The World According To Mom

March 31, 2009

A few months ago, my friend David asked me if I thought that it would be possible to travel around the world via blog. “Like Around The World In 80 Days,” he said, “but on the Internet. Around the world in 80 clicks. 80 mom-blogger clicks!” “I don’t know,” I said. “But it sure sounds like a cool thing to try.” “Cool. And if you could visit, virtually, moms around the world, what would you want to talk to them about?”

This was my answer (more on our “Around The World In 80 Clicks” project after the post, below):

Once, when Emilia was 8 or 9 months old and we were socializing at a local playground, another mother asked me this question: “don’t you just love being a mom?” She meant it rhetorically: of course I loved being a mom. How could anyone not love being a mom? Becoming a mom means entering a state of existence wherein you are always, at some level, deeply fulfilled. It means being adored by tiny creatures who delight at the sound of your voice. It means love, giggles and ice cream and rainbows. It also means crouching in damp sand at playgrounds and wiping snotty noses and shitty bums and worrying constantly about whether or not you remembered to restock the diaper bag and, also, refill your Ativan prescription.

“Sort of,” I replied. “Some of the time.”

My memory on this might be fuzzy, but I think that she physically recoiled.

Of course I love being a mother. But it’s complicated. I love being a mother to my children, but there’s a very great difference between loving being a mother to one’s own children and loving motherhood generally. I mean, I love being married to my husband, because I love him, but I can’t imagine marching around saying that I love being a wife. My attachment to my married state has everything to do with him, and pretty much nothing to do with the institution of marriage itself. Motherhood is a little different, obviously: some women really do love motherhood as a practice, as a craft, as a way of life. I don’t, not so much. I’m actually kind of bad at it. I struggle with the quotidien responsibilities of motherhood: I dislike cooking, I’m constantly running out of diapers, I’m terrible at managing schedules, and I regularly send my child to preschool in mismatched socks. I hate playgroups, and my house is a mess. What I am good at, as a mother: love, and good humor. I adore my children, and they delight me to no end. We have a lot of fun; we laugh a lot. Sure, the baby sometimes ends up with paper towels shoved down his pants in lieu of a diaper, but still: he’s happy. We’re all happy. And I’m happy with that. I love that.

So if someone were to ask me that question today – don’t you just love being a mom? – I’d answer in much the same way – sort of/some of the time/some of it – but I’d also, depending upon how nervy I was feeling that day, say this: why don’t I tell you, specifically, what I do love about being a mom? And then – if, that is, my inquisitor had not gathered up her children and fled my toxic presence – I would provide her with the following list:

1) I love that there are always cookies in the cupboard, and that I can claim plausible deniability if someone asks if the cookies are mine and whether I intend to eat them all myself.

2) I love that birthdays and holidays are major events involving ridiculous amounts of sugar and gift wrap.

3) I love that, for at least some months following the births of my children, I had really epic breasts. They’re gone now, but still. For a while I had the bustline of a stripper, and that – feminist correctness be damned – was kind of cool.

4) I love seeing the world through her eyes:


5) And his:


There are, of course, a thousand and some other reasons that I could give, reasons that range from the poetic (the way that it feels when tiny hands get tangled in my hair) to the profane (there’s always somebody on whom to blame the farts), but then this list would go on forever, and that would very probably undermine my claim to be ambivalent about the condition of motherhood.

In any case, the whole point of this exercise was this: to consider a standard entre-mamans question from my own perspective, and to invite other mothers – mothers from around the world – to do the same thing and share their answers. In part because I’m looking for some affirmation that I’m not the only mother in the world who ordinarily raises her eyebrows at such questions even as she secretly begins composing answers, but also to find out what it would be like – how the conversations would run, what we would say, whether we’d exclaim in agreement or goggle over our differences – if we hung out in the sort of fantasy playground or playgroup that included mothers from all over the world and asked each other that stuff and got to compare notes. And then maybe had a drink or something.

Which – thanks to the Internet – is possible! Maybe! Except for the drink part!

David and I – in partnership with Global Voices Online – are launching an experiment to see if we get a global conversation going between moms who blog. We want to see if it’s possible to travel the world and make friends, virtually, solely on the Vernian voyage power of the momosphere. We want to see if we can pull together a global playdate in 80 clicks.

Here’s how it’s going to work: this post that you’re reading? Is the departure lounge. I’m going to link to a couple of other mom bloggers here in Canada, and to a couple of mom bloggers from other countries around the world, and they’ll write their posts, sharing 5 things that they love (or maybe what they don’t so much love – this playground doesn’t force conformity) about being a mom, and then they’ll tag a few more bloggers from their own country and from other countries, and so on. And you’re more than welcome to join: just write a post of your own (5 things that you love about being a mom) and find someone to link to and tag – someone from your own country, if you like, but definitely someone from another country (Google is a good resource if you don’t know any; google any country name and ‘mom’ in their blog search function) (be sure to let them know that you’ve tagged them!) – and link back here and leave a comment and we’ll add you to the ‘itinerary,’ which David will compile and post and update as the tour proceeds.

