Mothers Like Us, Part II

My blogger friend Emma is a fabulous, sassy writer, with plenty of unconventional ideas about motherhood (which is one of the reasons I love her).  Her post today is about women who do not follow the usual rules about mothering

Women, it is often assumed, are naturally filled with the gentle, non-swearing, huggy ingredients necessary to cook up a wee babe and raise him/her through cranky teen years and into sunny adulthood.  Nevermind that this generation of women has likely gotten closer to a car engine than to a baby by the time they procreate.  Nevermind that many of us were encouraged in our tomboy, individualistic pursuits more than in our cookie-baking, tear-wiping, band-aid applying skills.

Leaving aside questions of nurture, what about questions of nature?  Are women naturally softer, gentler, more loving, more gifted with children?  Those of us interested in the truth about mothering know this simply isn’t true.  Even for those of us who may be more maternally inclined than our husbands, we still fall quite short of the 1950s June Cleaver ideal.

Women can be tough and selfish and need a drink and a cigar.  Men can be soft and loving and in-love with their children and long to spend more time at home with little Billy.  These are not radical ideas.  At least until one trolls around in the world of mainstream motherhood where the old rules, while not usually practised, are still much lauded and imitated. 

Though it is now socially acceptable for women to complain about motherhood and childrearing, albeit in a light and unserious fashion (though adoptive mothers are not given the same leeway), it remains taboo for that same woman to admit that raising children makes her unhappy.

The truth for me lies somewhere in the middle.  On a deep level I love my children and enjoy their company.  But on days like today, when the City of Bellingham is closed due to a 10-year snow storm, and the panic sets in as I realize I’m going to be trapped here alone with the kids without even a car-ride to break the monotony, I realize there is a part of Tamara in me too.

On the other hand, have you ever seen such a cute little girl in a snowsuit? 



16 Responses to “Mothers Like Us, Part II”

  1. November 27, 2006 at 11:20 am

    I wonder at what Emma has unleashed.

    By the way the answer to your snowsuit question is no!

  2. November 27, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    She is precious, without a doubt.

  3. 3 jen
    November 27, 2006 at 2:28 pm


    and yes, it does feel like there is some preprogramming, even though i dont’ understand it..otherwise, we wouldn’t be the only ones hearing them in the middle of the night….

  4. November 27, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    Too cute!

    And, I truly appreciate when you write such open and realistic posts like this. It makes me proud to be a mother and woman, a real one.

  5. November 27, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    although I am not a mom, I appreciate yours and Emma’s honesty because someday I’d like to be a mom. It’s good to get this point of view. A bit of a reality check, I suppose.

  6. 6 deb
    November 27, 2006 at 7:31 pm

    I love my kids and couldn’t wait to be a mother but I am so sick and tired of being a mother. I want my own fucking life, but don’t listen to me, I have teenagers. I am in hell.

  7. November 27, 2006 at 8:26 pm

    Well said.

    I like to justify my “realness” in this way: our kids need to learn how to navigate through all sorts of emotions and personalities. They also need to learn about personal space and consequences of their behaviors. So, when I am relaxing with a cup of coffee and the paper on a Sunday morning, they know to respect that lest I throw them outside in a snowsuit like you did your daughter. (Who is cute, by the way.)

  8. November 27, 2006 at 10:41 pm

    Oh, the conflict of having kids. ESPECIALLY when they are small. It can be maddening.

    Well said for those moms who are not in dainty molds or who are trying to convince everyone that they are!

  9. 9 bec
    November 27, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    I could almost wish I lived somewhere cold, in order to rug up my kinder into such cuteness!

    Almost. Not quite.

    As for the mothering. Yeah to all that. And a bit of Yea, verily, too.

  10. November 28, 2006 at 2:23 am

    I think women are more gifted with women. Or perhaps most of the men are too lazy, unintelligent, career-horny, and blind to realize that they can do as well as any mother. They just have to try a lot harder

    Cute photo!


  11. November 28, 2006 at 4:40 am

    Awww…the snowsuit pic is cute..;)

    About the mothering…yeah, there are times when I love my kids and there are times when I want to run and hide…

  12. November 28, 2006 at 6:28 am

    You raise an interesting topic, especially with the link to the piece on adoptive mothers who feel like they can’t talk about their children in ways that bio moms can. As a mother by adoption, I do feel that double whammy sometimes and often wondered whether I had it in me to mother a child at all(especially in light of my own mother’s inabilities in that area). I was proud of the fact that I had NEVER changed a diaper until the age of 42 when we adopted Rachel (tho’ I had changed a tire!)

    I wasn’t preprogrammed, but with R. it does seem to come naturally, which is one of the reasons I know that she was the child I was meant to mother.

    Sorry about the big snowstorm, but she is a cutie in the snowsuit! 😉

  13. November 28, 2006 at 8:14 am

    crankmama…It is not just in mainstream mothering that it is taboo to complain that looking after kids is not the be all and end all. Funnily enough, it is also the priveleged crunchy granola types who peddle this kind of, may I say, brainwashing. Firstly, you have a natural birth and commune with the spirits and it is uplifting (I had one, it wasn’t). Then you carry the damn kid on your back until it is three and suckle it until your nipples fall off because it is so damn rewarding and organic and etc etc. Then you homeschool because your precious rosebuds could not flourish in the frosty climate of mainstream school, and on and on.

    It really IS quite a radical idea, as you say, that the sexes are nowhere near as fitting into gender roles as regarding parental abilities, as we were always told (brainwashed) to believe.

  14. 14 Swampgrrl
    November 28, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    Absolutely adorable, indeed. Ditto the point about adoptive mothers not being able to vent their anti-maternal feelings. Same for women who have undergone minimal or fairly substantial fertility treatments.

  15. November 29, 2006 at 9:57 am

    CUTE PIC! And I hear ya sista about the being snowed in…as I am just SOUTH of you. We NEED to get together for some drinks sistah!!! 😉
    I was ONE cranky ass mama yesterday…I actually went to my room and hid from the children and hubby. It was just TOOOO much.
    That said, I love them with all my heart and soul. It’s just there are times when I feel suffocated and want to run away for like a week with no hubby…no phones…no people NEEDING me 24/7.

  16. November 29, 2006 at 10:08 am

    Adorable picture!

    There’s got to be something going on. Jen’s right – my husband is a great dad & truly is a co-parent but he can’t seem to hear the damn baby crying in the middle of the night, despite the baby monitor turned up high enough to wake the dead. Hmmm….

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