The numbers don’t lie? If that’s true, about half of the roughly 85 million moms in the US are unhappy. That’s what surveys say, anyway. And I’d say that’s pretty scary to contemplate – that’s A LOT of moms and a lot of unhappiness. What gives?! I’m not going to point fingers by I do wonder, could we be sabotaging ourselves?
American mom culture is, after all, not so hot on taking care of yourself or loving yourself or seeing to your own needs. (That sort of thing is viewed as awfully selfish.) It’s very competitive, too, and if you’re not exhausted you are clearly doing something wrong.
But culture isn’t the only contributor! If your resolution as a mom is to be more unhappy this year, here are sixteen things you should start doing as soon as possible.
Skip sleep. A lot of sleep. It’s not hard when you have babies or young children or teenagers who are keeping you awake with worry. But go the extra mile. Stay up extra late doing all the chores your family won’t appreciate or catching up on TV. Wake up before the sun to complete your kid’s science project, which was due yesterday but assigned a month ago. When you have a family you are never without opportunities to sacrifice sleep.
Assume it’s you. As in, it’s not you it’s me. Analyze each of your children’s behavioral failings to figure out just how your defective parenting must have contributed to them. When someone suggests it might just be a phase, brush it off because your little ones don’t do phases. It’s all cause and effect all the time and you must be the cause.
Want it all. You know how some people say that you can have it all, just not all at once? Do everything you can to prove that you’re the mom who is capable of rearing perfect kids, excelling in a high powered career, being a sexpot in the bedroom, and baking cookies for the PTA. This is the year you’ll be thinner, busier, more beautiful, better compensated, and loved more deeply by others as a result.
Buy the book. Or make that like twenty books, all with the perfect solution to your parenting problems. Sleep training. Help for the picky eater. Raising sensitive boys. Raising confident girls. Achieving balance. Can you build a better family with nothing more than the right book? You say yes, and this is the year you’re going to find it.
Shame yourself. As hard as you can, as often as you can. It builds character. It’ll make you a better mom because you’ll be inspired to improve yourself.
Shame other moms. Nothing makes you feel better than tearing someone else down, right? Find ways to rag on other mothers’ parenting styles, feeding choices, clothes, careers or lack thereof, rules, and especially their kids. Your little hellions will seem like angels when you stand them next to the kids down the street.
Play the comparison game. When you can’t find a way to tear that mom down, build her up. She’s probably smarter than you. Probably has it all figured out. Her kids probably never have tantrums in the middle of the mall or wipe boogers on the kitchen counter. She probably has more money than you, too.
Never recharge. Experience has shown us that moms can run on empty indefinitely. Reasonable self-indulgence is for dads and for childless people. Total self-sacrifice is proof of your devotion to your family. They may never thank you for it but there’s a chance they secretly appreciate it.
Find contentment in cleanliness. Let things go, and yours might just be the only house on the block that doesn’t look like a catalog photo shoot. Do you want to take the risk? Really throw your back into cleaning up after your kids and your spouse. Should some local mom unexpectedly drop by on an off day be sure to apologize excessively for the sorry state of your home.
Be busy. As busy as possible all the time. If you have free time, that’s time that you ought to be using to care for others. Avoid that possibility by saying yes to everything. When someone asks how you are, be sure to tell them how busy you are – in great detail. That way they know you’re winning at this modern motherhood thing.
Forget about the present. Live for the future! After all, won’t you be happier tomorrow? Won’t you be more successful in five years? Won’t life be more fun once all your kids can walk? Won’t you be more comfortable once you can afford a bigger house? And don’t forget to devote at least some time each week to worrying about bad things that might happen!
Never ask for help. Do you even need it? Asking for help is a sign of weakness, and you don’t want people around you thinking you’re weak. Never asking for help shows the world that you have it all under control.
Be independent. You’re a modern mom; you don’t need anyone or anything. You can be your own best friend. Your own therapist. Your own mother. Go out of your way to avoid creating community by connecting with local moms. Bury your nose in your phone at the playground. Don’t chat with your kids’ classmates. Be aloof.
Embrace guilt. This will help you say yes to all those commitments you somehow avoided in 2014. It’ll be easier to put your own needs aside to handle the care and feeding of your family. Make sure to remind yourself that you’re never really doing as much as you could. And spend some time every day thinking about all the things you’ve never been able to do.
Keep chasing perfection. Browsing Pinterest is a great way to keep tabs on all the recipes you’re not making and all the stuff you don’t have. Why is it so important to keep on pinning? Spending plenty of time analyzing the life you should be living will help you recognize it if you ever manage to achieve it.
Be a martyr. Sacrifice yourself at every possible opportunity. Bury your own needs good and deep until you manage to forget that you were ever anything other than mom or mama or mommy.
Because if you remember that and you take care of yourself, too, and you remember that now is pretty darn good you’re going to have a hard time keeping your resolution.