Saturday, October 16, 2010

Desperate Housewife

The note I left my mother after clearing a mysterious recurring paper jam from her printer.

Thursday I got myself in a bit of a flame-skirmish at True Femininity, where a woman just out of college tells you that with the right attitude, it will be fun when your toddler poops in your bathtub. Or something.

She thinks it's a cliché that parents say non-parents are clueless. I think it's a truth. Some things are said a lot because they're actually valid.

Luckily for me, I didn't spend much time with kids before I had them. As a result, I cultivated few opinions. Had I had opinions, I would definitely have run at the mouth and embarrassed myself. Of course, blogging wasn't as big when I was younger, so there probably wouldn't be written evidence. I was particularly careful to avoid forming any opinions while pregnant. I've seen this movie; I know how it ends: mummy, crying on the couch.

Mummy still cries on the couch sometimes, but no one can say "I told you so."

I think it would be hard to be that certain brand of Christian that seems obliged to be happy all the time. Has anyone else encountered these people?

Have you read Barbara Ehrenreich's book on the subject of positive thinking? I normally dismiss communists, but maybe she addresses this.


  1. I didn't read the whole thing, it got a bit... suffocating, maybe?

    Re: cheery Christians: I think that there are two types of cheeriness. There's the positive person whose always been positive. They're nice to spend time with.

    And there's the scarily happy, artificial feeling joyfulness, which is based around suffering for Jesus, but loving it, all the time, or else you'll go to hell for being SELFISH and EVIL. They are less fun.

  2. "She thinks it's a cliché that parents say non-parents are clueless. I think it's a truth. Some things are said a lot because they're actually valid. "

    No, it's true. Non-parents are clueless.

    I have opinions on child-rearing and what it will be for me. I have ideas, I have passions, I have all these grand plans and schemes for what I will or won't do compared to parents I've seen in the world. It's all very exciting.

    But I also know that once that little squalling infant is actually out of my body, all that goes out the window. You never know what you are as a parent until you have an actual baby.

    There are a lot of women who subscribe to the "CHILD REARING IS SOMETHING WOMEN ALL LOVE" who are distinctly and unpleasantly surprised by their own desperation and anxiety once parenthood actually begins.

    I'm glad that True Femininity has herself such a grand idea about what parenthood 'should' be like. I wish her the best.

    But once that baby cries every twenty minutes and needs diaper changes more often than you blink and picks up fevers and illnesses that you cannot predict or eats dried leaves in the yard the half-second your back is turned or throws Cheerios all over the floor for the seventh time today or smears their own shit all around the walls to make 'art' or -eats- it...


    True Femininity will have a harsh wake up call.

  3. Ehrenreich's book was non-stop party time for me. Not terribly political, either. I think this issue might have been mentioned (I can't find my copy for some stupid reason) as part of the general "if your expectations are too high, you will be miserable" chapter.

  4. I do not have children and will freely admit with the greatest sincerity that I am absolutely clueless about what it takes to rear one, much less many. I have formed opinions on the little I do know, which has caused me to decide not to have children. Everyone with kids tells me that my idea of what raising children would be like is far worse than it truly is. I have no idea if they're right, and I'm not brave enough to find out.

    True Femininity would be quite appalled at the fact that I have an IUD floating around in my artificially barren uterus, and I don't mind saying that I've rather enjoyed these last 4 childless years with my husband. However, I remember being so blissfully devoted to Christianity when I was younger. I don't think it would be possible for me to ever return to that state of naivete....but at least I know when not to offer uninformed platitudes! :-P

  5. @ Elizabeth, I should definitely pick it up. And look up the title.

    @ Shellbear, True Femininity would not approve of artificial barrenness. As an unmarried woman, she has strong opinions on your married birth contorl.

    @misshavishammreturns, thank you :) it's actually very easy to learn. It's called Spencerian script.