Monday, December 05, 2005

Obsessed with the dead? aka Obsessed Mommies

The blogosphere is filled with them. And in addition to my previously mentioned jealousy, I am experiencing an incredible feeling of boredom and frustration with their sugary sweetness and inspirational insights. They're moms. And they have nothing to say that is of any use to me anymore. I find myself rolling my eyes at the call-Guiness-Johnny-is-a-genius moments they prattle on and on about. Life is hard; and they have to drive their minivan full of living children from soccer practice to dance recitals; and, oh no, they had to eat at McDonalds again, will their children grow up to be fat; and when will they get a moment to themselves; and Christmas is so stressful, do you have your shopping done; and we have such an amazing bond...blah, blah, blah.

I'm BORED! Do mothers really have nothing else to talk about? (Never mind the aforementioned jealousy.) You are seriously putting me to sleep with all this blather. Hallmark could do many a movie of the week with the material you provide (and I'm quite sure I've actually seen a few of these stories on some made-for-TV movie or another). Does anything really and truly BAD ever happen to you? And if so, why don't you blog about THAT?

Now, I'm as sappy as the next girl and I love a good mother story to remind me how wonderful the adventure is. But good grief, the blogosphere is overrun with the same story told over and over and over and over and over and over...zzzzzzzzzzzz. Being a mom is great...scary...but great. I GET IT. Move on. Or at least distinguish yourself from the rest of the population who has access to a keyboard and an internet connection and give me something MORE. Give me something real. Yes, we all know you can turn a witty phrase...aren't you clever...yawn.

This rant leads me to believe that I may have an unhealthy obsession with pain and suffering. I read blogs by people I know have suffered and I am not so dismissive. I cheer for them and wish nothing but good things for them. When they tell me a happy story, I tear up and feel a lump in my throat. But for the "mommy bloggers" out there, I feel nothing but irritability and shortness of temper. Maybe it's because the sheer number of them is so overwhelming. There seem to be fewer bloggers willing to delve into the truly dark and scary stuff...the reality of life...the bigger issues.


There, I said it. When someone talks about a birth, they will go on and on and on...writing epic poetry about the grand experience of birthing a child. And I do not discount the importance of such an event. In fact, I have done the same. BUT...when people blog about a death or some other tragedy that has befallen them, you usually get a one paragraph, "Grandpa died," and if your lucky a one paragraph pretty reflection on Grandpa and how much he meant. Then we're back to regularly scheduled programming and we're talking about how Johnny successfully mastered the art of hitting the toilet with his urine while standing up (truly, one of the more annoying conversations I've seen grown women engage in). And this usually goes on for a dozen posts or least until Johnny can sign his name in pee with a flair like Zorro.

I talk about my son and his accomplishments. I am proud of my son. But I would like to think that there is something more there. Something that makes me...well...ME. And that means getting real and talking about the bad as much as I talk about the good. Why does our society have such an obsession with being happy all the time? Why do we have to "move on" from tragedy and not fully experience and share sadness, or hurt, or anger? Surely, there is something to be said for sharing these experiences and realizing we are not all Stepford Wives who are content to smile and reflect on the beauty of all things motherhood.

In surfing the blogosphere this morning (yes, while I should be working), I stumbled across several books about motherhood written by women who are either on crack or have been beaned in the head by the tooth fairy's happy stick. I really don't understand the affinity for happy mommy stories. It's almost a collective consciousness...where the same story is actually passed from one woman to another for retelling with [insert names here] as the stars of the show. Susie's not counting to ten? Oh, well, let me tell you how WE did it. Let me guide you in the ways of being a happy mommy.

What? You're not happy? You feel like throwing your child in a closet and running over random strangers on the street? What is WRONG with you? Why aren't you HAPPY? Be happy. We like you better that way. Please excuse the snoring...she's obsessed with reality...and she talks about death and sadness...she's just not HAPPY.

I have begun to follow craft blogs because they seem to have some purpose. I can tell where they are going. And there is often just as much of a chance the the craft could go awfully awry and the person will end up with elephant sized slippers as they will a beautiful handmade sweater for Dad. It's concrete. It's going somewhere. Mommy bloggers have filled up the blogosphere with words that all reach the same conclusion. It's great to be a mommy. And this earth-shattering revelation takes pages and pages...megabytes of storage...and must be told and retold until the end of time. I feel like I'm being bludgeoned with a dull would be too quick to be an appropriate comparison. Chinese water torture perhaps.

