I've noticed a disturbing trend lately. Maybe it's not a new trend, maybe it's always existed and I'm just now noticing it because I've been putting myself out there more and socializing more with other women, but is it just me or are a lot of women completely and utterly obsessed with their children? I have met so many really cool women lately. Women who are smart, funky, and kind. Women who are sophisticated yet still manage to be down to earth. Women who tell great stories and make me laugh. Women I want to consider my friends and want to talk to on a weekly or even daily basis. Or at least I would if they'd shut up about their kids for two minutes.
And I'm not talking about people here in blog world, because that's what we use our blogs for-recording all those silly little details of our lives. I get that, and frankly that's what drew me to most of you in the first place-I enjoy the spin you all put on the day to day minutiae of your life. I'm referring more to women you meet in real life who have no life outside of the children. I'm so sick of getting on Facebook and reading syrupy sweet updates about how they baked cookies with their kids, went to the park, did artwork, played games, read stories, and so on. I don't need them to update me every time they feel they need validation as a parent. And that's what this boils down to, because no one can possibly believe that they are entertaining anyone by Tweeting about how they decorated Christmas cookies with their three year old.
I just want to tell these women that not only is it ok to not want to do that stuff, but sometimes it's ok to just not do it at all. Life will go on. If you want to sit down one afternoon and drink wine while reading a book instead of playing a game with your kid, go for it. If you want to do it everyday for a month, go for it. It doesn't mean you're a bad mom. It means you're human and that you don't feel like being around your children. And that doesn't make you an awful person. Because sometimes being around kids sucks.
I have a confession to make. After we moved to Oregon, I think I went three months without reading a book to my daughter. There were various legitimate reasons for this (we'd gotten out of the habit during the move, I hadn't gotten around to getting a library card and was bored with the books on her book shelf, etc) but basically, I just didn't want to. I was reading some great stuff then, it was a good TV time, we had just gotten a PS3, Netflix kept sending us interesting movies and I just didn't feel like reading to her. But the beauty of it all, and the point of this confession, is that the girl doesn't remember me not reading to her. That three month dry period didn't scar her for life. I want to share that knowledge with other mothers. I just want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them and reassure them that in 20 years their kids aren't going to be sitting around saying, "Remember that year when Mom wouldn't make a gingerbread house with us? Man, she was the worst mother ever!"
While on the subject of reading, a few weeks ago I overheard two mothers discussing how they don't read for pleasure anymore. One even said that she hadn't read a book since her oldest child was born. Seriously, how can you go SIX YEARS without reading a book? Not one book?!? I think I could read an entire book by accident over the course of six years. Even if you were to only read while on the toilet I would have to think you could read one or two books a year. And again, I want to stress that these aren't dumb women, they are simply women who have lost their minds to mommyhood.
I'm not trying to be unsympathetic to these women. I know the first few years of motherhood are hard and all consuming and at times you can feel like you're just drowning in it all. But at some point you have to pull yourself up and rejoin the rest of society. You can take baby steps. Say you're in the waiting room at the pediatrician's office. Pick up an Entertainment Weekly and skim the book reviews. Then the next time you're at Target picking up Diaper Genie refills, veer the cart over to the book section. Target carries bestsellers. Buy one. Read it. Then come over to my place and we'll discuss the book while ignoring our children. And that won't be a bad thing.