Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Secret Life of This Mom

Last night I laid on the couch in a bit of a feverish mess, flipping channels, when I came across the encore broadcast of yesterday's Oprah.

The topic was "The Secret Lives of Moms". The show centered around various mommy authors and bloggers discussing the trials and tribulations of motherhood. This was no "I sneak three vicodin during the 10am snack time" expose, but rather confessions of "At first I thought having a child was the biggest mistake I ever made." or "I had to use a diaper my own self on an extended car trip."

It was cute, interesting, and a tad bit whiny. The gals who authored these books along with Cheryl Hines who currently stars in "In the Motherhood" (used to love those webisodes...have only caught one on actual television), were the on-stage guests. It was a bit frustrating to watch the two perky blonde authors talk from their expertly manicured California homes about how tough life is as a mom, hear Oprah wonder aloud why every mother does not have "help" (as in a nanny), and watch Cheryl Hines prepare for her daughter's reptile-themed birthday party complete with petting zoo. Not a lot of similar experiences like that are going on in my neighborhood, so it was a bit difficult to relate.

I suppose a mom discussing the battles of dealing with a chronically-ill child or of a woman talking about the crisis her family had endured during these economic times would have railroaded the "I cried all the way to the car dealership on the day I had to buy a mini-van" discussions, but I did feel like some major issues of motherhood were left ignored.

The question/eternal debate of "Can women do it all?" was briefly touched on, everyone seeming a bit fearful to tread such a murky water. In the end, it was agreed that being a mom is the great selfless act of womanhood and the episode concluded with everyone giving themselves a bit ol pat on the back for wearing the title of "Mommy."

I am still pondering my thoughts about the opinions expressed during this 47 minute show. I wanted to "Amen" some things (I believe someone mentioned how mommyhood was the never-ending job with no sick leave) and sigh about others (Is motherhood really such a selfless act? Didn't most of us have kids because we wanted a baby? Sure, it is pretty darn taxing at times but is parenthood not something a great deal of people consciously choose to do?) The show did reverberate how women are their own worst enemies at times, attacking each other for the slightest of difference in opinion on raising a child, from how you feed the baby to how you discipline the teenager.

I am trying to give other mothers the grace I hope they would extend to me, from friends who appear to have it all together to the mommy who made a thinly veiled snide comment about something I said last week in a group setting to another mommy who appeared ready to fight me after my child accused her child of stealing his chicken nugget.

(For the record...her kid totally stole the nugget. However, she was a bit gruffer than I and the friend who was with me is eight months pregnant. I didn't think we would come out on the winning side of such a battle so I attempted to smooth things over quickly without asking for the 57 cents the lady owed me for the swiped nugget.)

I know that personally there are days I have my mommy stuff together, whipping up some educational crafts, prompting some intellectual conversations in the car, and then serving everyone a completely organic meal at suppertime. Then there are days when I am thankful I at least read the kids a book (likely a short one...but still a book) before naps and am about 72% sure they ate their vitamins at breakfast that day.

Balance in life is hard.

Balance in life while attempting to parent someone is extremely hard.

Anyone else catch this show and have a thought to share?

Anyone willing to hunt that mommy down whose child stole a chicken nugget from Isaac and demand my money?


Kelly said...

I did see it, and it actualy reminded me of your "mommy confessions." :)

My takeaway line from the show was that once you're a mother, there is no turning back and you have to discover who the new you is. Sounds kind of psycho-babblish, but man oh man, did I realte to that.

It was cute with some funny stories. I'm an Oprah fan (gasp), and I just appreciated her continual declaration that it's the hardest job ever. Sometimes it's just goos to hear that.

The Binkley Family said...

I caught that episode too. I came away from it a little perplexed and a little sad just because so many of these moms have such high expectations on themselves, and why not when they show a birthday party like that thrown by a celeb who has a nanny for her only child?

I know that for me, motherhood is a blessing, and it was not a conscious choice that I made, but a situation that I ended up in and gladly took on.

I think the one thing I wish most of all is that more mothers would support each other....and if I lived closer to you, I would certainly hunt down that nugget stealer! LOL.

Jordan said...

Good post. I didn't see that episode, but your blog made me think anyway.

I think we need to be authentic as moms and friends and women in Christ and not try so hard to be the "right" kind of anything. The truth is, we are going to screw up our children and they are going to spend their adulthood trying to get over it. We will do it out of love, of course, but it will be done!

As for the chicken nugget incident...it probably would have been one of my children stealing the nugget and I would have gladly given you another! :)

Amy said...

Two thoughts:

Didn't you have a petting zoo in your neighborhood a week or so ago?

And I recall a movie with a kid on his bike shouting, "I want my two dollars!!!!" If only he were on loan.

Oprah is so out of it these days, I've just given up.

As for being a mommy, I pray for God to cover the mistakes I make. Try as I may to not make any, it is an inevitability.

Great post:-)

P.S. Will you be posting here about your recent kitchen endeavor?

Phillips Family said...

Ha...yes, we did have a petting zoo in our neighborhood! Unfortunately ours was because someone is able to farm goats in city limits thanks to our fair city's grandfather's laws. Cheryl Hines has nothing on me!

I will be talking about our slight kitchen remodel. The countertops and sink are being put in this weekend. The floor will happen in a few months. Stay tuned!