Oprah and the Secret Lives Moms

Yesterday afternoon I found myself watching an episode of Oprah called the Secret Lives of Moms, and, honestly, I think I would've been better off sitting through an episode on how to avoid serial killers.

You see, I learned from watching this episode that "motherhood" in our modern age is mainly the enterprise of seemingly upper middle class to wealthy white women who are dissatisfied with their lot in life.

How do I know this? Because on this show, the three moms sitting in the studio next to Oprah were all white with blond hair, and they snarkily complained about everything.

Let me be clear, being white and blond is not, in itself a bad thing. Heck, one of my grandmothers was white and she (sometimes) had blond hair. But, are there not any Latina, Asian or black moms that are interesting enough to sit on stage to tell their motherhood stories? Native American moms? Filipino moms? Half black and half Irish moms? I mean, not a one on the stage! Not even a Beyonce-inspired sista rocking a lace front weave!

Instead, the couple of moms that had some additional pigment in their skin got to call in on Skype to share their tidbits about how motherhood kinda sucks.

Oh yes, I also learned from this show that after you become a mother, your life will suck because:

1) You will have to buy a minivan.
2) You'll be surrounded by pee, poop and vomit at all times.
3) Your husband will never have sex with you again.
4) You will have to orchestrate mega birthday parties with reptiles because your five year-old likes reptiles.
5) You will lose all sense of self and your whole life will become about your child.

Hmm... first of all, if you don't want to buy a minivan, don't. No one says you have to tote your kids and all their friends all over town. And if you decide to do it, be GRATEFUL that you have the $ to buy one, because guess what, some people don't have it like that. Some mothers WALK their kids everywhere because they can't even afford a car.

Yeah, the whole, whining and complaining, "This isn't what I thought my life would be," and, "Being a mom is SOOO hard!" vibe of the show really got to me. I know it sounds so judgemental, but I was yelling at the TV, "You're not a teenager anymore! Grow up!"

What good does it do me to sit around and think, "If I didn't have you, I could have the cutest clothes and really fly shoes?" Am I really supposed to merely think of my kids through an opportunity-cost lens? Like, if I didn't have them I could do and have x, y and z?

I remember when my first son was born, I was teaching in Compton and I had to go back to work after six weeks because I couldn't afford to stay home any longer. Internally, I was an emotional wreck over it because my little boy was SO small, and I was pissed that I wasn't married to some Swedish dude and living in, um, Sweden, so I could have decent maternity leave.

I bitched and complained about it for a little while, and then I realized that many moms of my students couldn't even afford to stay home for six weeks! When I talked to them, I heard about how they had to go back to work a week AFTER they'd had a baby.

Why? Because they didn't have jobs that had benefits or paid even a living wage. SO even if they could legally take time off, they could not do so financially.

I guess I could've still kept complaining, but it instead made me think about why is it that our society still disrespects mothers so much that we don't get better maternity leave. I started thinking about how my slave ancestors didn't have maternity leave either... and hey, at least my son would not be sold away to another plantation, so it can't ALL be bad!

Yes, like the moms on Oprah, I've done some crazy parenting stuff. Like, I used to dress my kids in their clothes the night before so they'd be ready to go in the morning without me being stressed out. I never felt bad about that though. I always figured if someone else wanted to step up, come over here, and get my kids dressed for me, it was ALL good.

But to me, that's not what being a mother is really about. Sure, that's a part of it. But not the whole.

For me, being a mother is about developing my children's social, emotional and spiritual capacities. It's about teaching them values and virtues, and I'm not talking about the virtues of consumerism and materialism.

So, if you want to share a secret, tell me about how you're secretly afraid you don't know how to teach that because you're not sure what you believe anymore.

Tell me you're a racist your relatives are racist and you're scared you're going to raise your kids with the same attitudes.

Tell me how you're dealing with being a single mom. Tell me how you manage to model gender equality in your household (or how you don't), and how you don't want to raise boys that think girls have to be servants, or raise girls that think they're nothing without a man.

