Monday, April 06, 2009

Confessions.

Did anyone else watch today's Oprah Show about the "Secret Lives of Moms"? It was a back-and-forth about the perils and confessions of motherhood. Mothers everywhere confided how they'd like to trade their husbands for a housekeeper. They complained how at certain points in their lives they concluded that having a baby was a big mistake, that they had to reinvent themselves to encompass the huge sacrifice they made as a parent.

After watching the show I slumped down in my seat. I felt somewhat relieved that other mothers hated poo! as much as I did, and sometimes went a few days without a shower. But something was missing. I felt a little empty, a little icky. Maybe I waited for someone to say that putting your husband and your family first is okay. That we should focus on the mystery and grace that surrounds a good woman who is trying her best to be a good mother, whatever hardship might follow. There was so much beauty lost in that hour of snarky complaining.

So that I am completely clear, I am at times, the queen of complaints. I come in swinging with the best of them about how my life has become 24-7 servitude and how the person I used to be is floating above me somewhere, waiting for room to wriggle back in. How some days I am so impatient that I toss a few girls in time-out on my way to the couch before I stare at the wall for a few minutes in despair, pondering my next move.

One woman on the show said she sobbed the whole way to the mini-van dealership because she could not believe she was stooping to that level. Really? Is it really that bad? Can we just keep perspective here and be glad that you get a new car? Moms were one-upping each other the whole time like, "I completely lost my mind." "Well I completely lost my mind AND went to therapy." "OH YA? I completely lost my mind, killed someone, and THEN went to therapy".

I understand the need for validation. I need it all the time. But where is the love? There was no point in the show that anyone stood up and said, "But I love my children. I love their impossibleness and the fact that they don't shut up. I love their cute toes and the way they can't say their "R's". No one did. It was just... a little bit sad. Because if we all sacrifice daily, hate our jobs, and complain constantly, then where does that leave us? Hopeless.

(Look at me talking all fancy now that the kids are in bed. Call me tomorrow morning, I'll be singing a different tune!)

{Thank you for your comments. This something that all of us believe, and I devoured every single one of your words.}

30 comments:

Clarke and Kamie said...

so interesting..I just watched my tvo oprah. I was thinking the same thing. At first it was cute, funny, interesting to hear others. By the end of the show it was like "well, it sucks, but you knew about it before you signed up for it, right?"
Some days I can't believe that THIS is my life. But on most days I am soooo thankful for it.
Glad to have other good moms like you to look up to.

Lynnie said...

I watched, and felt the exact same way. Oh, I complain, and sometimes feel the same invisibility...but the show left me feeling kind of empty. I get where it was coming from, and I even get where a vent session is needed(sometimes often)...but, come on...at the end of the day...I so love my life!

Lindsey said...

I never watched it (we don't get it on the basic cable in london!), but I enjoyed your commentary, and I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. Sad show. I think you should send your post into the Oprah people. Really. Do it.

LeDoux said...

sarah, i think that this is really insightful and that you should submit it to some sort of online magazine or regular magazine. maybe expand on it a little bit, and then definitely submit it. I think it's absolutely a good point! and i think it's written so nicely. there are definitely places that take freelance writing! submit. in fact, you should submit A LOT of your writing. seriously! i'm not kidding. this is not a compliment! it's a demand.
xo

{erica} said...

I watched it last night while editing and felt the same way. I know it's a show so they had to share extremes (like wearing depends all day because you have no time to stop while running errands and picking up/dropping off kids) and yes I laughed when they would say some of their things and could relate in way but I wanted to scream through the TV that putting your family firt and your husband first is okay. I mean there has to be a balance and yes it's a sacrifice but the blessings from being a mother stil far outweigh the challenges (or I wouldn't still be doing it). I just hope this show didn't give mom's excuses to hate being a mother. I am guessing the purpose of the show was to show moms that you don't have to be perfect and that communicating with other moms about the difficulties you're having is a good thing...but it just didn't get there on the show.

Poor Bret got an ear full of my opinions while he was trying to go to sleep last night :)

Latisha said...

I 2nd the motion that you should submit your post to Oprah. You do such a great job of expressing what we all feel.

Sharry said...

i hate oprah!

vicky said...

And I seriously wonder about the resentment that the children MUST feel. How will that effect them as people and possibly parents themselves one day?

Emily said...

Hello! I have been reading your blog for a while and I am de-lurking to leave a comment. I adore reading your blog and think you and your family are delightful, fizzy, energetic, all-girl (except for your husband, of course!) and wonderful. I didn’t watch the Oprah show you are referring to, but I want to thank you for your response. I am not married yet and don’t have children, but I am looking forward to that time. I went through a bad breakup last year (that resulted in a broken engagement) and it was devastating to let go of those particular hopes and dreams, for now. I love your blog because you truly seem to delight in being a wife and mother, and you are such an inspiration to me. At the same time, I appreciate your expression of the reality of life, when you talk about how hard/frustrating it can be or how tired you are, because it helps remind me that that there are treasures and trials on both sides. Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Rhi said...

