While I rarely get affected by feedback on any of my writing, a strong viral response to a Vogue.com article, which depicts a day in the life of my best friend and mommy blogger La Yummy Mummy (read her response here), really hit a chord. For some reason, multiple women felt the urge to critique the lifestyle I had portrayed in this article, claiming that a truly hands-on, diligent mother shouldn’t have a time to take showers, dress well, be a doting wife to her husband, all while actually enjoying parenting.
This, my friends, are the ideas that scare women out of marriage and child-rearing in the first place.
Perpetuating the image of a new mother as a tired, overweight ball of misery, covered head to toe in spit-up and suffering from a serious case of Postpartum Depression, is what gives modern-day parenting a bad name. Instead of being feminist, it is the opposite of that – it is offensive, telling women that they cannot, in fact, be attractive after having a child. Paradoxically enough, this idea is prevalently dominant America, where there is also a juxtaposing cult of celebrity that showcases women dropping baby weight in the matter of days and trotting around with newborns in 7-inch heels. America has always been a country of extremes, and this particular one is not healthy.
Nothing in life comes easily. Everything that is worth having takes hard work and willpower. Being a mother is possibly one of the most difficult jobs there is, as it known no breaks, is physically straining, and touches a woman on an emotional and hormonal level. If you want to excel at it, to be a fit mom with a clean house and ironed clothes, you’re going to hold off on that Netflix binge and do some crunches on a yoga mat while your kid is sleeping. My own mother told me stories about getting up in 70’s Russia at 6am in order to shower, DRY HER HAIR IN THE OVEN, feed my baby brother breakfast, and then run to work across the freezing cold city. Oh, and guess what? The house was always clean, my dad (who can’t broil an egg) was always fed, my brother was a joyous little baby, and my mother always looked like the million bucks that she certainly didn’t have (hence the blow dryer deficit).
Blogs like La Yummy Mummy, as well as the article I wrote for Vogue.com, are there to show mothers how to experience parenthood to the fullest, filling it with beauty and flavor, all while not taking it too seriously. In a way, it is similar to my message I try to convey here on DbagDating – if you are single, then find the beauty in dating; and if you can’t find the beauty in it, find the fun! Live your life story to the max in whatever you are doing, sprinkling it with as many experiences and adventures and memories as possible. Perhaps, in this case I really am with the French and their desire to seek pleasure in the small things, as evidenced by the famed “joie de vivre”.
Also, never let anybody tell you what you are or aren’t capable of doing. You are a woman, and women are anything but one-dimensional. That is the best thing about us, the one character trait that gives us a distinct advantage over men. If you put your mind to it, you can do it all.
Tomorrow, I will run the Paris half-marathon to support the efforts of the Naked Heart Foundation. It is 20K, I have never run more than 12K in my life. Many people have told me I can’t do it, but I bet you that I can. And if I can’t, I’ll sure have a great time trying.
BREAKING UPDATE: I SURVIVED. 2 hours 13 minutes baby. “I CAN’T” DOESN’T EXIST.