Telling me that motherhood is a collection of pee/poop/vomit stories? I'll pass.

I know some folks love to write and talk about all that stuff and that's their version of keeping it real, but seriously, I've never been into that. Overall, it just hasn't feel dignified or seemly for me. I can deal with a kid vomiting on me. That's easy. Trust me, I have a harder time dealing with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

But hey, what do I know? Dooce does the pee/poop/vomit thing and she's making major moolah off of her blog! Maybe I should give such a thing a try and watch the dollars roll in.

I just think this show, on so many levels, could have been so much more than it was. (Hey, Oprah, you can call me if you want me to sit next to you and talk about this stuff!)

Comments

Jessalyn said…
Well said!

I didn't watch the episode yesterday because I was worried it would be exactly as you described. What is up about all of the negative stories about motherhood lately? Surely these women see the rewards, too?
Unknown said…
Have you been to O's show? Really you tell it like it is girl. Her audience and those she caters to are exactly who you discribe. I rarely watch her because of it.

"For me, being a mother is about developing my children's social, emotional and spiritual capacities. It's about teaching them values and virtues, and I'm not talking about the virtues of consumerism and materialism."

~ that says it all.

My son stopped having those crazy birthday parties at 5, I feel that as long as he knows I love him and thought enough of him to push him into this world, what else matters?

Having kids is not keeping up with the Jones, its fostering conscientious respectable individuals.

Being a mom is not the hardest job, its the most important job.

All whiners need to step off ~
Mes Deux Cents said…
Liz,

I saw a bit of Oprah and after about 10 minutes I just couldn't take it anymore.

It was just so amazing that these middle class women were complaining and there are so many divorced moms out there that have to do what they do alone.

Regarding the lack of color; that's just Oprah. She it seems is mostly concerned with the plight of middle class White women.

"...I used to dress my kids in their clothes so they'd be ready to go in the morning without me being stressed out..."

Lol, that's so cute.
April said…
Glad I missed it.
Very well said!
nick said…
Well, exactly. If you choose to be a mum, then take responsibility for your decision and don't whine and moan afterwards about how awful it is. And yes, for heck's sake, they think they have problems? They should try being in really tough circumstances. Also, as you say, isn't the important question how to bring up your kids with the right values rather than whether they puke on the shag pile? These mums could do with a stiff dose of reality.
Michele said…
I'm with ya!

Yesterday I was reading tweets from East Coast moms who were already viewing the episode that had yet to air in my area. They raved! I recorded it and waited in anticipation to watch. What a disappointment. I watched 10 min before shutting it off.

Thanks for putting to words what I was too annoyed to do myself.
Liz Dwyer said…
Jessalyn,
I wasn't sure what to expect with it but I did because there was so much buzz about it online (on Twitter esp.) -- and it was just a let down. I know maybe some women feel like they don't have permission admitting they aren't supermom or superwoman, but how about get to the root of why women feel like they have to be those things in the first place? I just wish we'd stop looking at motherhood as some sort of contest, either with the Joneses or with our own egos.

Houseonahill,
I went four or five times back in the day, but the last time I went was probably in 1994 when she had an episode with moms who'd had postpartum depression so severe that they'd killed their children. I thought I was going to throw up during the taping.

YES, having kids is NOT keeping up with the Joneses and being a mom is definitely the most important job I've ever had. Not necessarily the hardest though because at least I don't have to deal with crazy people and office politics when I'm with my boys!

Mes,
I almost turned after like 10 minutes and I don't know why I didn't. It was train-wreck syndrome for me, I suppose. I'm sure some of those moms on the show must have been single moms, but why not say that? And it's not that folks can't say they're having a hard time managing all the stuff moms need to do, but the tone of this show was annoying.

Yeah, I'd give them a bath and then dress them in their clothes instead of PJs! I only quit like two years ago! :)

April,
I hope she does follow-up shows with some different perspectives. I'd love to see that.

