On a recent post, I received this (wonderfully honest) comment:
“I must not be working hard enough, but I don’t remember feeling this same kind of exhaustion before kids. Nobody whines at work and quibbles constantly and interrupts my every task with the frequency of little kids. At work I did what I got a degree to do. At home I feel far more untrained. For me, parenting is the most mentally exhausting experience I’ve had to do day in and day out.”
You are saying something I’ve heard many times now from other moms. I think honestly, and ironically, a large part of the mental exhaustion you’re expressing is due to Feminism.
Because of Feminism, we have had less training, and less mental preparation for motherhood and daily care of the home than any other generation before us. The vast majority of us did exactly what you have outlined here– got our degrees, and were prepared to use them in a sterile, professional environment.
What we WEREN’T encouraged to do was to consider how basic human biology might affect the pursuit for successful sterility and “you can do anything”-ism we’d been raised to believe in. What we WEREN’T encouraged to do was spend time with moms of little ones, and most of us grew up in 2-child homes, so our reality was far removed from any awareness of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the real, daily demands of raising young children.
Whereas previous generations had watched their relatives (and often, their own mothers) go through the stages of motherhood, and seen (up close) the process of pregnancy, infant care, discipline, and parenting, we did not. Whereas the few generations before ours, since industrialization, had at least had home-ec and shop class to help them make the transition from academic work to family life, our generation mocked these things as non-academic, since they weren’t on the “college” track.
Putting it straight, Feminism belittled the thing that almost all women eventually do, and exalted the thing that many women (Christian and secular alike) opt to set aside, or place further down on the priority list for a time, in order to devote themselves to a season of childrearing.
Because of this, many of us arrived to adulthood ill-prepared for the daily tasks of being a mom. We came into motherhood unprepared for the whining, quibbling, interruptions, and everyday normal NEEDS of children. When truthfully, that is one of the ONLY things that, across the board, most of us as women would encounter.
You might work in business, my friend might be a nurse, and I might’ve worked in a political office, but almost all of us eventually become mothers of young children, and yet that common thing among us is the one thing none of us were well-prepared for.
I find that appalling, and a great failure of the 30-40 year rise of feminism.
This failure has left us most befuddled by the thing that happens to most of us, and most “well-prepared” (complete with degree and training and internships and such) for things that many of us (either due to motherhood or due to the crummy economy) don’t end up spending our lives doing.
This reader’s observation is one that points LESS to the reality of parenting and its challenges (which people have done for thousands of years, with far more children, with far less gear, far less education, and far less financial resources than we possess), and to me, points MORE to the reality of what Feminism has wreaked in our society.
- Did you feel well-prepared, or ill-prepared, for motherhood?
- As a mother, have the level of needs and daily demands taken you by surprise?
*** Heads up: Keep it thought-provoking; keep it kind. Rude comments will just get the “delete” button, cause ain’t nobody got time for that. ***