Are women so desperate to be heard that they will turn to writing about bodily fluids until the cows come home? Is there really that much value in the shared experience of gushing over your children and your experiences in raising them? Entire blogs devoted to what Billy ate today...whether he peed and pooped...what inarticulate babble he made from his bouncy seat. Does this sort of bonding really create any sort of lasting relationship with any of your readers? Or is it just intended to make people envious of your perfect life?

Perhaps I have an unhealthy obsession with my dead child. But it can't compare to the obsession some of these women have with their living children.


kate said...

Oh i never read those fluffy bunny mommy blogs. They irritate the hell out of me....

On the flip side, just yesterday i had a long conversation with my 13-year old son about the mystical skill of hitting the toilet with his urine while standing up. So perhaps these ladies know something i do not know... something that will forever free me from cleaning up spilled pee...and all of a sudden all the problems in my life will magically be solved... Where was that blog about the pee again, Catherine??

deadbabymama said...

Rockin' post, I couldn't agree more.

rach said...

OH. MY. LORD. you have no idea how this post has been rolling around in my head. I feel the same exact way. And I sure hope I am not one of those mommys you talk about. If I am, SHOOT ME THE HELL INTO OBLIVION!

ok, done with the caps.


Penultimatina said...

People blog about their children? How boring! Almost as boring, perhaps, as blogging about poetry and grading student papers. :) But at least my blog is free of bodily fluids. Hooray!

I love reading your thoughts, Kate. You have such a talent with language and truth.

Heather said...

I too love reading your blog. You are a great writer.

You know what I think? Blogs are people's journals. They write about their life, what they know. I blog about my kids alot, I am sure you have noticed. Here is the thing, though. I don't have an exciting career or any other greatness to blog about. If I blog about my job, I would just talk about other people's kids. I would much rather blog about my own. Every once in a while, I have something else to talk about. But 90% of the time, it is the kids. Because they make up about that percentage (if not more) of what I think about and what I do each day. Do I realize it gets old to others? Heck yeah, but I just hope they like me enough to excuse me. ;) I am sorry you are feeling so down. I know it sucks and it is a horrible thing for you to look around you and see holiday things and disgustingly happy people everywhere. I just hope somehow very soon it gets better for you and your family. Lots of love to you, Kate.

rach said...

i just reread this post. new post brewing. damn you are genius.


Jill said...

When I first started posting on US based message boards to do with infertility etc... I felt like an alien cos I was sure these women were all blonde, with nice neat bob cuts and alice bands and pastel twin sets - and that they ran no deeper than that.

My experience with motherhood is that it is damn messy and little kids are insane and mostly beyond understanding. And if it is all day every day then it's generally a fairly shitty job that no one thinks is worthwhile. And if what you do 24 hours a day isn't worthwhile, then how can you be? So women feel their lives and identity slipping away, their dearest wish to speak a complete sentence to an adult. About anything.

So while this whole crazy 'motherhood is so fulfilling and 100% enough' idea is nice, my guess is that it is an attempt by many women to convince THEMSELVES that their kids really ARE enough for them.

I wish they'd talk about that. But then someone from our corner of deadbabyland would blast them for that too...fact is, having dead kids sucks, and NOTHING will ever compare to it, no one will ever understand and everything anyone else says will be inane and stupid until they too expereince it.

And if Johnny really can pee inside the toilet, I'd PAY for that secret (and I don't have sons, just a husband...)

runelady said...

It's easy to criticize and make fun of people. It's a little harder to try to understand them. If someone chooses to write about happy things, it very well could be because they're shallow or it could be because they have enough pain and don't really feel like sharing it with the whold blog community. They could be living lives of pain from abusive relationships or devastating illnesses and just don't feel like sharing a glimpse of their soul and their desperation. Sometimes if you write a lie, you can almost believe it. Not everyone can be open and honest and they don't deserve ridicule. You don't like reading their blogs, then don't read them. It's a free Internet and you're entititled to your opinion and you're entitled to rant and rave about it but ease up kid, you're causing me to worry a bit. I love you.

cat said...

Can't read mommie blogs for the most part. There are a few ... sarcastic and honest mommies that are fun to read but you are correct they are few and far between.

I promise you that when and if we become parents... I will not turn into a pollyanna... *scouts honor*