Nick,
I think our society trains us to worry more about the superficial instead of the critical stuff that will really carry a kid through their lives. I figure I'd rather worry about how to build humility and kindness in my kid's heart rather than stressing oer making an off the hook birthday -- that is, if I have to choose between the two and have limited time and energy.
Liz Dwyer said…
Michele,
The East Coasters made me want to watch! I was reading their tweets and 10 minutes into the show, I was wondering if we'd actually seen the same thing!
Lotus Flower said…
I have to give props to all the moms out there who do their duties. I couldn't do it. Which is why I didn't sign up for it (and probably won't for another ten years).

Honestly, these mothers on Oprah KNEW what they were getting themselves into and what motherhood entailed. Now they're looking for sympathy votes? Please.

I don't know, it just seems like there are a lot of women out there who feel that society owes them something for conceiving/raising children. To the Oprah Moms - you made your bed. Lie in it!
1969 said…
I saw a few minutes of the episode and felt the same way.

Yes, motherhood is exhausting, yes it's expensive....but it's also fulfilling, fun and awesome.

We don't all have horror stories to share. Some of us *gasp* enjoy being moms.

If you get to go on Oprah, bring me so we can tell em the real deal.
Sharifa said…
I do find motherhood hard, and I had my son in a country that provided 22 weeks paid maternity leave. Now, I live in Sweden where the parents get to split a total of 480 days paid - as recent arrivals we get the days but only 20 USD per day, still it means my husband will spend a couple of months at home this summer, we just have to budget for it. So, come July I might find motherhood mighty easy.

The whining has become popular in recent years and I think that even those of us who live in the real world find that it is a bigger adjustment than we could ever imagine. Most of us are having kids later than our parents did, and have established more selfish habits. For me, the main thing is I need a lot of personal space and that is one thing I do not have at the moment.
Remnants of U said…
Oh, and I was upset that I had to miss that show.

Actually the story that you told about dressing your children the night before is what I was hoping to hear. LOL! And as hard as my son was to wake up and get moving in the morning... 16 years ago...I could have had much easier mornings.

I should have known none of the mothers would represent me. Thanks for your insightful comments. :-)
Daniel said…
Los Angelista,
Like Blaque said in “808” – “Well, now you gone and done it” (Boom! LOL. Whatever happened to those girls? Wow, in pop culture they sure churn & burn ‘em quick, don’t they.)
Since YOU ASKED, I’ll run wit it.
First - girl, girl, girl, how long has it been since the “O” has been relevant to anybody? How can a woman who is so much about herself, stanchly refusing anything like, uh, commitment, family and the SELF-sacrifice of children, understand anything about someone like yourself – a sincere, loving, sacrificing Mom?
As far as her “Blond and White” set-up, the “O” knows where the money is for an audience. It ain’t us.

Now, about what REALLY makes me contemplate “Motherhood”? (Well, I HAVE to. I’m both Dad and Mom, since it’s just me.) Two things.
1) How to guide them, to make correct choices about many moral issues, at ages when they are confronted with them, while being really too young to fully understand the issues at hand. At ages younger and younger, they are confronted with some of the worst we got to offer. How do explain just how far-reaching the consequences can be for them when they can hardly see past the moment? It’s become a difficult minefield. I adjust to it constantly. I just hope I’m making the appropriate decisions. For their lives and future.
2) Their self-identity. While it’s nice to think of a color-blind society, it is, for all practical purposes, impossible. Therefore, what they look like will have some impact on them. From BOTH directions. Being bi-racial, how do they “see” themselves? The difficult choices of who they “group” with (if anybody). Other people’s reactions to the very cross-cultural likes/dis-likes/decisions they do make. Learning to be themselves, with much pressure to make them join a “class”. Being “Whitey Dad”, I have no personal experience in much of it. I just fly by the seat of my pants, trying to understand, be compassionate and help them be comfortable with themselves.

