us "mommy bloggers" with that note of distain deserve to lick a LOT of skunk butt holes. And badger butt holes, cuz, well, those badgers are mean and will not appreciate the butt hole licking and WILL.MESS.THEM.UP.

Anonymous said...

Loving YOU!!!!

Oh... and this post too.

Like, bunches & bunches.

Heidi said...

Love every bit about this post, your humor, your writing style, and most of all the content. You rock!

Poltzie said...

Wow, I do remember thinking how I had ruined my life! It's amazing how things change though don't they!

Rachel said...

Amen. Awesome post!