When did it become cool to constantly complain about being a mom?
I've been thinking a lot lately about motherhood. I wrote this piece about Facebook mommy groups and how they've become toxic places to spend your time because all the women do is complain. My friend Lindsay posted this great piece on how the norm has shifted to accepting, embracing, and celebrating a constant messy home and how how she refuses to apologize for keeping hers clean and tidy. I see memes all the time on the internet that are either complaining about motherhood, whining about how hard it is, or are full out disrespectful to either their husbands or moms who kinda have it together. And it's made me wonder: When did motherhood embrace the culture of complaint?
Don't get me wrong. Motherhood is hard. It's exhausting at times and just when you finally sit down, someone needs a dirty bum wiped. And that always seems to happen at the moment when wiping a dirty bum is exactly the last thing you want to do.
But when did it become so en vogue to complain about it constantly? If you're not sure what I'm talking about, all of these memes were in my Facebook feed just this week alone:
I get it. They're funny. I mean, I didn't actually laugh at all of them, but I can see how they're popular. But they also point to a larger cultural issue: It's cool to complain about motherhood. Incessantly.
I have a few moms in my personal Facebook feed that outline, in detail, every single thing that's going wrong with their day. Some days, it's even multiple posts per day. And the crazy part is, these negative posts get an insane amount of likes! Why would a person put a bad day out into the universe? Perhaps if it was a one-off bad day, I could conclude that they were indeed seeking encouragement. But a bad day everyday? At that point, they're just LOOKING for the bad things that happen so that they can talk about them.
What's up with that?! Why have sites like Scary Mommy become so popular? Why are we constantly seeking out the challenging times and not focusing on the good ones? Worse yet - the moms who do refuse to complain are getting crucified. I read a comment on one of the above memes that read something to the effect of, "Really? I guess I just don't find my days to be that challenging, and if I did, I would return to the traditional workplace..." You should have seen the replies! She got called a perfect Pinterest mom and her "privilege" to stay home was called out, and I'm choosing not to repeat the nasty and jealous things that were said about her. Those moms didn't want any of her positivity or common sense (like, duh, if you're constantly not happy staying home with your children, go get a job) They wanted to keep the negativity and promote the culture of complaint.
Why be mad with a mom who isn't miserable? Why be mad at a mom who knows that if she is miserable, she HERSELF has the power to make herself happy again?
Staying home was a big adjustment for me, and motherhood has some tough days. But it's not this constant thing of misery that the memes and some moms on social media would have you believe. I'm sorry (actually, nope I'm not) but I don't find motherhood to be miserable! I don't find working from home to be miserable. I'm not mad or jealous of my husband for "escaping" off to work everyday, and I'm not spiteful of his business trips in four star hotels that result in 72 hour straight shifts with the kids.
Why? Because I get to be the one that sees my first son take his first steps. I get to video Otto crawling for the first time. I get to drop Henry off at school and watch him be the only confident, non crying two year old who hugs his brother goodbye and then goes to help his teachers. I get to witness so many of the motherhood wins, and the wins far outweigh the complaints.
Wouldn't it be awesome if motherhood stopped being a competition on who has it worse and instead became more focused on the sweet moments that make it great? I don't mean we need to dismiss the challenges. Let's talk about those too. But let's make sure we also talk about how motherhood is fun and rewarding. If a mom has two young kids and a clean house, let's ask her how she does it instead of name calling her. Let's embrace the moms who have it together! Let's help the moms who don't! But can we please, please stop this stupid culture of complaint already?