Monday, August 25, 2003

America: Land of Attitude Totalitarianism

Perhaps it isn't only here where people trumpet the false connection between hard work and wealth, success. Or mention the suffering in bla bla place to shut you up when you are realizing your life might be: work, sleep, work, sleep and then death and this bothers you.

But one thing you better NOT have a bad attitude about is your unborn child--if you're planning to keep it that is. If you are the woman carrying it. If you are the man, it's perfectly fine to be ambivalent. But mommies aren't supposed to be ambivalent.

I think there is something that should be told to every young girl constantly--starting around the age of seven or so: It sucks to be a mommy.

I do believe that telling girls especially that it sucks to be a mommy would reduce teen pregnancy rates and probably therapy rates as well. One of the main things therapists seem interested in is the failings of parents. The idea is: parents are supposed to be like this... but your parents weren't they were like this (disinterested or neglectful or too protective or selfish and cruel in some way). Some parents are real horrors but sometimes what we fail to acknowledge is: It sucks to be a mommy. How could anyone ever do the things that are expected of mothers? It's virtually impossible for any human being to be that perfect.

I say this as a prospective mommy. Honestly, it feels like I'm saying I torture kitties for fun. Mommy guilt. But on the other hand just the idea of being the mommy we are supposed to be makes me want to barf.

So instead my husband and I have conversations like:

--B-b-but (sob) everything d-d-dies...babies die...the world is full of things that die.
--Babies don't die very much! Our baby won't die.
--Yes it will! It will grow up and become old and DIE. Everything that is good in the world v-v-vanishes and disappears as if it never was. Even the universe is going to die.
--OK...I guess I can't argue with that.

It suddenly dawned on me that being a good parent will involve concealing my true views and emotions on life for about 18 years or so or perhaps longer. Good parenthood in my case means a complete facade of cheer. How can I keep it up?

It might depend a little on the particular baby.

In any case, I have begun to wonder: Why do people have children? Really?

I love this friend of mine from college. She says that she always tries to find out whether the women she talks to hate being mothers as much as her. (Of course she loves her son but she hates being a mother.) She thinks they must be lying.

If you are one of those who hasn't procreated and is considering it: Watch this space. Will it really be all the crap people tell you? They always say: "It's so great!" You can believe that I will reveal whether it sucks and how bad.

Maybe it is really great...maybe. But when you think about it: Who would tell you otherwise?


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