Oct 7, 2010

Oh, Mother

In some circles, talking about motherhood is considered lame. Mommy talk is twee, boring, kind of stupid, or whatever. A friend told me this at a recent party. I'll bear with your company, but please no talk of your kids. Not in those exact words, but that's the sentiment. So, that friend and I only talked about her fabulous single life. When someone asked her, You don't read their mommy blog? referring to this shared cyberspace with Nana, she shook her head no, her face expressing: I'd rather eat shit. Okay. I will not begrudge a friend her opinion. Besides, I don't expect everyone to read this blog or even like it.

Now it did make me think. I do really just love being a mother and talking about it. I'm a sucker for anyone's cute-kid-anecdotes. I am corny like that.

I still talk sex, drugs, politics and rock and roll. Oh, and religion. Pretty things. Books too. I don't see Atlas Shrugged as a "hateful novel" and I think some people should just calm down about it. Gore Vidal I'm talking to you. I'm into pop culture. I love Mad Men so much I can discuss it to the point where I imagine my husband wonders, Are we in anthropology class? I would be interested in telling you why Martin Scorsese's films are not misogynist. I have opinions on fashion, make-up and skin care. I suspect Kris Aquino is a textbook case narcissist, let's talk about that. I love to talk about a lot more other stuff--what's going on in my friends' lives, where's it good to eat, trips to exotic places, single-life adventures, married-life misadventures, so on and so forth.

But yes, guilty as hell, I especially love talking about my kids' antics and little achievements. I like posting photos of them on Facebook. Look, my little girl loves to play dress-up! My little boy asked me, Mama why is the sky so big? OMG, that is so existential! I had a  discussion about this with a friend, one who was interested, thankfully I didn't bore her. Although, we do have a shared fondness for parenting talk which in some circles would also make her Lame.

But then...

Growing human beings are just so fascinating. From a scientific point of view alone they are fascinating. The psychology of it all. How young minds develop. How character is formed. How parent-child relationships are so complex. Siblings and peers. Family dynamics. School settings. Media literacy and cultural influences for children in the 21st Century. The list goes on and on. Kids in general just blow my mind.

My kids in particular, they make my heart explode. They are the sweetest, funniest people I know. They are a moveable feast. No matter how much we stick to our daily routine, no day comes without surprises--some not-so-good, but most days pretty-darn-great. These days, I get to sing and dance like a lunatic at home, just like I used to do when I was young, with only Madonna or The Cure for company. This time I'm singing and dancing to Despicable Me, Mark Ronson or Vampire Weekend in the company of the two coolest people in the world. Who else? My babies.

What I'm saying is, my kids are so fucking significant to me. So significant I had to use an expletive. They are significant in so many levels I don't know where to begin.

My children have humbled me. They have healed parts of me I thought would never heal. It's like they came with a big bonus pack of Realizations. They have made me learn how to forgive people I thought I would never forgive. I have found a wellspring of patience in me I thought never I had. They have vomited on me, kept me up at night, made me clean poo and pee with gusto, wipe their asses, hold their snot and phlegm without wincing. Sometimes, they get in the way of sex and romance... and yet, their dad and I are utterly in love with them, no longer just each other. They have made us worry like we have never worried before... and yet, they have made us more hopeful than we have ever been.

For many years pre-motherhood, I had a demanding job in news and television. I constantly had to get to the bottom of this-and-that,  research like a madwoman, run after people, talk to them, psychologize and empathize, face impending doom on a daily basis, grin and bear it, from time-to-time function on three hours sleep and then attempt be strategic and creative all at the same time. Motherhood is a lot like that old job--minus the toxic office politics and add much more fun. Mama-work also pays much better than money or bragging rights. While I am grateful for the work I still get to do these days, I am infinitely more grateful for being a mom. Sure it's a cliche, but only because it's true for most of us mothers. And we are everywhere.

I know my experiences as a woman or mother are not totally universal. I will bet, universally, us mothers love talking about our kids--how life-changing they are, how exasperating they can be, how they are love-and-joy rolled into adorable chocolate-smeared faces. We do love being moms and telling the world how it feels. Some people wish we'd shut up about it already, but can we really help ourselves? Hardly. I think that's fine. Let it out mamas!

