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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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21 Responses

  1. plucky punk
    plucky punk October 2, 2006 at 12:05 pm |

    Hee. Where was that article three months ago, before the baby was born, when I really needed it?

  2. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon October 2, 2006 at 12:21 pm |

    Wow, I thought I was the only one who planned out entire arguments in advance for my child and I to scream at each other… nice to know I’m not alone in that. LOL.

  3. Seraph
    Seraph October 2, 2006 at 12:26 pm |

    Hm. I’m guessing that she’s not having one of the “abnormally happy moods of pregnancy” right now.

  4. Dianne
    Dianne October 2, 2006 at 12:27 pm |

    Heh. Sounds about right. Actually, after my Critter was born I spent a couple of months feeling not like a zombie but rather the opposite: like an unmedicated bipolar. Mood swings is an understated way of putting it. Apparently I was also squirting out enough phermones to push the rest of the household into bipolardom as well…or maybe that was just my personality. Anyway, it settled down.

    What this article doesn’t take into account about these early days, though:Having a newborn is MUCH better than being pregnant. I felt so full of energy and health after Critter was born because I no longer had a parasite clinging for life in me while my immune system did its best to kill it…an epic battle that left me wanting to sleep 18 hours a day. Or 24. 24 hours a day sleeping would have been fine too. Anyway, the secret is to enjoy the baby and the lack of pregnancy and plan to look back on this era when you have a crazed tantruming toddler and think “at least I don’t have an infant.”

  5. molly
    molly October 2, 2006 at 12:42 pm |

    Much of what makes women sad and lonely and upset in pregnancy and post-partum (other than PPD, which is a hormonal issue) is that society says “hurray, you should be so happy!”

    But change is always stressful, and hard to get used to, and usually doesn’t make people all-the-time happy even when it’s a desired change. With a baby, however, saying “god, I’m scared. I don’t know if I just made a terrible mistake’ — even though this is a totally normal reaction — is considered perverse, maybe a sign of being a bad mother. This makes it so all these negative emotions have to be internalized and combined with an overriding sense of guilt over feeling them in the first place.

  6. Natalia
    Natalia October 2, 2006 at 12:44 pm |

    You should read some of the comments. They are so bloody snarky. Sheesh.

  7. ks
    ks October 2, 2006 at 2:19 pm |

    The infanthood bit sounds pretty accurate. I wouldn’t know about the teenager part, as mine are 1 and 4, but I am definitely glad they aren’t babies anymore.

    I really hate the way we are supposed to pretend that motherhood is all sweetness and light and that it is the most wonderful thing in the world we could be doing with ourselves. Because, while I do love my kids and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, motherhood is hard and for the most part, it sucks. I told a friend of mine who was expecting her first a couple of years ago that motherhood is 80% the most horrible, awful, painful experience in the world (and that’s after the actually having a baby part, which is no picnic), but that the 20% good is good enough to make up for the bad. However, the bad is really, really bad. And I really don’t understand why we’re not allowed to admit that it is difficult and not really fulfilling most of the time. Quite frankly, I do much better with my kids when I don’t spend every waking moment with them and I work only to pay the enormous daycare bill that is more than my mortgage (I make about $100/month more than that bill with my part time job). But if I didn’t work and had to stay home with them, I’d go nuts. I’m definitely a much better mother for having my job and some time to myself everyday than I am without it.

    And sorry for the rant, but the cult of motherhood makes me insane.

  8. Kyra
    Kyra October 2, 2006 at 2:22 pm |

    I’ll have to let my husband wash the lamprey

    *laughs ass off*

    That’s just hilarious, her referring to it as a lamprey, especially since I vividly remember my last year’s geology professor going into extreme detail about the lamprey’s feeding habits.

    Also, I’m ridiculously fond of the word “lamprey.”

  9. Auguste
    Auguste October 2, 2006 at 2:32 pm |

    I’ll have to let my husband wash the lamprey

    I have to admit, when I first read that part of the article (I was skimming) I thought she was referring to something altogether different.

  10. PLN
    PLN October 2, 2006 at 2:44 pm |

    I agree that the “lamprey” thing is just awesome. Heh, heh. Lamprey.

  11. Betsy
    Betsy October 2, 2006 at 2:55 pm |

    What I loved about this piece was that it simultaneously acknowledged the reality of these difficulties and poked fun at the mountain of horror stories that warns of them.

