My Sobering Secret. | Mommy Track'd.
I read this essay today because the title from the Motherlode intrigued me. First I have to say that I love Stephanie Wilder-Taylor's humor and writing. Second, I've read her first two books and laughed out loud. Third, when sharing this with my mother, and the title of another book- If you Give a Mom a Martini- I said, "It's amazing that there is such a theme of drinking in the world of mothers and parenting books." I suppose I shouldn't be surprised- it feels great to "tie one on" sometimes at the end of a day and just get numb. However, I learned early on that the hangover the next day just isn't worth it. Especially if the next day is a Tuesday.
Taylor's reason for her drinking is simple- motherhood. There is NOTHING that prepares us for motherhood and the drastic change that occurs in our lives when we go from woman to mother. There are very few people who are not mothers who understand what it's like when within a few days, or a week, or two weeks after giving birth your husband goes back to work and his life returns mostly to normal and we are at home with an infant who we do not know, no friends, and a tremendous lack of sleep. It's a very lonely and difficult time.
Think about it- we have 12 years of elementary school and 4 years of college to prepare for a career where as girls and women we are told we can do anything we want to do, be anything we want to be. We are given 9 months to "prepare" for motherhood but since pregnancy and motherhood are TOTALLY different we really only get between 2 and 4 days in the hospital. See anything wrong with this picture? I don't blame Ms. Taylor at all. I'd like to blame society but I wouldn't even know where to start. Women have been the primary caregivers for kids for thousands of years and yet we have not found a better way to make the adjustment to the massive change that we must embrace.
I love being a mother and I love my kids but I am imperfectly human. I understand Ms. Taylor's position and her need to admit that she has a problem in order to fix that problem. I admire her honesty and I understand her need to share with her online community to get the support she needs even if she doesn't know her supporters personally. Motherhood is difficult, but it's a job we will have for the rest of our lives and our children depend on us to be the best we can be for them and for ourselves. Some days that means knowing when to each out for help.