That’s it. Long, I know. But you asked, lol!
Ian Lidster said…
I find it odd that Oprah of all people would choose the singular lack of ethnic mix that she did. Certainly doesn't reflect the realities of US or Canadian society today.
Personally, I found it incredible that they entitled the show The Secret Lives Of Moms when in fact, these women tell all everyday on their blogs or in their books. In fact, all this stuff was so "secret", it's been done by mothers since the 1950's.

Except the whining and the mini-vans.

Great post!
Sarah Auerswald said…
When I get super cranky and want to complain about the pee or poop stuff and the no time for me -- when I am most present, I remind myself I wouldn't be the woman I am today without my kids. They changed my life for sure -- and I'm a blogger today because of it, and I get to know the truth about LAUSD and what public education is all about because I'm a mom. I would NOT be the woman I am without being a mom. Plus they're so adorable, how can I stay cranky??
Unknown said…
What everyone says reminds me why I decided to turn Oprah off four years ago. One of the best decisions I've made in life, other than the one I made to divorce my ex.

If any of y'all happen to talk to La Winfrey, tell her Angela has a single parent with three-kids-to raise-while-living-on-the-on-or under-the-poverty-line story that will make her have to go back to her hair dresser to touch up all those nappy roots that will suddenly sprout up after hearing it. Obviously, I'm in a slightly bad mood about this right now.
Jameil said…
yeah we had a mini twitter convo about the boringness of that show. i checked out after a few minutes and turned back to ellen. while i was watching though, oprah asked the funniest question (paraphrasing), "but didn't you know your life was going to be different before you had children?" hilarious. obviously you can never fully understand but so too is everything in life-- a mystery until experienced. oy.
Nerd Girl said…
No Oprah for me! Haven't been able to stomach her show in a mighty long time.

I think it is just en vogue to complain about the downsides of motherhood. We all have our days, but I've got to say that personally, my life is so much better for having our daughter in it and I make a conscious effort to remind myself of that when I am tempted to whine and complain about whatever is bugging me.

You're such an awesome writer. If I could express myself as well as you do I'd be a best selling author several times over. You've got talent LA!
Liz Dwyer said…
Mimi,
I definitely give my props to all my fellow moms! I always say that we can only do our best (and even with that our kids will probably end up in therapy).

1969,
You know I totally thought of you, right? I kept thinking, me and 1969 need to get on this show.

Sharifa,
I am sooo jealous of that 22 weeks of paid leave! Being a mom is definitely not always as easy as watching your manicure dry, but the dissatisfied complaining...I think you're so right about us being older moms and being more selfish. My mom was DONE having kids at the same age I was when I had my first one! I am right there with you on the needing personal space and sometimes it feels like I need to put myself in a sensory deprivation tank -- but the good thing is that I'm an insomniac and totally get quiet time while everybody else is asleep!

Remnants,
And do you know when folks would ask me, "How do you do it all?" I would tell them straight up, "Well, I get the kids dressed the night before and they sleep in their clothes!" Shock and awe but goodness, the clothes are clean and why can't they sleep in them instead of PJs? If I could do it for myself, I would!

Daniel,
See, my husband was JUST asking what happened to Blaque. Another group chopped up and spit out by the industry! I'm always glad when you run with things... There should be a Sociology of Oprah class taught to analyze all this stuff.

You make me laugh, describing yourself as "Whitey Dad" -- but you are thinking about how to raise your kids as "whole" people. Our society will raise our kids to be fractured shells of themselves, always searching for their identity in the latest product... so many of us are that way, hoping that something outside ourselves will make us feel better, when really, it is the nurturing and filling up of our soul that does so.

Ian,
It was odd but I wonder if she just went with whomever the producers said was a go. Sometimes such things are not always on our radars, even if they should be.

