The rabbit hole.
Me: I am woman. I am mother. I am Wonder Woman.
Also me: I don't know what the heck I'm doing.
While doing research for this new series, I found a few intriguing info-graphics on the millennial mother. (Millennials being broadly categorized as people born between 1981-2001.) This particular info-graphic though, it struck several chords within me. It didn't just kind of describe me...it came pretty close to a crystal clear reflection of my digital self. And the frightening thing is, the more I think about it, I have a hard time figuring out if there are other parts of me, or whether I have become wholly digitalized. I don't know for sure if I exist substantially outside of the touchscreen-flat screen realm. I hope I can explain myself properly today, because I think my predicament is not exclusive to The Orchid Blooms. I worry that it might be an epidemic among us, the Millennial Moms.
I'll admit, before I fell pregnant, I never gave much thought to being a mom. I mean, I was always a girl that had the daydreams about her wedding, and having a dining table full of kids some years later. The wife and mom gig was one I have desired and prayed about for several years. I really wanted it. But I never thought much about how I would actually do it, raise them. I knew loosely that of course I would teach them about Christ but that was about it. And I think that's OK. There's nothing wrong with not preparing for a future you don't have yet; there's also nothing wrong with preparing for it either.
It's that preparation though that sent me down a rabbit hole I am only starting to climb out of. I am being honest when I say that my attachment to my phone, and now my tablet and computer, only really started in 2012, when I became pregnant with Tito. I can't remember that first question I asked Google about my pregnancy, but it was like my first sniff of a highly addictive drug. In an instant my feet left the edge of reason and I fell into this abyss of internet opinion.
I remember at some point being frustrated with my mum and her counterparts because any time I would ask a question about how they raised us, they would nonchalantly reply, "Aiiii, that was a long time ago, now who can remember?". And I would be thinking, "How can you not remember at which month you introduced meat and eggs into my diet?? This is a matter of life and death!". Yet of course it wasn't. But, this digital alternate reality in which women's minds were being poured out into one huge coalesced pond of thought, had made every decision I would make about parenting seem exactly like that, a matter of life and death.
Did you take folic acid in your first trimester? No? Oh my, there goes your child's spinal chord formation.
Are you taking your Omega 3's and Calcium? No? Well...I guess you're OK with your kid having a low IQ.
Of course you need a birth plan. What kind of woman goes into hospital without a birth plan?
Who in this age doesn't book a doula? (As husbands collectively ponder to themselves on what a doula could possibly be.)
Let's not forget the birth photographer.
And yes, it's going to be a natural birth, with no pain medications, because you know, those drugs go straight into your child's bloodstream and they will grow up to be sociopaths.
Yes doctor, you can't coax me into a c-section. Read the birth plan I shoved into your hands earlier.
Exclusive breastfeeding is my motto; milk formula is from the devil, and it will kill my baby's immunity and IQ too. I want my kid to go to university.
We are not introducing solids until the baby turns 6 months old; not a day before, not one crumb. And no water either...anyone that does, well, she's a second-rate mother. But we aren't going to tell her that, we'll just think it.
Screen time shall kill your children's brains, approximately 47,000 cells per half hour of cartoons, c'mon, everyone knows that.
No fried foods; if you make the effort and stay consistent, your child will be crying for peas and brocolli.
Sugar is the DEVIL. Enough said.
You're not co-sleeping? Do you not want to be emotionally bonded to your children all of your lives?
Play group, play dates, play everything...how are you not on the play-merry-go-round yet?
Oh, he's not reading yet? Or counting to 100? Wow. Take risks much?
What do you mean you apply heat to your daughter's hair?
Your home needs to be a free zone: gluten-free, BPA-free, GMO-free,screen-free, sugar-free processed food-free, preservative-free....
Oh. And of course. Coconut Oil. Just, coconut oil...everywhere.
I could have continued with a few more paragraphs out of the self-inflicted considerably delusional, worryingly obsessive millennial mom rule book, but it's giving me heartburn just thinking about these things.
You see, none of the things I've listed are wrong, or inherently bad. And there is a lot of good to be thanked for from this age we live in, that we can communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world, instantaneously. This digital world, has done a great job of connecting us to real women everywhere, and teaching mothers so much about, so much.
But the systematic breakdown of the motherhood psyche has been unparalleled. In all of history, this is unique to our current age. I brought up our mothers earlier; compared to us, they were remarkably relaxed. To a large extent, they went with the flow. They loved us and seemed to have an internal disposition that. "These kids of mine will turn out alright."
There are certain character traits I have found in us that are conspicuously lacking in most baby boomer moms: the endless doubting of herself. The mommy guilt over nothing and everything. The vicious competition/judging of other moms.
And when I say us, I am wholly including Christian women.
This is a problem we need to figure out.
Thank you for this. As a teacher of little children, this makes me understand my parents a little better. Especially because I was raised by a Baby Boomer Mum. 😀
Beautiful. That heat on the daughters hair line hahahahahahahaha
This is totally and completely true! We work ourselves into a self-doubting and self-judging frenzy based on opinions of others that we would otherwise not give a second look or thought and it is truly sad.
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Christian, wife, mom, doctor, and an alien on earth, on my way to the city of God.