A hefty dose of sour, to what is sure to be filled with saccharin.

There’s a little show on Sundays that I like to catch, called “Sunday Morning”, it’s full of  relevant news stories that aren’t made to offend or patronize or having you running for cover, because something sinister is right outside your door but  you must stay tuned until after the weather to discover what that is. It’s kind of like NPR on Valium. So I was psyched that they had a little piece on Erma Bombeck. I always loved Erma Bombeck, though she was before my time and I assume doesn’t have the audience she once did; my mother and grandmother had her books and I really enjoyed reading them. I was a mother at the totally mature age of 19, and was never the Martha Stewart type, so her hilarious stories of non-housekeeping and the boredom and insanity of motherhood struck a chord.

At the end of this piece on Bombeck, CBS showed a poll which stated 79% of mothers feel they have it worse off than their mothers. Ouch, we’ve come a long way baby. Hardly…but how could we feel that way? I’d like to say for starters it’s because kids today just plain suck, but I don’t want to deal with that therapy bill for my children so I’ll refrain. Now, for real, why? It could be our overreaching nature which I discussed here. Or maybe now we must be mothers and work outside the home to either keep up with the Joneses or even more likely, pay the electric bill.  Now, asides from our second full-time job, we are supposed to love motherhood more than anything. It’s supposed to be our sole reason for living. It is supposed to make us feel complete. Our house will be clean, our dinner table full of fresh healthy choices, our children will be stars not only in school but also in sports, our waist size will be small, our boobs huge, our savings fat, our college accounts for our kids even fatter, our style impeccable, our fundraising skills for the PTA exemplary, our success at our full-time paying job noteworthy, our parties legendary, our husbands  “satisfied”,  and us — well, what else could we possibly need besides the yearning to push our children for hours and hours on the swing?

Now while my husband is out-of-town working for Mother’s Day again, my spoiled children will need to be yelled out to clean the kitchen, my youngest will sit  and eat potato chips for breakfast because I their mother didn’t get to the grocery store, I’ll read the text from my father who every year reminds me it’s Mother’s Day (not like I haven’t been a mother for over 16 years, but just in case I forgot) and  I will be in bed seething with jealousy over a sister who chose to forgo that ever-present urge to never sleep soundly again and not have kids.

Happy Mother’s Day, may yours be more fulfilling than mine.

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4 responses to “A hefty dose of sour, to what is sure to be filled with saccharin.

  1. I’m thinking that part of the reason that 79% of us think we have it harder than our moms is that it is not socially acceptable to drink in the afternoon, or alone, anymore.

    • I agree. There’s a great story my grandmother told about a time when her sister-in-law came to visit. One day while all the kids were torturing each other relentlessly, my grandmother asked, “How do you keep so calm?” The sister- in-law answered, “Valium.”

  2. I don’t know about you, but I was definitely brought up a conservative republican – that life was supposed to be like the Leave it to Beaver show: Dad works the 9-5, Mom stays home and watches the kids, has dad’s drink ready for him when he gets home, has dinner ready, etc. Church, etc.

    This lifestyle was obsolete almost as soon as it was televised (though the GOP still yearns for those “Golden Years”).

    Women entering the workplace in recent years has changed the very fabric of our society. I think it is for the better, but it does beg the question “At what cost?” (to our kids).

    Perhaps what could/should happen, (and what might be happening now), is that women (and couples) put their careers first, enjoying their early adult years childless – saving for the creation of a kid-laden family down the road when one of them can afford to take off to parent full time (presumably the lower wage earner, but not always I guess). I know a handful of Mr. Mom’s right now. It’s funny how TV is starting to reflect this now to – men as the primary care giver (e.g. Two & a Half Men, etc.).

    If we think of mother’s and father’s day in that Golden Years paradigm (mom is the nuturer and keeper of the home, dad as the bread winner and disciplinarian), it certainly does shake things up when the primary care giver is the husband. Mother’s day must feel a little awkward in those scenarios.

    • This answer does make sense, but as more and more women are finding out “waiting” comes with its fair share of consequences, too. Whether it’s the ability to become pregnant or the risks for problems. There are also the whoops…and what about the families that will never have any or enough money saved for one parent to quit working. Also some women prefer to work, nothing is wrong with that because I’m a firm believer in, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

      In my case, I just the want the flexibility to be fulfilled personally and professionally while allowing time to “lunch” with friends, play a little tennis (or whatever) and be there for my kids, their activities and school — without having to give up color tv, organic veggies, and air conditioning.

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