“We can’t afford to pretend to love motherhood. Not this version of it. The version that has us raising kids alone in homes disconnected from one another, immersed in a culture of judgement and perfectionism, under the illusion that we’re the ones who can’t get our acts together.”
― Beth Berry, Motherwhelmed
To all the mothers who are trying to do it all, trying be everything to everyone, trying to get it all right, you deserve accolades and support. Not just one day a year, not just in these upside down times, but every single day of your lives.
Thank you Moms. You are the unsung heroes, the ones who deal with the status quo, expectations, overwhelm, self-sacrifice, fatigue, and stress, all while trying to find a way to fulfill your own desires – something my mother who had five children couldn’t figure out.
Many years ago I wrote an essay called, “I Choose Not To Mother.” The opening line was, “Someone told me the best form of birth control was to go to McDonald’s, and watch the kids in the playground.” When I finished reading my somewhat humorous, but honest, story out loud in a writing class, a woman with a disgusted look on her face said to the teacher, “I was completely insulted by this.” Another woman said, “I want a copy of it.”
When the class ended I was swarmed by a group of women hungry to share their truth – those who were offended by my story, and those who honored it:
“I have five kids and I loved what you wrote. I love my children but I lost so much of me being a mother.”
“I made the choice not to have kids forty years ago and loved hearing about your choice.”
“It’s not natural to not want children.”
“I had four kids and I don’t know how I survived it.” “I only had children so I’d have someone to take care of me when I’m old.”
“I’m a psychiatrist and studies show people who don’t have children have a much higher suicide rate and more nervous breakdowns.”
“Having children has been my greatest joy.”
After everyone left the teacher said, “You received the best possible feedback a writer can get. People reacted deeply to your story. Whatever their viewpoint, you got them thinking. And that’s a good thing.”