Is the True Mom Confessions trend already over the top?
Wow, after last week's Oprah about "The Secret Lives of Moms," it seems like everywhere I turn there is a new development in Bad-Mommy-lit or True Mom Confessions.
I'll confess, The Wall Street Journal article, "Bad Parents and Proud of It: Moms and a Dad Confess" gave me the creeps:
When her two young sons first started walking, Lisa Moricoli-Latham, a mother in Pacific Palisades, Calif., would gently push them over. For the sake of their development, she thought it would be better for them to crawl first. A physical therapist had told her so. She kind of enjoyed it, she says. "It gave me this sort of nasty thrill..."
Okay, they lost me at "nasty thrill." A ton of books seem to be coming out in this genre, including Heather Armstrong's It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Margarita, Ayelet Waldman's Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace and a compilation of True Mom Confessions.
It raises questions about what it means to be honest about motherhood. Do we want to or need to share all of our dirty laundry and bad feelings? Are there some things better said to a therapist than to the world wide web? If I were ten years younger and had grown up on with the internet, would this all make sense to me?
I haven't gotten into these websites or read these specific books. Maybe someone who has can explain their allure.
While it would be cooler to align myself with this trend, I've never gravitated toward this style of writing, ever since Perfect Madness came out. I thought I'd really like that book, but it left me feeling frustrated. I believe that continuously rehashing the difficult parts of motherhood can keep us almost as stuck as ignoring them.
I read a comment yesterday, and I apologize because I can't remember where, that expressed the concern that some of this confessional approach ends up infantilizing Moms, like the woman on Oprah who told the story about peeing into a diaper when she didn't want to wake her sleeping kids on a cross-country road trip. Those zany Moms, no wonder we never get anything else done!
I've also heard from a number of mothers of older kids, say age 9 and up, who validate my personal experience that even though parenting is still intense, when the kids get older it's easier to "mother while multitasking," developing creative, career, and family aspects in one's life.
As for my writing, I get as real as I need to in Mojo Mom. My best venting is done through tennis and improv comedy rather than Bad Mom lit.