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Fahckmylife's Blog
Crap adult, OK human.

Compartmentalising and shit; the fragmented nature of being a ma…

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Before I start ranting here I’d just like to say that I like being a mam.  My kid can be a pain in the arse, but I am happy that I have him and love him unconditionally.  That said I think it should be OK to give out about your kid wrecking your buzz without feeling guilty.  It’s not this perfect little bubble of joy.  And that, my friends, is the main point to this hopefully structured and coherent rant about being a mam.  Feeling guilty and being a mother are two things that inhabit that little bit of a Venn diagram.  They overlap so much.  Now this might just be me but I feel that society bombards mothers with imagery of the self- sacrificing mother, one with no needs or identity of her own, always putting her child (or foetus) ahead of herself AND if anyone dares to venture outside of the parameters of that definition they are made to feel like shit.  You know things like articles in newspapers talking about children who go to crèches being stunted emotionally or making women that don’t want to or can’t breast feed feel like monsters.

This is, in a nutshell, what my PhD is about, albeit through horror and science fiction – the concept of Good Mother versus Bad Mother.  A good mother is the quintessential martyr – no longer with a sexual identity and incapable of even considering self- fulfilment outside of the home.  A bad mother is… well… a bad mother seems to be me.  The thing is whilst I recognise that even the concept of a ‘good’ mother in this generation is an illusion, a cultural throwback to narrower gender roles, and I want to scream ‘get off your fucking cross’ at the idea of it, I still can’t help but feel guilty.   I have needs and wants, and whilst I generally put my child’s needs before my own, I know I have to look after myself and have things, needs and urges that I have to act on to be a well- rounded person.  Does that make me a bad mother?  I know it shouldn’t but it definitely makes me feel that way.

Parenthood, particularly motherhood, is often belittled by those that don’t have any.  YES, crying children are annoying.  YES, nappies really do smell like rancid dog food when squished up your child’s back.  YES, children can be cheeky.  So what though?  I mean when y you can feel the judgemental looks from people in the supermarket because you are dragging your child along the ground by the arm because he won’t get up you have to ask yourself ‘who the fuck made you judge and jury?!’  They’re not judging the kid being an asshole, either.  Oh no, they’re judging you and your lack of control of the situation.  No matter what you do, you’re a bad mother.  Also, anybody saying that says that being a mammy isn’t a real job should be shot in the face.  Especially, if they don’t have any themselves.  OK, you don’t have or want kids, but don’t pass comment on something you know nothing about.  People are so fricking judgey and I’m a judgemental bitch.  Oh and another thing if I want to post pictures of my child on Facebook I will because I’m proud of him.

Now I know plenty of women can achieve complete fulfilment from being a full time mammy.  Great.  That’s their choice and if feminism has taught me anything it’s that there should be a choice to it.  In saying that, that is not me.  There would  be a vacuum right in the pit of my tummy that no cake or child alike could fill if that was what I was faced with, but that would never be a decision I would have made.  Not to get all ‘OH LOOK AT HOW GREAT I AM’ but when I was pregnant I was in my last year of a degree in college.  Lecturers constantly asked me to defer but I wouldn’t.  Sure what else would I be doing?  Sitting at home all fat sweating cake from every pore?!  Fuck off!  Anyway I stayed, they were supportive and I got a first. I took a week off after I had him and went out to a party a couple of days after he was born to catch up on everything that I’d missed when I was pregnant.   I was, and probably still am a stubborn bitch.  Maybe it was more a case of reverse psychology, which I believe works well on me.  So, essentially, I definitely still wanted to be the same person that I was before I had him. 

There is this theory that you cannot be a ‘whore’ (or basically just a girl who likes having the ride), mother and successful worker ( or achieve some kind of personal development and fulfilment of some sort)at the same time.  I think you can.  It’s just society has us brainwashed to believe that if you are a mother you definitely cannot be all three.  Granted, being a successful single mother getting the ride would be a pretty difficult situation to balance but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be allowed try. In my experience, compartmentalising works really well but that still means that I can never be all things at once . Everything is separate which means that I’m any of those three things but only one at a time.  That makes everything a bit awkward and difficult and tiring.  Being a mother should not be the key component to your identity – it should only be a facet.  Even if you are a stay at home mammy, which is cool as long as you want to be, you should still and more than likely do things that you enjoy.  You have to out yourself first and the knock on effects for your kid will be there.  Nobody likes sad mammies.  When I told someone I was doing a PhD before they told me I was great to ‘be doing it for my kid.’  How the fuck am I doing a PhD for my kid?!  I probably won’t get a job out of.  I’m doing it for me because I like critically thinking.  I like being busy.  If I wasn’t using my brain this way it would make me depressed.  I even consider the PhD as much of an important part of my identity as  being a mother.

We’re either demonised or put on a pedestal depending on how giving we are.  I know it’s stupid but it’s there.  Because every time I go to the pub or think about how poor I am doing the PhD or act like a filthy letch I think about how a ‘good mother’ wouldn’t do that.  A good mother would be at home, sitting silently in the kitchen in the dark, never sleeping, waiting for her kid to wake up.  

 

 

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3 Responses to “Compartmentalising and shit; the fragmented nature of being a ma…”

  1. Knowing both you and your lad, I would say you are one of the best mothers I know, because I believe good mother = happy child. No matter what else she does, that is the important thing, and your boy is a great kid that anyone can tell is loved by his mam (and so polite in company! That alone is amazing!). You are absolutely right to tell anyone who judges you to fuck off. He clearly benefits from having a happy mother. You keep going, lady. You are brilliant.


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