We are proud to introduce a new feminist-slanted guest spot on Daisy and Zelda! Krissi is gonna start the ball rolling (and we hope she’ll be featuring regularly).
We gave her the honour of naming this spot … so without further ado, I present to you the very first edition of From my Lips. Interpret that as you will, ladies! (it has a certain appropriateness in abbreviated form, too. Here’s to many more instances of FML!)
‘OF COURSE SHE’S BLOODY WORTH IT’
Why I love to complain.
Being a mum is hard. I imagine that everyone reading this blog probably already knows this. It’s also awesome. But I’ve got to admit, in the early days, despite the awesome, mostly what I wanted to talk to people about was the HARD.
I’ve always been a “sharer”; I don’t like having secrets of my own and I love talking about emotions so I will tell an almost complete stranger about my hilariously embarrassing early sexual exploits or my teenage crush or my period pain at the drop of a hat. In fact, if I’m feeling that strange lingering sensation of guilt or embarrassment or shame in the back of my mind, I spend hours and hours trying to put my finger on what has made me feel that yucky feeling so I can quickly go and tell someone – and immediately feel much better.
What is it they say; a problem shared is a problem halved? Well, that’s why I’m a sharer I guess. I only want half of the problems.
When I had my first baby, 10 long and glorious months ago, I was prepared for the extreme and overwhelming love and amazement I would feel for her – unlike many new parents, I wasn’t surprised at all by how much I would love her. I knew I would love her that much. I knew she would become my whole world. I was stoked. I also knew it would be super hard, but I didn’t quite realise the extent to which the sleepless nights and extreme sleep deprivation would affect me. My baby was one of those babies who would wake up every 40 mins or so, all night long.
These days it’s a wee bit better, she sometimes even goes 2 hours without needing me, but “sleeping through” is still a far and distant dreamland for me. I’m okay with it though, babies aren’t designed to “sleep through”. Evolution has made it so. I’m happy to keep meeting her needs and I still seem to always muster up enough energy to be fully present with her in the daytimes and enjoy my playtime with her (and not be a super-grouch).
So, how do I do it, you ask? Well, I’m a big fan of complaining. When things are hard, I don’t take them out on my baby. Instead I find another grown-up (or Internet forum hehehe) and complain, complain, COMPLAIN. I complain to my husband. I complain to my parents. I complain to my friends. I complain to the guy at the coffee shop. I complain on the internet.
You’re probably thinking – jeez, what a whiner! But I reckon there’s a big difference between productive and unproductive complaining. In fact, I’m a ridiculously optimistic and happy-go-lucky person most of the time. I generally look for the silver lining, and when things are getting dire (especially when I’m having a tough day with my baby) my first response is often to laugh at the
But I really believe that complaining can be a positive thing. The key is to live in the moment. Really enjoy your complaining. Get something out of it! If you need to cry, cry your sleep-deprived eyes out! Sob to your mother down the phone “It’s not fair! Other babies sleep! All I want is one hour of unbroken sleep!” When your partner asks how your day was, tell them: “It was TERRIBLE. I burnt the cookies, it rained on my laundry, the baby fell over and bumped her head, AND I have a snotty nose and a sore throat. Can you please order a pizza?”
Cupid Complaing to Venus by Lucas Cranach the Elder, c. 1525
When I’ve offloaded and had a good complaining session I feel a zillion times better (or at least somewhat more human). It’s so much more effective than not complaining and instead letting all those little ‘poor-me’ feelings build up until they start coming out in uncontrolled and sneaky ways. I think this is when people are the most likely to start doing the yucky things: guilt tripping, moping about, snapping and possibly even getting physically ill. Carl Jung talked about shining the light on your shadows to bring about enlightenment. See? You too can complain your way to nirvana (well, maybe not, but you get the picture).
The feminist in me is also a fan of complaining. Too often, I think women are expected to love every second of motherhood as if maternal goodwill seeps out of our very pores. Who needs time to themselves? Who needs sleep? Who needs personal space? Not mothers – they were BORN TO DO THIS SHIT.
I like complaining, because I think it reminds people that being a stay at home mum (or a work at home mum, or a working mum, or any ol’ kind of mum) is a REALLY HARD JOB. I once worked the equivalent of 3 fulltime academic jobs at once and I swear, being a new mum is much harder work. At least when I worked 3 fulltime jobs I got to sleep 5 hours or more in a row…
Lolcatz: not known for their sympathy to the plight of the new mummy
A couple of well-meaning relatives have said to me, “Your husband must be so tired when he comes home after working all day long.” This just stokes the fire of complaining in my belly: “Yeah, I guess he’s probably tired, but I’m MORE tired, and I work LONGER HOURS. So when he gets home, I fully expect him to get to work.” Luckily for me, my husband is Super-amazing-incredi-father! He is fully aware of how hard my job is and he always misses his baby girl while at work, so he’s pretty damn keen to do some childcare from the moment he walks in the door.
Larry David, patron saint of complainers
He has made a few rookie mistakes though (haven’t we all?), one being my all-time least favourite thing to be told when I’m complaining about motherhood: “But she’s worth it eh?” OF COURSE SHE’S BLOODY WORTH IT! When I said I was tired, I wasn’t trying to imply that I regretted having her. I’m just really freaking tired. I want to be able to complain without having my love for my daughter questioned thankyou. He now knows that what I want to hear is something more along the lines of: “Poor you. That sucks for you. Shall I look after the baby and make a cup of tea?”
Yes please. Tea would be nice.