This year’s guides suggest in their sometimes admirable, sometimes obligatory, attempts at semi-wokeness that Mom has her own life, they know! Which is why she needs this Roomba. Hey, she does a lotta stuff! Which is why she needs a face mask for those eye bags. The mom of today, as rendered by these guides, is “on the go,” “multitasking,” “out and about,” and “living her life.” But she’s also “stressed out,” “really needs a vacation,” and would like this bottle of wine with a label reading, “WINE BECAUSE KIDS.”
Let’s not dismantle any of this, let’s buy her some shit!
God, THIS. But there’s something even more insidious here, which is the topping of all this crass commercialism with displacement of our anger at society onto our kids.
Like yeah, raising children right now really sucks, especially if like most people you don’t have a shitload of money. But we’ve turned that into a joke at the kids’ expense. You’re why Mommy drinks! Hee hee! You owe your mother for her episiotomy! Mom hasn’t slept in 15 years, haha, aren’t you sorry for it?
I hate the marketing of this holiday as a way for kids to apologize to their parents for being kids. HATE. IT. “Your mom was in labor for 97 hours, so buy her jewelry!” How is that the kid’s fault? Jesus Christ. “You’re why Mommy drinks!” and ADS LIKE THIS ARE WHY WE’RE ALL IN THERAPY.
Let’s be honest. Ninety percent of what middle-class parents bitch about (with physically standard, neurotypical kids) is stuff the kids aren’t totally responsible for. Like show me a kid who doesn’t whine and who sleeps perfectly at all times and can always remember where their shoes are. Show me a teenager who doesn’t make dumbass decisions or avoidable mistakes or throw an attitude about their clothes or whatever. Their brains aren’t formed yet. Of course they’re pains in the ass. Because they occasionally say intelligent shit to you doesn’t mean they can be judged on your level.
Because I am An Older Parent (everyone else in her preschool has folks who got hitched in the last 5 years and Mr. A and I are working on our second score here) and because I have resources and good luck and years of meds/therapy and one very good kid, I can be amusedly detached about all of this. But I find it enraging that I am supposed to regard middle-class parenting as a horrible gauntlet and expect to be sucked up to about it by the person who had the least amount of choice in it.
Do you want to hear a litany of misery? I could give you one, especially about the two years after her turning 10 months old when I took a second part-time job to pay for the childcare that let me do the first job and went completely fucking insane from stress and guilt and started acting out like an adolescent and burned down my entire life.
But what, of that, was HER choice? Did she make Mr. A’s and my industries unstable from her place in the pack-n-play? Did she make all our prior terrible financial decisions? Shit, at least she snuggled and said thank you occasionally, which is more than I got from those two jobs combined.
You’re why Mommy drinks? Grown-up bullshit is why Mommy drinks, and Daddy too, and implying that kids are ungrateful little assholes who make their parents’ lives difficult is a shitty way to let society off the hook. My kid doesn’t owe me a card. The American economy might, or my own brain chemistry, but nobody’s lifing them all day in commercials.