Are you in? I hope you’re in. This is going to be fun. No passport necessary.

So, to get started, why not see a little more of Canada by visiting Redneck Mommy in Alberta, or Sherina from Chaos Theory in Quebec. Then, travel a little further and visit Chocoholic Madness, a soon-to-be mom in the United Arab Emirates, and Fine Little Day in Sweden, and Indian Mommies (there’s a tremendous blogroll of Indian moms here!) in India, and, also, Beth, who used to live in Burkina Faso but now lives in France.

(What are you waiting for? GO!)

(Oh, and? If you don’t plan to blog it – or even if you do, and just want to run some ideas through the mill here – what do you love about being a mom?)

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    { 221 comments }

    richmond April 3, 2009 at 2:44 am

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Ruth

    http://ramupgrade.info

    innout April 3, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Loved this blog! I took your challenge and encouraged others to as well! I hope you get good results! My own 80-click blog can be found at: knepsa.blogspot.com, titled, Expat in China.

    Redneck Mommy April 3, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Done. It wasn’t easy as it’s tough to be coherent when one is stoned on pain pills but I got it up. Sorry it took so long, love.

    Smooches,

    Karen MEG April 3, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Mine’s up …. and I love being a mom because it gives me such wonderful blog fodder… and the opportunity to hook up and communicate with so many fabulous women.

    http://gliks.blogspot.com/2009/04/visiting-motherhood-in-80-clicks.html

    Elizabeth King Humphrey April 3, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    My post is scheduled to go live on Monday…and, I agree…I certainly don’t think I would have nearly as much to blog about without the kids. But darn if technology would rank up there…I had to re-write the post after my blogging software ate the first post. Yikes.

    Great post–super inspiration. Thanks,

    Elizabeth
    http://blogs.coastalcarolinamoms.com/
    (and http://www.TheWriteElizabeth.com)

    Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo April 4, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Mine is up. And it only took me 3 hours to write considering I had all the ‘mummy’ things to do.

    http://magnetoboldtoo.com/2009/04/04/jules-verne-is-like-a-boys-name-right-betcha-his-mother-has-a-sense-of-humour-with-a-u/

    Mistress B April 4, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Motherhood to me is everything to do with my kids and not the institution. I enjoyed this, thanks. Looking forward to travelling around the world with ya’ll.

    Robin April 4, 2009 at 6:14 am

    This is such a fascinating idea you’ve come up with, I can’t wait to see where it goes.

    Here’s my leg of the journey:

    Around the World in 80 Clicks – A Motherhood Journey

    Foggy Views April 4, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Try http://thenocturnalwench.wordpress.com/

    he is in JHB South Africa. Great BLOG.

    Foggy Views April 4, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Sorry, cannot type. She is a she; not a he.

    anymommy April 4, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Okay, I’d just left a comment, but Robin tagged me, so I wrote a post!

    http://www.anymommyoutthere.com/2009/04/realizations.html

    Susan April 5, 2009 at 12:40 am

    Long time in the motherhood, a girl about to turn 23, a 20 year old, a 9 year old, and twins that didn’t make it but I carry in my heart. What do I love? 1) they gave me a world I didn’t know existed – that crazy wonderful awful blissful nuthouse world of baby and mother and exhaustion and amazing dance of wonder.
    2) I know I became a far better person than I would have by going through all the joys and trials.
    3) I love that they all have my sense of humor and we can make each other howl with laughter like nobody’s business.
    4) I love how the ways they are different from me and my husband and we get to see the world through fresh eyes.
    5) I love that they exist. They make everything worth it.

    Susie April 5, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Thanks for putting into words my own elusive feelings. Great idea!

    adjustmentdisorder April 5, 2009 at 8:57 am

    YAY! I love your posting, and I love your idea. I’m definitely going to find some bloggers to link to. Here’s a post I wrote awhile ago – I think it’s relevant: http://adjustmentdisorder.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/the-question/

    Andrea (ace1028) April 5, 2009 at 10:47 am

    This is a GREAT idea. I’m going to post something and will come back when I do. I haven’t made my personal blog public yet, but plan to in the next few days (I’m pretty new to this blogging thing!) and I would love to participate!

    IIDLYYCKMA April 5, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    This is a fabulous idea! I love this! I am linking all over the place:) And if you don’t mind I’d like to add you to my blog roll!

    Daffodil Campbell April 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    I got tagged ! My first-ever tag, I think.

    I answered before I read all of the other answers, and mine are kind of from the hip. Short, sweet, maybe a swear word in there too….BUT I’m in Hawaii, so I can totally help with that “round the world” thing !
    http://daffodilcampbell.blogspot.com/2009/04/that-mushy-gushy-post-i-promised-you.html

    Beth April 5, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    I posted! And I tagged Tiff at http://www.mythreeringcircus.com. She’s in Australia.

