Anything and Everything: the pressures of modern motherhood.

And here we are again…

Strong, proud, military and alone… and not feeling so strong.

It’s funny, I find, in this weird half-solo parenting life – you go on your merry way and manage as best you can and then one silly thing sets you off to thinking ‘why ever did I ever think I could do this?’

I couldn’t start the damn power washer today.

I managed to walk for an hour, help a friend, make it through a brutal yoga class, watch another friend’s child, weed and rearrange huge parts of my backyard, do two loads of laundry and make a healthy, local and interesting meal for my children.  Yet the fact that I wasn’t physically strong enough to start the engine on the stupid gas powered power-washer erased all those triumphs.

That’s the problem with the modern model of motherhood.  We’re supposed to, not only do the cooking, cleaning and childrearing, we’re supposed to do everything a man can do as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe women can be anything they want to be.  I AM woman, hear me roar.  Today I encouraged the girl playing with Little Dude today to abandon the damsel in distress persona for the warrior princess (to no avail, she was firmly entrenched in her damselness).

The problem is in believing woman can be anything, we seem to convince ourselves we can be everything too.

There’s a new book out arguing that Modern Motherhood is sending women back to the dark ages with its expectation that life is completely centred around the child. I’m not willing to go that far but I can see some of the reasoning as valid.

Feminism was once about empowering women to take on a man’s role and abandoning traditional notions of motherhood.  Now we seemed to have moved back to those traditional views of motherhood (not without reason) but the expectation of feminism remain (again, not without reason).  The result, however, makes for a tough balance.  No wonder depression rates in modern mothers are so high (depression rates in women are twice and high as those in men and it is very common for women who stay home with young children).

Part of my brain understands I can’t, and shouldn’t want, to be everything.  I just wish the left side would tell the right side about it – other the other way around… I’m just too tired to look up which part of the brain controls logic and which emotion – and I don’t really care anyway (maybe that’s a good sign… the first in an imaginary 12 steps to recovery).

Maybe that’s a good way to think of it… I have an ‘everything addiction.’

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One Response to Anything and Everything: the pressures of modern motherhood.

  1. I don’t know how to light the BBQ. I don’t know how to start the snowblower or the lawnmower. It’s deliberate on my part-if I learned how to do these things, I would then be expected to USE them. However, if anything happened to my husband, I’d be in a deep pile of doodoo.

    People are happy to help. We have to be able to ask for it, and I think THAT’S the real disservice feminism has dealt us. It doesn’t make us helpless females to ask for help when we need it. It makes us smart enough to understand our limitations.

    I need to remember that myself as I struggle with the increasing demands of my mother’s care in addition to my other responsibilities. It’s okay to ask for help.

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