Monday, August 9, 2010

"Motherhood is a cinch"

Last Sunday's paper offered up this gem of an article by Australian TV newsreader, Jacinta Tynan.

 http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/lifematters/is-motherhood-really-that-hard-20100802-1131y.html



"There is one thing nobody warned me about when I became a mother: what a breeze it would be. I was warned about everything else. All I had been told since I became pregnant was to prepare myself for the toughest job of my life. For years of sleep deprivation, boredom (yes, boredom) and my life not being my own. I was bombarded with tales of cracked nipples, all-night vigils and vomit on the carpet. I was more than mildly worried, as a result, about how on earth I would cope. I am someone who needs my sleep and had a decades long habit of calling my own shots. Would the requirement to be at the beck and call of a little one – even my little one – do my head in?
So, I got the most pleasant surprise to find that being a mum is one of the most seamless, joyful, intuitive things I have ever done. Yes, there are sleepless nights (many of them, in a seemingly endless row), but there is nothing difficult about being up all night with the love of your life. I know our baby boy is only nine months old and isn't even crawling yet, let alone tearing through the house crashing pots on to the floor. I know I only have one child who is healthy and I, thankfully, escaped the cruel curse of postnatal depression, but still I can't see what all the fuss is about.
Ask me if I have another, but from where I stand motherhood is a cinch."

All I could do was laugh and laugh and laugh.  I think she's right - babies can be quite straightforward and some women do find themselves with extra time (thus, the many postgraduate degrees that get started while on maternity leave).  But I laughed because she hasn't really got that far down the track of motherhood yet.  Some of the 'hardness' of being a mum is not because the actual tasks are that difficult but because it just gets repetitive.  It goes on and on.  

AND she hasn't got a toddler yet who wakes at 6 and then doesn't have a day sleep, whines all day, argues with you and won't eat anything that is vaguely healthy.  Add another baby into the mix and then it gets just that bit crazier.  

So if you read this and feel disheartened, don't.  Because let me reassure you that while there are times when mothering is pretty straightforward there are a whole lot of other times when it is hard, hard, hard work.  


5 comments:

achan said...

maybe she is one of those who are returning to the 'simple life', she calls in the nanny when she wants to go shopping, has a house cleaner and a chef to cook her dinner! Gee motherhood would be a cinch then!

Kath said...

Yes, it might be early days for Jacinta. Maybe her hormone high has been extra long...

The two things I like about her article are

1. it's a reminder that we live in a culture that talks negatively about parenting. When I was pregnant the 1st time, most comments we're along the lines of "that's the end of good sleep for you", "there'll be no more (insert relaxing/fun pastime here) now..." That negative approach misses the opportunity to celebrate the excitement of a new phase of life and can create a sense that you don't belong to the 'parents' club until you've been blooded with painful experiences.

2. she acknowledges that she is blessed to be a parent, particularly of a healthy and settled baby, and that love can provide energy and motivation. she is aware of the other hardships around parenting, especially infertility and depression and loss.

Having said that, parenting being 'a cinch' is an outrageous statement. Tell that to parents who struggle every day for whatever reason.
Not everyone has her advantages in approaching life as a parent, but they still love their kids.

Jenny said...

I agree Kath - it is refreshing to hear someone speaking positively about their experience of being a mum. And I do feel glad for her because it's nice when having a new baby is a joyous experience.

It's just that I talk to so many women who find it hard, that it can be difficult to read that kind of article without feeling inadequate.

But I certainly enjoyed the first year of my oldest child's life - it was such a wonderful adventure and I really couldn't understand why the rest of the world wasn't as fascinated with him as I was!

Katie said...

Hi Jenny. It seems that this article has stirred up a bit of hornets nests. Yours is the third blog I have seen commenting on it.
One thing that she fails to mention is how much outside help she gets. Apparently, she is back reading the news so she must have to have some kind of care and hence things for her are probably not as repetitive as for a full time stay at home mum. I know I enjoyed the 'release' when I worked half time between having kids. I think I had more patience for the whining etc when I didn't have to hear it so often.

Jenny said...

I think that sounds right Katie - perhaps not being at home all the time provides a break from the intensity.