That is so sad that people feel that way and can't think or take the time to see the something positive. I know I complain about housework, laundry and grocery shopping. But I know that if I didn't do these things my house would be covered in trash, cat hair, and dirty socks, along with a layer of dust covering all of it. My kids would look homeless at school because there would be no clean clothes. We would eat ramen, hotdogs, and drink Kool-aid all the time. I know that doesn't sound bad. But I like a clean house, healthy children and some order. I have to remember that those are the blessings of having children and not thinking about myself. Motherhood is a thankless job at times but when I hear my children say "I love you" or "thanks mom for my clean clothes" Those warm fuzzies get me through the times I think things are on the verge of hopelessness.

Carrie and Jeff said...

I haven't watched that one yet. That is sad that no one said any of those things you said. Motherhood is hard, but so rewarding.

Sharry said...

I agree with Sarah L. For reals, you should!
-Caitlin

Jessie said...

ilikeoprahiwatchedalittlebit

Heidi said...

I didn't see Oprah but I am glad I read your commentary! I heard the same thing about the new tv show "In the Motherhood"- it is all complaining and no insight into the positive aspects of motherhood. I just read Nie Nie's post today and her attitude seems to be a far cry from the women you saw on tv yesterday.

Kat said...

Send this post to OPRAH. Like NOW.

badknee said...

oh my gosh yes! send it!! honestly sarah, ever since i could remember you have been a mother to me....ALWAYS. you were the one who would cuddle with me, girl talk with me, love me like a mother. you are so spunky and crazy and you are PERFECT for those children. sarah you are one of the best moms EVER!!! if only people like on oprah could understand our happiness and our love towards those beautiful creations that god gave us!!!
you sis
bethany

nevadanista said...

Oprah is so over-rated! Anyone who goes through as many 'life coaches' as she does isn't qualified to be coaching you/us.

Dena said...

Love you. Really, I do. Oprah should step off her thrown for about 3 minutes and read this little snippet from your beautiful brain.

Ali-Pants said...

I am not a big Oprah fan by any means but I did tune in yesterday. You articulated so perfectly the way I felt watching that episode. The entire thing felt like a big gripe session. But I'm glad they mixed in the humorous stories. It made it bearable. I just miss the kudos that should accompany any conversation about motherhood. We should celebrate the fact that we have children at all even if they do have the power to drive us a little crazy sometimes. Hopefully the tone of her next "motherhood" show will be one of celebration instead of complaining.

tacomama said...

Sarah you are such a great example & openminded & loving. Too bad they didn't have you there to give a different perspective. I love my job, always wanted to be a MOm, & will always be greatful for this gift.

S.A.S. said...

S
I love this, and love how much you love being a mother. Your complaints are either humorous stories (which I inevitably read aloud to my husband), or insightful real live moments that leave a person more craving them than fearing them. I'm glad you share both sides, and wish Oprah's would have.

Danyel said...

I didnt see the show I can imagine though. You are so right Sarah...instead of complaining all the time how about thanking God for the precious gifts he has given us.Not everyone has that opportunity.
Danyel

missy said...

I didn't see it, but I got the gist from your post (very well-written by the way).

I think a good reporter shares BOTH sides of the story and wish that Oprah would have tuned into the news and included something you wrote (even better if it was YOU) or Nie's blog as an example of enjoying it all (because she is famous now for capturing that).

I'm with the rest of them - send it in!!

The Hones said...

You go sister!!

Laura said...

I watched that show & thought the same thing! It was so funny for awhile & then it was just annoying! I complain many days too, but after watching that I thought "hey I guess I'm not nearly as bad as (according to Oprah) half the world!" Even when I'm cranky about something, I can honestly never say I've regretted having kids or wish I could go back EVER! That's so sad. I hope you follow up & write in to Oprah to give some young girls in the world hope that becoming a mother isn't an awful prison sentence. You are such a talented writer.

Jennifer said...

Okay...I know I'm still kind of new to the motherhood world and I only have one, but I LOVE being a Mom. I definitely have my complaints about things, but I don't mind because, like you said, it's totally worth it! I really wish that I could stay home and not work and I'm sure if I did then I'd have a whole different set of complaints. I also know that I have a lot more things coming that may drive me crazy. :) It'll be worth it then too...even when I have teenagers...maybe. ;)

I rarely watch Oprah, but by your description this episode sounds sad.

Lillie said...

If your show was on every afternoon, I would TOTALLY watch. You're so much cooler than Oprah.

Megan said...

Send it and then decide what you're going to wear on the show.

Annie said...

I only caught a short snippet of that Oprah episode, I turned it off because I figured it was the worn out 'Stay home moms vs working moms' thing that Oprah has already hashed to death. Having read your precis, I'm glad I didn't waste any further time on it.

Motherhood is exhausting - but it's a rewarding kind of exhaustion - it's not desperate or unworthwhile - it's lovely and even in my most frenetic days, I am grateful that I've been so blessed to be a mother to my beautiful babes.

I found your blog through Kristen's :) We met fleetingly today at the uniform measuring :) I love your photographs - you've got a great talent!

Diana said...

I LOVE your blog. I found you through your mom (I was on bedrest, and started my blog, and she suggested I look you up to see your sunset preggo pic)....I know your mom through church, and may have met you once. You have a great gift for being able to capture the beauty and magic of motherhood...with it's joys and trials/headaches. You capture it so well that I often find myself teary when reading about your latest adventures. Anyway, I did not see Oprah, but I couldn't help thinking that this episode sounds like a perfect reason for people to justify their desires to not have children. (And also remembering that she also does not have them!)
Keep up the good work...mothering and blogging! :-)