Things are about to get real hypocritical up in here – so get ready.
When you have a kid, your biology makes you think about them constantly. As mammals, our brains literally change by the influx of hormones so our main priority becomes keeping our kids alive… rather than eating them because we feel peckish. Despite my jealousy of reptiles, I could accept the fact that my daughter would be the only thing on my mind – but that didn’t mean she was going to be all I had to talk about.
I didn’t want to be one of those moms. I needed to prove to my friends and community that I was the same Toni who wanted to discuss holistic treatments for yeast infections, and conspiracy theories about the moon landing. I was more than just a mom. I was a person with complex thoughts, who would still make flagrante statements about being an anti-feminist militant feminist. So I did the only decent thing I could think of – my child became all I wrote about.
It has been four years since my becoming a *gasp* mommy blogger, and in that time I have grown really sick of reading articles about parenting. So here is the paradox. Parenting is one of the most significant and profound undertakings a person can experience. Raising a human is a responsibility of such vast importance that it could never be valued, analyzed or questioned enough. Creating a generation of citizens who genuinely embody the morals we value is the greatest effort of activism a person can undertake. And we seriously need to stop judging each other and telling each other what to do.
Part of the problem with modern parenting is we are so isolated from each other. We all live in our ticky tacky boxes in our ticky tacky lives, separated and disconnected. How can we expect to unite in an authentic way when everyone is too busy to have any time? We don’t experience communal living where we can observe and learn from one another. The ways we relate are more through façade, and perfect pictures of the perfect pancake breakfast on Facebook. Often times when we do get together as parents, rather than being real about the hardships, we are too busy trying to impress each other. Bragging about how your baby potty trained herself in utero.
It is the seclusion that makes us turn to the Internet for companionship. We read articles that are witty, self-deprecating, and make the same jokes over and over admitting how hard it is, but its still the best thing ever! (winky face) Maybe you feel less alone for a moment, but then your toddler shits in your shoe before throwing it at your head, and you fantasize for an instant about how emotionally satisfying it would feel to punt them into the woods. That is a lonely place to be. Or perhaps you read something that is a good piece of advice on how to deal with emotional outburst, but when your kid looks you in the eyes and calls you a “bitch” for the first time, all logic goes out the window and you can’t remember what steps to go through so you instead start screaming “what the fuck is wrong with you?”
Lets also not forget the constant critiquing and cutting each other down. Oh, Gwyneth Paltrow said being a movie star mom is harder than being a regular working mom –lets publically lynch her for being an out of touch uptight twatt. Or let’s all shame the breastfeeding mom for being a pervert, and insist her kid is going to be scarred for life because his high school friends will make fun of him – like 7 year olds not only read Time Magazine, but remember its cover for the next 10 years. We rip each other a part like rabid wolverines for Ferberizing, bottle-feeding, co-sleeping, not vaccinating, spanking, or smoking pot before you do some arts and crafts.
Maybe we need to stop reading about parenting while isolated alone in front of computers, and start talking to each other about it honestly?
Which brings me to this most recent Overshare podcast – a conversation with Bunmi Laditan, creator of the Honest Toddler. Bunmi started a twitter account under the guise of a toddler’s personality. It is funny, charming, relatable, and most importantly not telling anyone how to parent their child. The brilliance behind the branding is anyone who has experienced the toddler years knows exactly the battles being articulated. The unique private hell that only a 3-year old can put you through.
Getting a chance to talk to one of the most successful mommy’s in the mommy-sphere is a lot more emotionally satisfying than reading an article reminding me its okay that my daughter likes pink, but only as long as I didn’t tell her to. The best way to really get at the heart of parenting is to sit down with someone you trust, and discuss it openly. But can keep reading my blogs and articles about parenting okay? Pretty please?