When I was pregnant, I started keeping up with a few “mom blogs.” I found them useful and safe– I could find out whether what I was experiencing was “normal” without actually having to ask anyone, a sort maternal voyeurism, I suppose. I’ve since stopped reading lots of them, but haven’t gotten around to deleting a remaining few from my reader.
Because some mom blogs are like car accidents: You just can’t look away.
The mom blogs, sad to say, tend to fall into one of two categories: (1) the blogs that lovingly document the child’s every breath (9mos probably falls into this category) and (2) those that openly howl into cyberspace wondering how in the world they got themselves into this pickle called parenthood, digital diaries of maternal lament.
Last week, I came across a post in which a mommy blogger cited a statistic indicating that 60% of couples divorce after they become parents. She wrote about how she could understand why– her husband wasn’t pulling his weight as a parent, in her opinion, and she was at wit’s end. As he sat in his home office, typing away, she stood in the kitchen fuming that he hadn’t taken out the garbage, washed any dishes, changed any diapers recently, or given her a break. Instead of talking with her husband about her frustration and expectations, she paced in the kitchen trying to communicate her feelings telepathically… and then went to blog about them.
Something about this made me deeply uncomfortable, and yet I kept reading. I was strangely fascinated by this woman’s experience, to which I couldn’t relate at all– except for the feeling of eternal sleep deprivation, I’ve found parenthood to be far more extraordinary than I could have ever imagined, and Francisco is, as he ever has been, present, engaged, and fully, equally involved.
Then I made the mistake of reading the comments. “Amen, sister!” “Right on!” “Men are scumbags!” “Pigs will fly before a man remembers to put a garbage bag in the can after he takes out the trash–if he takes it out!” The comments were passionate, filled with multiple exclamation points and allusions of sisterhood that probably should have scared the lone male commenter (who defended his gender in a remarkably non-defensive way) off.
On the one hand, I wanted to comment, to stand up in defense of men, first of all (or at least some of them). And I wanted to stand up in defense of babies– this woman seemed to be nearing the end of her rope–her baby’s cries grated on her and were, as she described them “horrid” and “annoying.” But ever the voice of reason, Francisco stopped me. “Are you crazy?” he asked. “That woman doesn’t want to hear that you think I’m a good partner or a good father. She doesn’t want to hear that Mariel never cries. She just wants to vent to whoever’s on the other side of the computer.”
He was right, of course, and so I didn’t comment.
A few days later, the same mom blogger wrote that she was “finally” getting away with her husband for a much needed vacation, and that they’d be bundling up their baby, who’s about six months, and leaving it with her parents… and did I mention that she has a terribly contentious relationship with her parents? She imagined their vacation as a moment for them to reconnect, to enjoy candlelight dinners and walk hand in hand through a romantic scene.
All, I suppose, before going back to their car wreck of a life, which, of course, I’ll be reading about.