My blogger friend Emma is a fabulous, sassy writer, with plenty of unconventional ideas about motherhood (which is one of the reasons I love her). Her post today is about women who do not follow the usual rules about mothering...
Women, it is often assumed, are naturally filled with the gentle, non-swearing, huggy ingredients necessary to cook up a wee babe and raise him/her through cranky teen years and into sunny adulthood. Nevermind that this generation of women has likely gotten closer to a car engine than to a baby by the time they procreate. Nevermind that many of us were encouraged in our tomboy, individualistic pursuits more than in our cookie-baking, tear-wiping, band-aid applying skills.
Leaving aside questions of nurture, what about questions of nature? Are women naturally softer, gentler, more loving, more gifted with children? Those of us interested in the truth about mothering know this simply isn't true. Even for those of us who may be more maternally inclined than our husbands, we still fall quite short of the 1950s June Cleaver ideal.
Women can be tough and selfish and need a drink and a cigar. Men can be soft and loving and in-love with their children and long to spend more time at home with little Billy. These are not radical ideas. At least until one trolls around in the world of mainstream motherhood where the old rules, while not usually practised, are still much lauded and imitated.
Though it is now socially acceptable for women to complain about motherhood and childrearing, albeit in a light and unserious fashion (though adoptive mothers are not given the same leeway), it remains taboo for that same woman to admit that raising children makes her unhappy.
The truth for me lies somewhere in the middle. On a deep level I love my children and enjoy their company. But on days like today, when the City of Bellingham is closed due to a 10-year snow storm, and the panic sets in as I realize I'm going to be trapped here alone with the kids without even a car-ride to break the monotony, I realize there is a part of Tamara in me too.
On the other hand, have you ever seen such a cute little girl in a snowsuit?