P.S. Michelle Cunningham my gifted photographer friend captured those mama and papa moments shown above. Thanks Love Love! She can take your pictures too if you'd like.


Strategic Stiletto said...

That is not very feminist of your friend. The whole point of feminism is that woman has the right to choose what works for her. When women judge and trivialize each other like this alleged friend (really, who made her Goddess?!) has, we poo-poo on all the hard work women before us have put into getting us to where we are now.

I don't have kids, and since I turned 40 this year I have a feeling the motherhood ship has sailed for me. But I have my own experience of feeling my heart grow and learn from my wonderful nieces and nephews.

I'm sorry, any woman who rains on another woman's parade is just not cool. All our lives and concerns are important.

So gush and mush all you like, Nona. I think it's tres chic, and uber cool. Not only because you wear motherhood so well, but because motherhood is one of the coolest most important jobs. Ever.

MZMackay said...

Bravo on this post, Nona! It is clear that you are speaking from your heart, and that your heart beats fervently for your children.

I forget what it was like pre-motherhood. I have to say though, no one ever knows what it's like to be a mother, until they actually become one.

You, my dear, are one of the most beautiful ones I know.

The pictures are beautiful, too. Great job Love Love!

Ana said...

Beautifully expressed. You spoke my heart! The never ceasing wonder and miracle as seen through my kids' eyes-- priceless!

Barni said...

If that's a lame crowd, then Lame is the new Cool. Find me in the mosh pit with you. And you need not ask if I give an effing ess whether others think I'm maudlin for being head over heels in love with my kids. GUILTY AS CHARGED!

Nana said...

Aye! Aye, Nona!
I love the pictures, by the way. The last one is my fave!

Nona said...

Important point raised Tish--women can should be appreciated in the many paths they choose to take. You can be a married mother, single-mother, swinging single, celibate-single, lesbian, Mother Theresa, etc. and I don't see any one of those types of women to be better than the other types. It all boils down to how we walk our chosen paths. Thank you for being an uber-cool, single (New Yorker to boot!) who listens to our mama-musings.

Mieke, Ana and Nana good to have each other to listen to. Big mom-size hug goes out to you!

Barni, My fellow Maudlin Mom, we are already in the mosh pit together!

Mrs. B. said...

Beautiful post Nona and beautiful pictures. Your kids are adorable! I love being a mom too but I love talking about all the other things you mentioned as well...books, movies, music, skin care, etc... These things don't go away even when you become a mom. I think Scorsese is brilliant too. Thank god for our book club! It was a lot of fun last night and I'm looking forward to our next meeting.

Nona said...

Hey Mrs. B : ) Yes, another great book club dinner last night. I'm still laughing about Lia making love to her dessert! Had fun talking to all the Hedgehogs about Capote, Holly/Lula Mae, Fred, et. al. Cheers to moms and book clubs!

michelle cunningham said...

now that i have kaya i have entered the realm you speak of and it's just the beginning. i can see that i'll be immersed in the same world, exploding with the same sense of me-ness and mommy-ness. i'm looking forward to it! well said! oh btw.. i really don't know how you managed to limit yourself to the photo choices you had coz i loved them all and couldn't bear to cut any of them out. you've got a gorgeous family. congratulations my dear!

Cely said...

What can i say? Everyone has taken the words right out of my mouth.

So... Super beautiful post, dear Nona! And the pics are gorgeous!

Nona said...

Explode away Love Love. I tell ya Kaya is going to do that : )

Thank you for ALWAYS listening Cely. Hugs to Emma and you : )

Cholo Laurel said...

"Growing human beings are just so fascinating... The psychology of it all. How young minds develop. How character is formed. How parent-child relationships are so complex. Siblings and peers. Family dynamics. School settings....The list goes on and on. Kids in general just blow my mind."

This is soooooo true for me as well! My greatest joy is watching them grow up!

Love this one!

Tito Cholo

Nona said...

I know you feel me Tito Cholo : )

AnaJG said...

You know what I notice about motherhood? Everything (and everyone) that is negative becomes unimportant and I actually end up being oblivious to it/them because the kids just make me SO HAPPY! They are my daily dose of happiness, positivity, hilarity, cheer...! Where can I get an honorary pass to that mosh pit?

Nona said...

Hi Ana : ) Welcome to the virtual mosh pit!