Monday, April 10, 2006

Grumpy mum

Today I went to my third weekly Mothers Network meeting, in which the participants leave their babies with babysitters and spend the next two hours discussing topics relating to motherhood.

As keen as I was to get together with other mothers, especially first-timers, I don't feel much as though I'm bonding with the others.

I think I'm the only person in our group of eleven who didn't gush about being totally, utterly in love with their kid. I am the only person who said out loud that one reason that our expectations of motherhood are so different from reality is that if we truly knew what it was going to be like we'd be using double-thickness condoms for the rest of our lives. I did mean it half-jokingly of course.

I also noticed that occasionally someone would mention having suffered terribly in the course of trying to breastfeed their child, or being on the verge of post-natal depression, or the terribe disappointment at the amount of intervention at their child's birth, or being so tired that it was too much effort even to reach out for a glass of water. And yet these difficulties were only mentioned in passing, as though these women's overwhelming joy in their children was so huge that the negative aspects were rendered insignificant.

Which made me realise that I haven't actually had it all that bad: Baby's birth, though a little traumatic, was drug-free and mostly natural; my baby has defied her family history of allergies and skin problems, in displaying healthy, gorgeous skin; I didn't have too much problem in breastfeeding (there was that bout of mastitis, not to mention nipple damage - but we won't go there); although I'm often tired, I still have energy to go for daily walks and the time to blog; and while Baby's little feeding and sleeping foibles frustrate my attempts to feel in control, I'm certainly not what you'd call depressed (possibly thanks to regular doses of chocolate and full-fat ice cream).

I guess I'm just a grumpy mum who could do with a kick in the pants and some positive thinking.


Juliabohemian said...

Don't feel bad. You're a realist. I have trouble identifying with people who like to romantisize and idealize everything. I don't get teary when people tell stories and I don't bond at girlie gatherings. I just don't. I love my kids but there are days when they are colossal pains and I wonder if I should have had them at all.
Maybe these women were still in what we call the "honeymoon" period of motherhood. Eventually the reality of the situation will set in.
There's nothing wrong with positive thinking as long as it is reality based and not fantasy based.

The Skirt said...

It sounds like you are being realistic about how you feel. I kind of wonder how much those other mums are saying those things because they know they're expected to, rather than actually feeling them. From what I've observed, motherhood is a hard and often thankless task, and if you have an active brain the monotony can really get to you. You definitely love Baby, you're just not delusionally in love with her. And that's a good thing!

Make Tea Not War said...

I'm just trying to remember when the honey moon period wore off me. I think it was when my daughter started intentionally throwing food on the carpet to see what would happen.

I also never really bond in all female encounter group type situations. I think people do oversentimentalise children and babies in particular. Still I guess we all are conflicted at times yet have to somehow convince ourselves it was all worthwhile because we are pretty much stuck with the little parasites...I mean darlings... for the next 20 years or more.

Avery's mom said...

those other mommys were high on being around other women. you're so self contained/content that only the chocolat and icecream will effect your day :)

oh, and the weaning thing just sorta happened on its own once Avery started eating other foods and then this last month she grew some teeth and that REAlly hurt but I'm not sad about her weaning herself. SHe still ruffles through my chest and suckles when she needs comforted so we still have that mother/baby bond. its been about a two month process of getting my milk to dry up but at last I'm getting my boobs reclaimed.

Violet said...

Thanks for your supportive comments, everyone. I don't like to think of myself as cold and unfeeling, and that's how I was starting to get after hearing those other mums. And come to think of it, the majority of those mums have much younger babies...

Wicked said...

Blerk - seriously, these other mums sound a little like Stepford Moms... sure, it's natural, healthy and gorgeous to be totally in love with your baby, but some mums (ok, me) had to have something besides babies to talk about, liked things not-to-do-with-The-Baby AND I lost count of the times where I thought my children were the spawn of the Antichrist sent to torment me... although this was usually after one them had pulled strips of wallpaper off the walls, or some other charming child-foible.
I never bonded with Stepford Mums. I'm sure their intentions were good, but blunt, rude ole me found them stifling, boring and brought out the antagonist in me, dammit.
Big ups for realism!

Violet said...

wicked: they do a bit. To be honest, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't much actual griping going on!