NYC Watchdog,
OMG, you have the BEST point ever! Absolutely, there is no secret to any of it because they totally dishing! The irony is out of this world!

Sarah,
My kids totally contribute to who I am now. They make me better, definitely. You're so right that unless they're a teacher, folks without kids have almost no idea what schools or school districts are like and what the issues facing them are.

Angela,
I always forget Oprah is on so I almost never watch. But I always wonder, "Am I like the women up there?" because I never feel like I am. Maybe I'm in denial. Anyway, sadly enough, I don't think your story would fit in with the vibe the producers were trying to create.

Jameil,
Yeah, that's a good question to ask and it's so universal to so many experiences. It's kinda like, OK, you are going to college, it's going to change your life but you don't know how till you do it. If you move to a new city, it's going to change your life, even if you can't predict how. I think with parenting, it can be tempting to just think of all the stuff they aren't going to get to do anymore, and that's just a waste of time.

Nerd Girl,
LOL, thank you! So nice of you to say so! I agree that my sons make me a better person. I sort of cringe about certain habits/behaviors I had prior to their existence.

You know, one of the things I know I do, for better or for worse, is that I take a lot of responsibility for my boy's behavior. If they are arguing with each other, yes, it drives me nuts, but I also know it's because I haven't fully taught them how to solve their conflicts without arguing -- and that's because I don't know how to do that all the time myself! That helps me from whining too much.
allison sara said…
I'll comment as a pre-mom, since I plan to become one in the not-too-distant future.

First, let me get the surface-level comment out of the way: what's up with Oprah's hair? Its long straightness just jumps out at me.

Anyway, I have been reading some of these poop/pee/vomit blogs, and for a while, was entranced. I wanted to know, what was I getting myself into? (not enough babysitting in my past to have much of an idea) I've since realized that I don't need to read multiples of those, and that the only ones worth reading are those that make some larger observations about motherhood or family life in general. I am admitting to finding some value in these blogs, since I'm an eager beaver to learn about the experience of motherhood. There comes a point, though, when I've done enough reading about the and all that's left is to actually get the experience myself. Beyond the lowest common denominator, everyone's experience is different, and I'd love for someone (everyone?) to answer the questions you raised.
jodifur said…
I also hated the show. I didn't pick up on the class/race stuff. I'm so glad you mentioned that b/c I didn't see it until you pointed it out. I just thought it was a bunch of needless whining and didn't talk about the things that were actually hard about motherhood. Don't want a minivan. don't get one.
justme said…
the show was fluff
Great post. I am a white, non-blonde gal and did not pick up on the race stuff, but I definitely did pick up on the class stuff. Thank you for pointing out the race part. The class part? I get, oh, I get. My husband is from India and while he does a great job of not comparing me to his mother, I am acutely aware of how easy I have it compared to her. For one, I have electricity, a refrigerator, a washing machine/dryer. That poor woman, even in the 70s, did not have that, much less a TV. God have mercy on her soul. :-)

P.S. Even though I am a white, suburban SAHM, I have absolutely dressed my kids in their clothes the night before. If it is going to be a tight morning? I am unapologetic. I also don't do arts n' crafts and I REFUSE to buy a mini-van. Ever.
Daisy said…
I'm a white, middle income mom and I agree more with your post than with the whiners. I'm not sure what that makes me. My minivan isn't my first choice of vehicles, but we got it for my handicapped son's adapted bike. For that reason, I'll put up with the uncool vehicle forever.
I don't have any kids and watching that show certainly pushed me along the lines of never having any. I thought the wpmen on the stage with O were rather vapid and self-centered.
Allison M. said…
Based on reactions, I have a feeling we will see a part 2 from Oprah and her show on moms.

Having no children but my friends are having their first ones, I kept thinking "this can't be it. Really? I never hear my girlfriends talk about this stuff."

Of course all that stuff comes along with kids. Did they so easily forget about what they put their parents through? I sure didn't.
Unknown said…
I am so glad I found you. This is a wonderful post.

