An Uncomplicated Life Blog: The Culture of Complaint

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Culture of Complaint

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?

Let's stop being so negative about motherhood and mommydom

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?


  1. Great post Paige! I'm not a mommy, but I loved this and truly agree! :)

  2. It's like you're reading my mind. I see these ALL THE TIME and seriously don't get it. Is it challenging to balance everything? Sure, but that's life. I work full time with a long commute... and I still don't find motherhood as hard as all these complainers make it out to be. I have never gotten it and really don't understand why people complain all the time! If something isn't working for you, you have the power to change it, and I don't get why SO MANY people seem to not get that.

    I much prefer to have positivity in my life in regards to motherhood, especially on social media. If I'm having a bad day, I'm going to talk to my husband, or my mom, or one of my girlfriends about it - not tell the whole world. I don't need validation, I just need to vent and I'd rather do that with someone I know well and trust.

  3. Mic. Drop.

    Yeah girl! I'm not a mom, so take this for what it's worth -

    Like you I completely think it's fine to seek encouragement for a random bad day... but here's what I don't get: a lot of these people who constantly complain hold nothing back. Not only are they kind of irrational about most things, they air ALLLLL their dirty laundry. Keep yo skeletons in yo closet, girls! I don't mean that everyone should suffer in silence - not at all - but lord have mercy! There are some bits of life that do not belong on the internet... they should be shared over a glass of wine with your best friend, sister, mom, or prevention hotline! Stop airing all of your crap on a public forum. It's embarrassing.
    Ok. I'm done.

  4. I love this! I'm not a mom yet, but probably someday. And when that day comes, I sincerely hope I approach motherhood the way you do!

  5. Love this and needed the reminder as I suspect my 8-week-old has colic and I'm totally exhausted physically and emotionally. I try to see the positive since I'm so grateful for healthy kids! Complaining and only focusing on the negatives about the hard work of motherhood can be toxic. Great post :)

  6. I love this. Coming from the side of it being SO difficult to get pregnant and even have a child, it's hard for me to read when people constantly talk about how hard or tough motherhood is (and the ever present comment "you can have mine!"). I know when I get pregnant that, because of our struggle, I'm not going to take anything for granted. Sure there will be rough days, when I'm going to need to vent to someone, because that's life. But I surely won't be looking at every day as if it's a burden.

  7. Thank you for writing on this subject. Nothing has changed. Kids are messy, No sleep same old routine. It is what it is and honestly soon they will be gone and you miss everything. Almost everything.

  8. Oh, I am SO GLAD I am not the only mom who truly enjoys being a mother! I really dislike those who complain about it all.the.time. I am one of those who are constantly happy and cheering about my kids and motherhood. I am happy even in the hard times because they are my joy and treasure. I want them to know it! Complaining about them doesn't do that nor does it help. Loved this post!

  9. I am so with you! There are definitely times when things are hard, but I love being a mom and home with my kids. If I didn't I'd go back to work. Not sure why more moms don't if they hate being at home so much.

  10. YES!! Thanks for sharing this. I mean I'm not a mom, but I feel like a LOT of the mommy social and blogs I've seen and follow are constantly complaining about something and are less thankful for the beautiful gift they've brought into this world. God forbid I open my mouth about not getting sleep because of a client deadline and I get slapped with a "omg but the human I birthed 13 months ago was being a little b***ch and didn't sleep so I haven't either blah blah blah." Bro, this is not a competition. This is kinda sidenote-ish, but lately I've felt my work/job isn't as meaningful as I would like it to be. If my job consisted of teaching, inspiring and being a role model for a young mind, I would be so happy and proud. Thanks for being transparent and honest :)

  11. i mean, i'm not a mother but my friend has said this about her friends that are. she's a hairdresser and she's like, i'm always put together. always. my friends are like no, my hair isn't done, i'm a mom. and she's had people say crap to her like she must have secret help or not love her kids as much because she does her hair and makeup everyday. like, honestly. i think it's cool to complain about everything these days, or at least that's the gist i get from the internet lol. glad you're able to appreciate it instead.

  12. I really love your blog. You have such a refreshing perspective. There are tough days, but even during those times I see the beauty in the moments. Like my kids had melt downs today but there was a moment we shared playing on my bed. So many laughs and giggles. It was so perfect. I chose to focus on that.

  13. I really love your blog. You have such a refreshing perspective. There are tough days, but even during those times I see the beauty in the moments. Like my kids had melt downs today but there was a moment we shared playing on my bed. So many laughs and giggles. It was so perfect. I chose to focus on that.

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