Friday, September 08, 2006

Columnist: Thordora

I never intended to be a mother.

In fact, I figured I had things set out pretty clearly, a course set in my head. Amazing what 2 bright pink lines on all 3 of the tests in the sale box can do to a life.

I was the girl who never ever planned on having children, didn't like kids, had no desire to deal with kids, etc. I had these marvelous plans for my life, for becoming the crazy cat lady whose house smells like curry and has a tone of fragile glass. I really wasn't prepared for the headfuck that motherhood presented. The pregnancy itself was easy, but along with the usual "what the hell do I do with it?" after giving birth, there was also a massive "mommy adjustment". Do mommies listen to hardcore? Read BDSM erotica and porn? Want corsets and more tattoos that cost as much as a monthly salary?

Now I have two cool-as-beans little girls, and yet I still sometimes find myself asking these questions. Now that I have kids, should I still find the stuff at T-Shirt Hell so damn funny? Should Mallrats still be so damn entertaining?

The current state of the "Mommy Blogosphere" isn't helping either. In my browsing, I've noticed two very distinct groups of "mommy blogs"
1.Hip Mom
2.Cute Mom

Now, Hip Mom has tons of readers because she's endearingly self-depreciating, witty, has interesting fun hair and she still has her original copy of Nevermind on cassette -- hash stains on the case and all. These blogs tend to be anecdotes about rude things their spunky, advanced toddlers have said. Added features tend to include "interesting" pictures that have been Photoshopped and the obligatory "Dooce" link.

Whereas the Cute Mom has tons of readers because she's honest about how totally hard being a SAHM to a child is while trying to scrapbook, garden, lead the Strollercize group and maintain their "mani" while nursing drinks after everyone is in bed. These blogs tend to include so many pictures of children swimming, eating and hugging that you might begin to wonder if you're a bad mom for never taking that many pictures. Added features of the Cute Mom blog include blinkies that will induce epileptic fits, avatars in bikinis with the weather forecast and the obligatory "Dooce" link.

It's not that I have anything against either of these "Mommys". They just aren't me. I take a look at these blogs and see what I saw before I had kids: two "cliques" of people, different only so much as "Parents" and "Parenting" are different. The covers are slightly different, but inside? It's the same old boring, pandering crap.

My quest for motherhood, for my sense of place within it, led me to wonder how I'd ever integrate "me" into “Mother.” My own experiences had been woefully inadequate; my mother died when I was young, and prior to that, she had been a fairly old school, conservative Christian mother, who worked part-time outside of the home once I was older.

My mother never seemed to have a personality outside of the home. She dressed like a Mom. She had her colors done. We had no nearby relatives, so I had no female cousins or aunts. The one older girl I knew who dared put eyeliner on me brought the wrath of my mother down on my head, with a lecture that in some way equated eyeliner to rotting eyeballs and Sodom and Gomorrah. I had no idea what being a woman meant, let alone being a mother.

Eventually, after the birth of Vivian, I made some headway, and stopped asking if it was okay to like all the things I liked before. I learned to allow myself to enjoy being a mother, to enjoy sharing all the weird things I like with my kid, who shockingly, like some things even more than I do.

Then, 10 months in, I found myself pregnant again.

Nine unpleasant months later. I was the poster child for Mothers Who Do Not Glow. I should have figured that something was up at that point, but I really didn't. Rosalyn was born.

The two months after that are a blur of anger, sadness, suicidal thoughts and numbness. I was watching my life go down the tubes, two kids. What in hell will I do with two kids?

Even worse, how can I actively hate this child I just gave birth to? How could I hate her, want her dead, or at least gone, want everything to return to the way it was: just Viv & I. I could handle that; we had reached a middle ground there.

After about six months of this not going away, and a near-divorce, we decided that something wasn't right. Not only was I not "cute" or "hip", I wasn't there. I wasn't connecting to Rosalyn in any way. I was constantly thinking about death the way other people thing about having a ham sandwich.

"Gee, I could just jump in front of the bus there. I'm hungry."

Cute Moms and Hip Moms don't have these thoughts.

About two months ago, I was diagnosed as bipolar.

I now believe that my second pregnancy was the nail in the coffin for my mental balance. A disorder that was already there, but being handled, compensated for, was suddenly thrown into the forefront. Again, I couldn't see myself mirrored anywhere. Everyone else was so bloody normal, and they loved their kids, and never had a bad word to say about them.

I say bad words about them often, and tend to be honest about wanting to drive them into a wall. My brand of "nutbag/attachment/authoritative/oh I don't care just shut up and let's enjoy Ladytron together" parenting just isn't out there in any media forms. Instead, I find stories about how little Bobby is just so cute when he hands out the playdate cards, and how little Jenny is excelling in her preschool class. I see nothing about the etiquette of being a lonely mother, wanting to invite another obviously lonely mother over for a playdate. I see nothing about how you handle telling your kids that Mommy gets sad sometimes, and it's not your fault, and it's okay.

So I figured I wanted to be the voice for mothers like me. Moms who aren't quite right in the head, but don't really mind. The mothers who hear voices sometimes. I want my brand of "Mom" to exist.

'Cause, dammit, I'm cute and hip!
About Thordora:
Thordora is currently exiled in the wilds of New Brunswick after spending her formative and fun years in Ontario. She likes ketchup but not tomatoes, grapes but not raisins and hates other people's children. She's officially crazy (and medicated) -- with Bipolar Disorder and currently works at not laughing at Americans. She has two cute spawn who never cease to make her laugh, cry and have runny poos everyday.

Weblog: Spin Me I Pulsate


Blogger karrie said...


I'm so relieved that I'm not the only one having those hip mom/cute mom thoughts. Where the hell are the rest of us????

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I'd like to know where I fit in too. I know I don't fit into those categories, and I don't like Dooce on principle.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just glad that I'm not the only one...and you know me, I'll say anything. :P

Thordora, who stupidly moved to a beta account and now can't leave comments anywhere...sigh...

11:38 AM  
Anonymous CrankMama said...

Yes... where are the rest of us? If I have to talk to another cheerful chippee I"m going to scream!!

8:20 PM  
Blogger Netter said...

The rest of us are out here. We just don't garner the readers because we don't reflect the media images of what a mom should be. Besides, I work outside the home and if I don't have time to post the 8 millionth cute picture of my kid, I can't be a mommy blogger.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Jill said...

I did the same beta thing and can barely comment anywhere!!!

I agree, I dont fit into the mommy blogs at all. Actually, I barely blog aobut being a mommy at all...more about my stuff. If people want to see 1000 pictures of Zoë, they can look at her website!

All the typical "my kid put a pot on his head today, here is a picture" blogs kinda bore me...then I feel guily for being bored by them, and worry that fact that I blog about purses more than Zoë means I don't love her enough.

3:06 PM  

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