I watched this episode as well and was really disappointed. It just didn't seem, well, worthy of an hour. It was a very weak show.

When someone confessed to crying all the way to the car dealership to get her minivan that's when I just about lost it. Give me a break!!!

I could vent on and on about what was represented on this episode. I'll stop myself ;->.

You REALLY got me with "What good does it do me to sit around and think, "If I didn't have you, I could have the cutest clothes and really fly shoes?". Perfection.

Again, I am so happy that I found your post. With your permission, may a share your post by putting a link on my blog?

Ann Again... and again
http://annagain66.blogspot.com/
Perfectly said - honestly I only watched a few minutes of the show because the tone just irritated me. And yeah my biggest childraising concerns or motherhood related "secrets" have everything to do with how hard it is emotionally to make the right choices for them and guide them through life, not worrying about pee, vomit or lack of sex.
Great perspective! I watched the show with mixed feelings. On one hand, I wanted my in-laws to see it because they seem to think that as a stay at home mom I am sitting poolside sipping cocktails. (I should add that I don't normally watch daytime TV, but I recorded this show.) But other than that, I wanted to remind these women that their lives are what they make of it. Like you said: Don't get a minivan! Don't let dirty diapers define you (unless maybe you run a cloth diaper service, then it is inevitable).
MamaKaren said…
I'm white and middle class, but my "secret regrets" and "this is not what I bargained for as a parent" moments have nothing to do with the pee/poop/vomit or driving a minivan or any of that crap. I'm jumping into a morass of IEP's and psychiatric medications and warnings to middle-school parents about the new trend of 'sexting' in our area. I expected messy diapers and driving carpool and not having spontaneous happy hours with my friends- that what happens when you have a family who needs you. Is my life drastically different than some of my colleagues of the same age? Of course, but it's not better or worse because I gestated and they didn't; it's just different.

I wasn't home to watch that episode, and hearing some of this commentary makes me glad I decided not to tape it. (See, I'm such a loser that I don't even TIVO...)
Liz Dwyer said…
Allison,
OMG, I thought I was the only one who was TOTALLY hating her hair! That look is NOT the business on the big O!

I see your point in the value of getting some of that pee/poop/vomit info. My parents raised my baby niece so as a teen I had a LOT of experience taking care of a baby, so I knew how they do. I guess the bigger question could be why are we women so isolated from each other at various stages of our lives that we don't collectively know what to expect from motherhood? You're making me think about how I don't know as much about menopause as I should. My own mom has NEVER shared any of her experiences with it. Hmm...

Jodifur,
I was joking on twitter that the alternative to the minivan is just to strap your kid's friends to the roof of your car! But seriously, I don't have one and don't have a station wagon or cross over and I'm doing just fine. We just don't need to bring 10 million kids with us everywhere we go.

Feener,
It was excessively surface-y. Maybe some folks like that, but I wasn't feeling it.

Cagey,
Yeah, we don't do too many arts and crafts around here. Or, at least not uber supervised ones. My version of arts and crafts is to set the kids up with an easel, some paint and a paint brush. Go for it, kids!

And bless your mother-in-law! I lived in China for awhile and yeah, talk about perspective! I still can't believe I washed my clothes by hand for over a year! Having to do laundry for myself AND kids that way... that would've been something!

Daisy,
Exactly, if you need a minivan for practical uses, you get one. My dad has had one for years because he drags around music equipment and needs the space for it. And can you imagine how awful your son would feel in later years if he found out you were online complaining about having to have a minivan because of him??? That's not cool at all!

Also, for some reason, your comment made me think about how one of the big myths we have in this country is that black folks somehow have a lock on spotting situations that are sort of questionable along racial lines. In the whole history of this nation, the fight for racial equality and diversity has oftentimes been led by white folks who stood up for the equality they believed to be just and morally right. And that's how it should be!

