Many of my friends and family members have asked me, "What is like to be a mom." The assumption is that I would answer that being a mom is joyful, exciting, and it's just the most memorable of all my life experiences. But that is not how I feel, at least now. Being a mom in today's society is quite different from the '50s or even '70s. Today we are super moms: we keep our jobs, we keep the house clean, we have time to decorate our rooms like Martha Stewart, we are of course devoting lovers to our partners, and we are the coolest moms for our children. Did I also mention that new moms have Victoria's Secret's bodies right after giving birth? Super model Gisele Bundchen resonates the stereotype of a modern mom when she posted the following picture on her Instagram's account.
|Credit to Gisele's account to Instagram|
Being a mom is not awesome. Who says this is full of BS. Look at my face in the picture. Do I look like I have any expression on my face? No, because new moms do not have time to even think beside making sure the new baby survives. I get between 2 and 3 hours of sleep per night because my baby has really bad gas. I work in the morning and will go back full time in the office in January after my unpaid maternity leave is over, I cook and make sure I eat healthy, I exercise one hour a day (the only time I leave the baby), and I have to do laundry, clean the house, take the dog out, etc.
Did you see my garden? That is the garden of somebody who had a child and does not have time to blow shit around. My partner helps out a lot, don't get me wrong, but even two people cannot catch up with the demands of our lives (e.g. bills, put gas in the car, grocery, Did you remember to call the vet? Don't forget we have a social event to go to), especially if these two people are both working and career oriented.
Do I have help? Yes, I hired an expensive nanny/babysitter so I could work even thought the majority of my paycheck goes to the nanny. Why I did not quit my job? Beside the fact that I do want a career, financially, despite the fact that we both have good jobs, we cannot afford to stay at home. That is a reality of today's society. If you don't keep rolling the wheel you will end up in the well. Is that sad? Today's society is telling us that we are mothers who need to be super women, super business ladies, super cooks, and we are look down if we choose to pick one path, which we can't even do that. How did we get to this point?
For once, the lack of support from companies during maternity leave is just repulsive. I can't believe that during such an incredible and physical and emotional hard moment (pregnancy and first months of having child) most companies including governmental agencies do not provide paid maternity leave and it is only 3 months. To me, this is uncivil. This does not even count the fact that during pregnancy you feel like shit (at least I did) and yet you have to go to work and perform 100%. If you want to stay home you use your days off (which we know in the States you get maybe 15 days compared to Europe). Furthermore, it seems that we get into this mentality that we need to suck it up, that me made the choice of raising children and be mothers, while demanding gender equality. Well, I don't see gender equality. It is apparent that women are different and our biological differences make it really hard to be equal when gender equality in society means acting like a man (the office, career, financial stability, etc.).
So, what is like to be a new mom? Exhausting and awkward. You are not sure what this little creature is and you look at her/him and you are puzzle. You try to understand her/him and manage her/him but that is just impossible. She is controlling you more than you are controlling her. It's very hard to change your lifestyle in such a short period of time. You become 24/7 absorbed with this little creature that yet has to show off personality and interact with you in such a way that is rewarding to a person. But I know the love is coming and growing. I am just not one of this people who really explode in emotions right away. It's more of a long journey, discovering and building relationships. What's like to be a mom? Emotional. You are trying to hold on to your previous life, full of social events, drinks at night, and time for yourself. We, as western people, are so individualistic that it is very hard to let go of our 'me, me,me' time and give all you got to somebody you just met.
I don't want to sound like I don't love my child. Of course I do, if not I would not spend all this time making sure I breastfeed her, talk to her in Italian and English, turn the TV off so she does not get used to crappy reality TV shows, and much more. It's just my need to vent my emotions.