    I really hate the way we are supposed to pretend that motherhood is all sweetness and light and that it is the most wonderful thing in the world we could be doing with ourselves

    I agree, but I think it depends on what you’re reading. If, like the author of this wry essay (and like me), you mostly read liberal, ironic, sassy, etc., pieces, I think you’re MUCH more likely to find the horror stories than the sweetness and light. In fact, I have to remind myself sometimes that there *must* be something good about having children, right? Right? Because all I read is how it’s going to destroy your life and make you miserable.
    Unfortunately, though, none of that realism seems to make it into the political dialogue about mothers. There are many tons of pages written by women talking about how hard and demoralizing it is, but in the political sphere all you get is empty paeans (sp?) to the affectionate, patient, self-sacrificing-yet-no-nonsense Ur-Mother. I think the horror stories often scare women away from feeling competent and in control more than they help effect political change that would actually make motherhood easier, and make it easier to combing paid work with caring work.

  12. Betsy
    Betsy October 2, 2006 at 2:55 pm |

    Oh yeah, and I too love the “lamprey” reference.

  13. Rhiannon
    Rhiannon October 2, 2006 at 3:10 pm |

    Hmmm… I never think “well, at least she’s not an infant”… toddlers are way harder, far more demanding and bitchy as hell. The crying I could handle (though I used to say “I wish you could just TELL me what you want), it’s the “No I want the blue one!!!” crying, screaming and hissyfits I can’t stand. At least baby’s only cry when they NEED something… toddlers cry just cause they get the wrong color of something they want… ugh!

  14. Raincitygirl
    Raincitygirl October 2, 2006 at 3:36 pm |

    There are some people in this world who have no sense of humour whatsoever, and it looks like a lot of them read Salon.

  15. NBarnes
    NBarnes October 2, 2006 at 4:48 pm |

    The second page made me want to call my mother and apologise for having been such an awful child and send about ten years of make-up Mother’s Day cards. *guilt*

  16. car
    car October 2, 2006 at 7:40 pm |

    There’s a good book called “Loving every (other) minute of it”, in the same vein – everyone says it’s supposed to be fun and giggles, but sometimes motherhood sucks, but we aren’t allowed to say so, and so on. I wish I had read it when my kids were infants.

  17. Sally
    Sally October 2, 2006 at 8:16 pm |

    Oh, dear. I had to stop reading that because I was laughing out loud, and it was alarming my roommate.

  18. Brooklynite
    Brooklynite October 3, 2006 at 6:47 am |

    What I loved about this piece was that it simultaneously acknowledged the reality of these difficulties and poked fun at the mountain of horror stories that warns of them.

    Yeah. Exactly.

    When my wife was pregnant, we (I planned on being, and was, a stay-at-home-dad for the first few years) got a steady stream of “it’s going to be so much harder than you imagine” from friends with kids. But you know what? It wasn’t. It was hard, but we knew it was going to be hard. And it was and is a hell of a lot of fun, too.

    I thought the whole “you have no idea” thing was going to end when the kid was born, by the way, but no. Suddenly it was “having two kids is so different from having just one.” Sigh.

  19. Dianne
    Dianne October 3, 2006 at 9:19 am |

    I never think “well, at least she’s not an infant”… toddlers are way harder, far more demanding and bitchy as hell

    There is that. Personally, I found it much easier to deal with a toddler who could say or at least try to say what she wanted than an infant with whom you just had to try random things until one of them worked. Then again, my little lamprey had colic but talked early and therefore was able to negotiate relatively early in toddlerhood. YMMV, as they say.

  20. Dianne
    Dianne October 3, 2006 at 9:20 am |

    I thought the whole “you have no idea” thing was going to end when the kid was born, by the way, but no. Suddenly it was “having two kids is so different from having just one.” Sigh.

    Yeah, everybody has to one up you. Ignore it, it’s just self pity on the part of the advice givers.

  21. Ledasmom
    Ledasmom October 3, 2006 at 2:59 pm |

    Hmmm… I never think “well, at least she’s not an infant”… toddlers are way harder, far more demanding and bitchy as hell. The crying I could handle (though I used to say “I wish you could just TELL me what you want), it’s the “No I want the blue one!!!” crying, screaming and hissyfits I can’t stand. At least baby’s only cry when they NEED something… toddlers cry just cause they get the wrong color of something they want… ugh!

    For sheer stubborness, buttheadedness and aggravation value nothing and nobody beats my four-year-old. He is also very independent, which is good when it means he dresses himself but not so good when he decides to feed himself. Also speech-delayed, which means he started preschool early, which means I did a happy dance all over the apartment the day he started.

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