Faith,
They gave one perspective and I'm sure they don't feel that way all the time. Or, at least I hope they don't! Otherwise, that would be a super sad mothering existence.

Allison,
I have a feeling there will be a part two as well. Or, at least, there should be.

Ann,
Yes, when that lady started crying about the minivan, I was like, really? It was the nail in the coffin on the show, for sure. You are more than welcome to link to my post! Hope you come back and visit me again!

Laurie,
"my biggest childraising concerns or motherhood related "secrets" have everything to do with how hard it is emotionally to make the right choices for them and guide them through life"

You said it, sista! That is exactly it and that's what I want to know about from other moms!

Kimberly,
Yes, there is a lot of, what do you do all day type of mess and it's really disrespectful. It always annoyed me but I find that the more I'm not working full time outside the house, the more it gets on my nerves.

MamaKaren,
I don't have Tivo either. I'm right there with you... and I'm right there with not anticipating the morass that is public education and my boy's experiences with racism. Those are the things I hadn't anticipated!
Ann said…
Middle-aged, middle-class, white lady with a bunch of kids here. Just wanted to say I loved reading this very thoughtful, interesting post. Loved reading the comments, too. Thank you.
Shiona said…
The comments were interesting to read. I also take issue with thw whole pee/poop/vomit/minivan thing. And where did these mothers come from that they did not know what they were going to deal with when deciding to have a kid. I agree that the more important things have to do with social and moral development.
Nina Moon said…
I'm going to be in the minority here and say that while I didn't enjoy the Oprah show (turned it off halfway through), I think saying that anybody who has it better off than anybody else shouldn't be expressing any sort of unhappiness is a little ridiculous and unfair.

I think the show was a bad set-up and that Oprah's show did not bring out the best in these bloggers, who all seemed to be trying to one-up each other on who had the worst poop/minivan story. Because nearly all of the women who called in are bloggers and they most definitely write about how motherhood is both wonderful and sometimes quite shitty (pun intended). Because they got to be a stay-at-home-mother or could afford to drive a minivan, they should shut up and suck up their lot in life? (As another commenter said, they dug their own grave, they should lie in it. Seriously? God forbid a mother should EVER open with her mouth and say anything negative about motherhood EVER. Because mothers! Need to be happy! Always!)

I agree that the show was kind of crap. And I'm with you on the Stepford-esque women on stage. I'm sure the women who called in on the show also don't think that pee/poop/minivan is all that motherhood is about. Their blogs would attest to that, I think. We all know motherhood is complicated. I get the criticism of the show, but I don't that should mean we should totally invalidate the experiences of these women.

The show came off as whiny, but to me, many of these women's blogs don't come off as whiny, but as trying to share the fact that motherhood is NOT all unicorns and rainbows shooting out of your ass.
Jen said…
I am SO with you on this. I just can't deal with those attitudes or those kinds of women.

Like you, I had to return way too early. I was the only one bringing in money while my son was really NOT doing well in day care. We tried different settings, etc., etc.

I'm not a baby/toddler person. I love older kids, but the littlest stage is not my favorite, but I would have given anything to be home full-time and eventually that's what we did. And I was lucky enough to have a husband bringing in just enough that I could do that eventually. And I am grateful for that every. single. day.

Grrr.... I can't believe she aired that garbage.

Great post. I've missed reading you during the hiatus.
ValeriesWorld said…
I'm glad I didn't see it. Women have been mothers for hundred and hundreds of years and there are many who are very happy being mothers. Well said Los Angelista.
carlita dee said…
One minute I was Googling the Gee's Bend quilts, and the next I'd landed here. (There were stops in between, of course.)

Your blog, overall, is just what I need right now, having moved from LA to Houston and thinking about moving back. (And being an Ohioan who spent youthful summers in Chicago, and being a mom, and loving all kinds of music and people, and...)

As if that's not enough immediacy, this post expresses precisely what's been on my mind regarding this episode of "Oprah."

