When we were trying to have a baby, which took ages, I felt assailed by online writing about the completion motherhood had brought. It seemed that only the presence of a child validated lives. Articles were full of feminine fulfilment and joy. It made me feel even more convinced that my one shot at true happiness was to have a baby. Obviously, I didn’t help the way I felt, but it did seem quite empowering to believe that having children was full of good times along side the new and difficult.
Two years later, and now I’m a blogger myself, and I’m seeing a different path being cut through the blogosphere. It seems the online death of the cult of contented motherhood is happening and a new era is dawning.
The new, often preferred badge of honour now is of weary dislike and irritation. It’s the step beyond the well-trodden path of daring to mention that being a mum is hard. It’s saying that your kids are making your life hard, with purpose. They irritate you on a personal level, to the extent they require mocking. It’s the underlying implication that they drag you down, crash your otherwise soaring vibe and, on the way, have wrecked intimate parts of you with wilful destruction. It’s the opposite of humble bragging. I’m bewildered by it.
I want to believe is, it’s done for laughs. For Likes. For Shares. I write for Buzzfeed occasionally, so I know the value of a good ‘stare and share’ scroll-through list of snark. It’s not the reality. It can’t be, surely? But the style of the cult of anti-motherhood seems to get more ‘me too’ comments than anything else. It seems to be bringing so much online solace – hundreds of ‘so true’ and ‘nailed it’ comments. So is this how we’re all feeling, and why has it suddenly changed? Why is parenthood making us so cross with our kids and our roles as parents?
Writing this (and just reading 30 seconds ago that the Duchess of Cambridge had a little girl today) has made me love you even more, Tibby. My love for you is an open book and I can’t wait for every single chapter. I’ve added this picture because it makes me smile every time I look at it, because I told you both to get ready for a walk and this is what you and Mack did. You both look so adorably serious.