Thursday, April 7, 2011

Motherhood Is A Way Of Life

I started this blog because as a woman who thinks and as a mother who is finding her way, I wanted to talk about or rather to write about the state of motherhood today. Literally, motherhood for me has been a place, mommyville. A place where I felt lost. At different moments I have read books about motherhood, but recently I really found myself on a quest to understand and possibly figure out why I felt like s#$% so much of the time.

I have found mommyville to be a very lonely place. Intrinsically, in my own head, the solitary nature of my life feels unnatural. Intellectually, I know that mothering has been a more group endeavor thru the ages and of course there is the famous line: It takes a whole village to raise a child. What is most distressing is how hypocritical that line is given the structure of family life for the modern 21st century mother.

Years ago, before I became a mom I read misconceptions by Naomi Wolf. In my process of transformating into a mother I sadly did not reread it. During my daughter's first year I followed the babyfruit blog by Aliza Sherman. I lived very remotely at the time and this was the only daily contact I had with a woman of my age who was a mom that I happen to personally know from years before when I lived in New York City. I think because I actually once knew her, she didn't seem completely removed from me and instead there was the optical illusion that somehow we were friends even though our connection was only via me reading her blog. Also my cousin had a daughter about six months after I did. Even though we are similar in age we don't really compare child rearing notes as I think we came to the experience from very different places. And yet I believe our struggles have been the same. When we (my husband, daughter and I) moved to a town I finally connected with a few other moms through the daycare program where I enrolled my daughter. Also I am lucky that my own mother lives close by and has actively supported me as a mom by helping me take of my daughter. Our relationship is such that I tend not to ask her too many question about mothering, but I do listen to her when we check in about my daughter and take to heart a few of her suggestions.

Thus my experience as a mother has been a lonely journey. It is this loneliness that I want to address and figure out can it be changed. Even though I now have a few mommy friends and my daughter is five years old, the day to day existence of mothering in the year 2011 is still a solitary effort that is completely invisible to the world. How did this happen? Does it matter? Maybe...there are many books looking at the postfeminist world. What I am interested in is how to make mommyville a joyful place where mothers really do enjoy the rearing of children. I am sure that plenty of mothers will cry foul and say that they enjoy being a mom, but isn't it possible that the structure of the modern life has really robbed mothers of a physical existence that could be more aligned with how women are wired to function? Couldn't mommyville be a place where mothers pursue the work of childrearing and pursue their own development as people without the crazy juggling act that most moms try to do? Functioning in a world that treats motherhood as an invisible occupation is crazymaking...

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