Monday, May 14, 2012


Right after I had my first son, I went back to school. And there I told my students the biggest sleep-deprived, love-induced lie ever: "Being a mother is easy! Getting my degrees was harder."

I never took it back, not that semester, even after I knew for a fact it wasn't true. And it wasn't true, not at all. Being a mom is the most difficult, terrifying, awesome thing I've ever had to do. Being a mom is worrying about low weight gain and healthy menus and making dinner every single night with vegetables because suddenly you can't skip meals without tiny people having a meltdown. It's chasing a toddler down the sidewalk after you drag your garbage cans out to the curb because he loves running so much that he can never wait for you to finish before he dashes off. It's holding your kid during a public screamfest because he wants SOME GUMBALLLLLLS NOOOOOW, snuggling with two children while looking at a giraffe at the zoo, and rushing towards your son as he scoops dust into his shoes and starts to spin--all on the same afternoon. There are moms out there who have kids with SMA, moms who work ten hours a day, moms who stay home and keep all the laundry food bills house kids working and (mostly) happy. There are pressures: to be organic and breastfeed and use cloth diapers. It's okay to make individual choices, though. All kids are different, and so are their parents.

I respect my friends who have children. I respect my friends who don't have children. But I think it's in everyone's best interest to value children, and support parents, and pretty much help families of all kinds be in the happiest place they can be. Because those little girls and boys? They're the ones who will design our buildings and fix our hearts when we get old. They'll write our books. They'll make art. They'll take care of the world. I, for one, want all children to get the best education possible, because that could make the future so much cooler.

My point? I guess my point is that society should value parenthood more. I get respect for being a professor. I never get societal appreciation as a mother. I'm so, so lucky that I have a chance to work in a place I love and take care of my children the majority of the time. But it's a tricky balance. Working mothers feel guilt. Stay-at-home mothers get dismissed. But all the mothers I know personally are amazing, and even on days when their four-year-old throws remotes and screams (not that I'm describing today at my house) it would be nice for them to get some respect. It would be better if there could be childcare readily available at every workplace and community teaching groups for parents on lots of topics (sleeping babies, teaching preschoolers to read, responding to remote-throwing tantrums...), but I'd settle for the recognition that moms have the best stories, and should be treated with care--and then you might get to hear those stories!

I'll give you a story example:

Yesterday my four-year-old decided to be a zombie.

"I will eat your brain!" he announced to my husband. "NOM, NOM, NOM!"

My husband fell over, suitably eaten.

My zombie looked at me. "I will eat your brain, too!"

He started to lurch towards me, but then he paused. "Wait. It's Mother's Day. I won't eat your brain because it's Mother's Day."

Then he pivoted after his one-year-old brother instead, who laughed while his brains got devoured.

He never ate my brain the entire day.

The end.

I swear I'll stop rambling now, and I'll get to other blog thingies that I'm supposed to get to later this week. But look! Zombie Elmo! Aren't you glad there's a zombie Elmo?

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