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The Institution of Mommyhood

December 8, 2011

As a childfree woman, and a blogger about the subject…I am always observant around mothers and children. Almost every day, I see rich families and poor families, and those in-between. Despite some children being super-adorable, and some strollers being extra-pretty; I still hold firmly onto my conclusion that motherhood is a crappy job and kids suck, overall.

Rich parents are so homogenized now, I can spot them a mile away. Strollers are either Stokke or Bugaboo, and mothers are nestled comfortably in furry Canada Goose coats and plush Sorel boots. If they’re not accompanied by the omni-present nanny or the obliged husband (in matching Canada Goose) then they are with women (a.k.a “friends”) who are wearing the same clothes, who have the same Bugaboos and have NOTHING in common with each other but the princely item in their strollers. They will jog uphill in their yoga gear and share sickeningly “cute” stories of diaper poop, the changing of the eye color of their baby and the evils of manufactured food. Forget serious topics like the increasing childcare tax, arguments with the husband, or what’s going on in Egypt.

I’m not trying to insinuate that women are ditzy bimbos fit for nothing but procreating. I just don’t understand why children and all that they encompass has to be used as the next status symbol. The fetus, when the woman is pregnant, does not give two shits you are buying a $7.99 algae shake to be supremely healthy.

We are in the midst of a baby boom and in the midst of an uncertain economy. Why women would want to bring children in this uncertain world is beyond me, but you cannot dress motherhood up in fancy Burberry and make it better. Like prison and like schools, motherhood is an institution allotted to those who choose it. While designer duds may have changed from the 1800s to now, the fundamentals of parenting is still the same:

Nurture, love, feed, educate and prepare the child for the world as an adult where he/she will then pay taxes, probably work 9-5, marry a mediocre woman and raise more kids. The every day act of parenting is mundane and spending all your time with a child is crazy…It’s okay to stop pretending every gurgle is a scientific code that will unlock secrets to the universe.

Like every institution, there is a code of ethics, and even though I assume they include not being abusive, and not shooting heroine with the family–I think covering up the truth about motherhood is part of that code of ethics too. When Brooke Shields came out and said raising her first daughter was a nightmare, everyone was shocked. They thought she needed pyschiatric help. But the truth was, Shields was just calling it what it was . She learned the hard way and with her second daughter, smiled for the cameras and told everyone life was peachy and her kid was precious. Nobody likes being called crazy.

An employer of mine told me how she wanted her husband to buy her diamonds and jewels for her wedding anniversary, but then on second thought, despaired about this since she only spent her free time at the local park with her kids. The playground was definitely no place to be rocking sapphires. I had always envied her nice outfits and her line up of Benzes, but when I found out her aspirations weren’t much more than having “a handful of adorable kids”, I quickly grew disinterested.

I remember that first episode of Sailor Moon (airing on YTV) where Sailor Moon and her friend walk into her mother’s jewellery shop. There are hoards of women buying jewellery on sale but the rings zap their energy for the Dark Forces. After the women leave the shop, they are like zombies as the ring zaps their energy and power, leaving them not much more than braindead. That sums up the institution of motherhood.


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