Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Life of Mommy

One of my favorite magazine columnists is Rick Reilly, who writes for Sports Illustrated. His column, The Life of Reilly, is on the last page of SI and the topic of his September 19th column was the genesis for my last post. This weekend, I reread his column and came upon this paragraph:

O.K., so maybe Molly Shattuck makes you want to nail her with a cream pie. Not me. I don't get all these moms who say, "My kids are my life." They spend every Saturday watching their kids play in yet another soccer tournament and every Saturday night sitting in some icebox watching their 4,008th hockey practice. Their conversational skills range from "Amber is kicking butt in field hockey" to "Amber loves goalie camp." That's great, but since when does Amber starting mean you ending? Get out there!

I saw those last two sentences and I cringed. On the one hand, he's right. Mothers are often guilty of abandoning their own hopes, dreams and aspirations to feed, clothe, nurture and love their children. Sometimes we cheer too loudly for our kids even when nobody cheers for us. I can't speak for all stay-at-home moms, but my conversational skills have fallen off the radar.

On the other hand, and this hand is WAAAAAYYY bigger than that first hand, that's part of the freakin' job description! In many cases, it's what men like Rick Reilly have asked us to do for the sake of the family. Some of us feed, clothe, nurture, love and add to the family bottom line. Others stay home and try to make the bottom line stretch as far as possible. In both cases, sacrifices are being made for the family.

And now, here's prehistoric Rick Reilly telling us that it's not good enough. He wants us to slim down, shape up and "get out". I guess he wants us to drop the laundry basket and pick up a barbell. And he wants us to pay for this how? Most of us are not married to a millionaire or have a 30-hour per week nanny. And Rick, shall I iron and starch your shirts before or after I write my Pulitzer Prize-winning novel?

When will men like Rick Reilly realize that motherhood is a full-time job, whether you work outside the home or not? Some of us have dreamed all our lives of sitting in the stands cheering for "Amber" and her teammates. Do we do it at the expense of our own personal goals? Sometimes. Will our worlds come crashing down on us when Amber goes off to college and leaves us with an emptier laundry basket? Perhaps, but that's the chance we take.

To say that a life devoted to children is less worthwhile than one that has children and a glamorous career, is a slap in face of centuries of motherhood. At the risk of being a drama queen, motherhood is all about sacrifice. It's day after day of putting everyone's needs ahead of your own. Now I agree that we have to take time for ourselves, but to flippantly command: "Get out there!" without an appreciation for what we do on a daily basis is just plain ignorant.

Sure, Molly Shattuck has it all and does it all. But I'll bet if you asked her, even she would say that she's made sacrifices to have this life about which Rick Reilly is so enamored.

So Rick, next time you go to a soccer tournament, don't sit down next to the woman who obsesses over Amber. In fact, try to sit next to the Molly Shattuck in the crowd. Oh wait, you might not find her there. She didn't have time to watch the tournament so she sent the nanny.

What's the old adage? Oh yeah, "Ignorance is bliss." Rick Reilly must be pretty darn blissful right now.


At 11:04 AM , Blogger Dave said...

Hello, Michele sent me! We're rebels -- rebels without a calendar! Who says we have to stop playing the Meet N Greet at midnight after the weekend is over? Power to the people!

At 3:23 PM , Blogger cmhl said...

excellent, excellent post!!! my mother (stay at home mom since before my older brother was born) has said to me (working since graduated from school, now working part-time) EVERY mother works, it is just whether it is working at home, or working at home AND away from home..

At 3:46 PM , Anonymous Mary Ann said...

I am guilty of losing my identity and living my life for my kids. It has been working quite nicely for me until they started growing up and leaving. So now I'm up for suggestions. However, a response like "get out there!" makes me want to deck someone with a cream pie.

Actually I am quite sure that my next act is going to be as fabulous, fun and dream fufilling as childhood, college, career and then motherhood were. How many men get the chance to start over and over again. HUZZAH! CHICKS RULE!

At 5:13 PM , Blogger Dirk the Feeble said...

The only thing that offends me about this whole post is that you are assuming that it's all on the mom. This happens to be bullshit.

I am SO looking forward to going to watch my daughter's soccer practice, if my wife wants to go out into the working world and seek her fortune I have no problem being the "more involved" of the two parents.

I agree with you 100% that being a mom is a full-time job, but so is being a dad, and there are plenty of dads out there who get a bad rap because everyone just assumes that taking the kids to cub scouts and keeping the house spic-and-span and having dinner on the table is the "woman's job."

I am going to be SUCH an involved dad, and to answer your somewhat-rhetorical question, YES, my GOAL in life is to have that. Kids aren't going to cause me to put my life on hold - kids ARE the goal of my life.

Don't forget the daddys, mommy. There's not only deadbeats out there.

At 9:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog.
Very funny!

You are an excellent writer!

At 6:42 AM , Blogger Indigo said...

Yep, yep, and yep. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Michele sent me. Hello Milwaukee! I'm in West Allis. Howdy, neighbor. :-)

At 7:14 AM , Blogger Star said...

I know you can't hear me, but I am cheering your posts about Molly Shattuck and child obssessed Moms. I bet Molly looks back someday and realizes she missed more than she knew while she was sewing tap dancing and flower arranging.

At 10:31 AM , Blogger Holly said...

came from cmhl's blog...

i go to school full time and try to run a household with a husband who is 90% of the time at work or at school. it all falls to me.

last night i was nearly in tears from being overwhelmed by it all.

i really need a vacation. of course, after 2-3 hours i'd miss my kids and be lonely anyway
:o )

At 2:53 PM , Blogger Oreo said...

Hey, if you want to get a pie line going I'm in. I've never seen or heard of this woman but she sounds like the type I'd love to deck!!

At 11:26 AM , Blogger Kross-Eyed Kitty said...

Here via Michele's!
I often think that if I had kids, I wouldn't be able to cope with everything that has to get done in a day. Kudo's to all the overtime mothers out there!

At 11:54 AM , Blogger ribbiticus said...

great post! you go, girl! here via michele. :)

At 1:35 PM , Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Here via Michele. I don't have the choice to stay home. I'm the single mom that works, has kids, kids have activities and mom tries to have a life of her own. I think I'm doing a good job with the kids. But if you have time for one of my extra laundry baskets, I would appreciate it.

At 1:43 PM , Blogger Free to Be said...

Hello from Michele's.

I liked you post, but was he being an ass or was he just saying that we shouldn't lose ourselves while we raise our children.

At 2:00 PM , Blogger cara said...

HI michelle sent me, great blog!

At 6:36 AM , Anonymous ensurt said...

Hi, Michele sent me. Enjoyed reading your post!

At 8:18 PM , Blogger Beanhead said...

Here via Michele's

At 11:26 AM , Blogger Mar said...

Hi, Michele sent me back!

At 12:05 PM , Blogger ribbiticus said...

hi! back from michele's! :)

At 9:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We could all cheer after a tummy tuck and breast augmentation! The problem with a woman like this is her giant ego--the ego that destroys others. I am glad that her daughter is still very young; maybe there is still a chance that she will grow up to believe that women are worth more than this. And her poor sons, what will they think of women after their mother poses for such photos? Maybe with therapy they will all make out just fine. The do-it-all life style is a joke as well. It is not possible to do it all; we have all tried to be everything to everyone! The parents that claim that they juggle it all usually have the children that suffer. The nanny and housekeeper better be worth their salt, they will be the major influence for these poor, yet wealthy, children. I am sure that this "trophy" wife has quite a history----at least that is what I have read. I wonder how she became Mrs. Shattuck anyway----possibly an affair?


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