    IIDLYYCKMA April 5, 2009 at 10:51 pm
    J at www.jellyjules.com April 6, 2009 at 12:50 am

    I’m in. Here’s mine. I’m from the SF Bay Area, so not very international to those who live in North America. But I really liked this idea. :)

    http://jellyjules.com/?p=1868

    Mimi April 6, 2009 at 4:43 am

    FWIW I used to give (of course) pretty much the same answer and get pretty much the same reaction.

    Hm. I’m giving this a think …

    Miss Boule April 6, 2009 at 4:59 am

    oh how fun… i going to follow the post from here Belgium. See you!

    T. April 6, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Such a great idea. I’m in.

    Why Do I Keep Them? Because I LIKE Junky Cereal

    T.

    witchypoo April 6, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Already posted. Great idea.

    SOLOMONSYDELLE April 6, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Hey Catherins! Great idea, once again and my meme is now posted at IT WAS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN I ONLY HAD ONE…

    sheila April 6, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Found you through SandierPastures and although I wasn’t tagged, thought I’d jump in anyhow. lol. This is a really great idea. My post is up.

    Also, I know you closed comments on your ‘lost’ post, but that was a great post. I have a long lost 1/2 sister from my biological fathers 2nd (or 3rd?) marriage that I am contemplating contacting. I just loved that lost post.

    Too Many Hats April 6, 2009 at 12:41 pm
    oreneta April 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Burkina Beth tagged me, and the post is up… http://orenetaaground.blogspot.com/2009/04/enough-about-painting-already-no.html

    Great idea

    Carissa(GoodnCrazy) April 6, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I’ve got great bloggy friends in High places (read around the globe) I’m in.. sort of/kind of oh I’ll get it!!

    momblogger April 6, 2009 at 11:23 pm
    Sydney April 7, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Got anyone in Lithuania yet? I’ll have to gather some photos.

    Her Bad Mother April 7, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Sidney – Lithuania would be great!

    Loukia April 7, 2009 at 9:47 am

    I love this post, it’s one of my favourites I’ve read in a long time! I will also participate on my blog. :) Thank you!

    I am searching for a mom blog from Greece but am having no luck currently….

    A Modern Mother April 7, 2009 at 11:52 am

    A contribution from the UK http://tinyurl.com/d66qqs

    Brit in Bosnia April 7, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    And another contribution from Bosnia for you. Very interested to see where this goes in the end!

    http://britsinbosnia.blogspot.com/2009/04/lists-and-love-of-mother.html

    Nan April 7, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Yay! I’m playing too! And I just HAVE to come back and visit all of these other peeps. No sleep tonight, I fear…

    B o o. April 7, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for tagging me, HBM. I am a long time lurker! :)

    Heres my post – http://boosbabytalk.blogspot.com/2009/04/around-world-in-80-clicks-sounds-cool.html

    Nan April 7, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I have posted, but not seeing a link in your list yet. I am blonde, you may need to explain things to me slowly… I’ve linked to mommies from Estonia, Trinidad, England , California and Morocco!

    Her Bad Mother April 7, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Nan – that’s awesome! If you don’t see your link, could you cut and paste it into a comment here, and then we can add it manually? Thanks!

    Mummy April 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    One from China to add to your list (thanks to Fraught Mummy in Bosnia for showing me all these amazing Mummy links).

    http://www.bloominmavelous.blogspot.com/

    Grace @ Sandier Pastures April 8, 2009 at 2:21 am
    Mrs. Wilson April 8, 2009 at 4:38 am

    Posted!

    http://heymrswilson.net/five-things-i-love-about-being-a-mom

    Thanks for starting this! I’m LOVING all the posts :)

    Um Naief April 8, 2009 at 6:58 am

    what a fantastic idea… altho, today has been filled with anxiety, so i’ll try to do this later this evening or tomorrow.

    it’s nice to read about what other mothers are going through… you don’t feel so alone.

    Connie April 8, 2009 at 7:09 am

    I am an American mom, living (for now) in Egypt, who was tagged by Expat Mom in Guatemala. Very nice meme! Keep those kids laughing – that is so important :)

    Here is my post: http://whaleears.blogspot.com/2009/04/around-world-in-80-clicks.html

    Irene April 8, 2009 at 9:58 am
    nicole April 8, 2009 at 11:32 am
    Reveda April 8, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Hi….is it just for mommy bloggers or for daddy bloggers too….I blog for my 5 month old and can have my wife write those 5 things….

    Let me know your views please.

    Her Bad Mother April 8, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Reveda – we’d be honored to have a dad join in!

    Marcy April 8, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    I couldn’t help it, I jumped in, too. =) Here’s my post:
    http://mightymarce.blogspot.com/2009/04/world-according-to-mom.html

    Itchingtowrite April 9, 2009 at 12:30 am

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