I'm a fool for some Oprah, and the lack of diversity on the stage didn't really get to me, because I don't always expect to find it there. But the revelations about motherhood which revealed absolutely nothing left a bad taste in my mouth.

My son is grown, though I'm 42, but I can still use illumination on what it means to be a mother. A couple of women whining over mini-vans and kid poop would've been fine, but everybody? Not only was I bored, but insulted. I felt there were deeper issues that were glossed over. I grew so desperate that I looked to Dooce to come on and say something powerful, which, I, um, did not get.

I couldn't articulate what really needed to be said but wasn't. You did, especially with this:

"So, if you want to share a secret, tell me about how you're secretly afraid you don't know how to teach that because you're not sure what you believe anymore."

You're not sure what you believe anymore. That, now that is some powerful shit. Which is why it's so much easier to talk about overflowing boobs and wanting your husband to keep his hands off them.
BabyonBored said…
Why's everyone up in my sh*t over the minivan comment? I just clicked on her from my BlogHer sidebar and read through all of your comments only to find that half of them were going off on ME. I find it awesome (not in a good way) that so many people can make the judgment of me as a whiner from one thing I said (to be humorous) that was chosen out of an HOUR of footage to be edited into the show. Although I actually agree with some of your assessment of the show -such as the women chosen to be "featured" on the actual show being vapid-I take exception to your post in a lot of ways. Why is it so uncool to you for women to whine about motherhood? Would it be that interesting to people for everyone on that stage to say "Thank God I'm a mommy and have the opportunity to drive a minivan and change diapers all day"? I think I would turn that show off as well. Maybe it wasn't interesting to the producers that some of us are home struggling with issues such as premature twin babies who spend a month in the NICU. Did you know that I am also dealing with a baby who was born only two pounds and is still only sixteen pounds at sixteen months old? Did you know I talk a lot about my struggles with having a child with global developmental delays on my blog? Do you have any idea that the women on the show with all their "complaining and whining" about motherhood also bring each other closer? I never felt more isolated than when I first had a child. Yes, I had a husband (am I really in the minority on this one?) and yes I lived in a house and could afford (barely) to stay home for awhile but I was scared and lonely and depressed. According to you, I don't have a right to express those feelings along with the good. I'm sorry that maybe I'm taking this way too personally but just because I'm not exactly sharing your struggles whatever they may be doesn't mean mine are ridiculous. Just another voice. Another mom.
First let me say that I like Oprah cause now I'm getting ready to bash her! *LOL*

The thing that gets me about these child-rearing shows is that it's just theory to Oprah...she hasn't walked the walk...she just has an opinion so every passing trend that sounds "good" to her gets airtime.

Ummm, yeah okay but when you have to put some of that ish into actual practice it doesn't work that way! So whenever Oprah does one of those shows I try my hardest to avoid watching or hearing about it.

As for the whining about the kids, they do grow up, they do move out and you do get your life back. So as bad as it seems to those mothers now...give it a few years and they can go back to caring only about themselves legitimately!
jenB said…
While the show might not have been completely representative of very many kinds of mothers, one of my complaints as well. I think we would all do well to heed Stefanie's comment (who was on the show). Just read it and re-think.

thanks
KatieBug said…
I saw the show too. What a bunch of whiners! And dooce who pretty much hates all things that kids do. Puleeze woman why are you having another kid!

P.S. JenB is Dooce's friend (kind of ) of course she's pro the show.

They discussed this on Pooponpeeps too.
Rachel said…
Wow, I've never seen a smugger group of parents. I guess there's always a tendency to be defensive when someone dares to make the same choice you did and then not like it, or care more about other aspects than you care about, but everyone has the right to share their perspective on things.

It seems probable that the people who are going to have a really hard time dealing with pee/poop/vomit issues shouldn't become parents, and for that very reason it's GOOD to have the whining out there so that those people can make informed decisions. A wide variety of perspectives is almost always valuable, right?

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