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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    Monica April 9, 2009 at 2:50 am

    I got tagged today by a friend, so I played along too. My post is at:

    Thanks for putting this out there!

    Mamati @ Daily dose of me April 9, 2009 at 5:33 am

    I joined in all the way from the Middle East, Oman.

    What a great idea this is and i loved being part of it.

    You can read my post here

    Jaye @ April 9, 2009 at 8:46 am

    I love this idea, my post is up :)

    Donna April 9, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Mothergoosemouse and Connie tagged me. I’m in from Beijing, China, at

    Vania B. April 9, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Nice idea. A friend of mine told me about this meme and helped me with the translation spanish-english (thank you again Eduardo).

    You can find my post from BOLIVIA at:

    Loukia April 9, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Hey! I just wrote a post called “5 reasons I love being a mom” on my blog and I tagged a few other moms, as well, and of course, linked back to you. Thank you, this was fun. Your blog is just very enjoyable!

    Johnna April 9, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I just posted to join the experiment. I LOVE it. Kudos to you and David for doing it. I linked to a mom in South Africa who, from what I could tell, hadn’t yet been linked to you yet. And I’m now inspired to blog more and more. Finding the time is not an option – I will MAKE time to do so. Thanks for the opportunity to share.

    Johnna April 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Forgot to add my blog address:

    Mr Lady April 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    It took me a minute, but Western Canada is checking in. :)

    Kate @ Life As I Live It April 9, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I’ve chimed in with my five cents! :)

    Mandira April 10, 2009 at 2:50 am

    I love the idea…I think I might have to jump in as well.

    planetnomad April 10, 2009 at 5:19 am

    I got tagged twice, once from Israel and once from Trinidad. I just posted my response. I’m an American mom raising kids in North Africa–currently Morocco.

    witchypoo April 10, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Representing the East Coast of Canada

    PunditMom April 10, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    I’m not really late to the party, just biding my time! ;)

    Rebecca April 10, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Great idea – I happily participated. You can read my post here:


    Um Naief April 11, 2009 at 7:29 am

    I’ve done my list… :)

    This was nice… especially for a mom that has more bad days than good as of late…

    made me sit back and really think about all the reasons I love being a mom and, even more, all the reasons I truly love my son!


    Toni April 11, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I’m joining in from Washington state and tagged friends in Australia, Canada and England. This was fun!

    Susie April 11, 2009 at 10:48 am

    great idea – I’m joining in from Ohio and tagged someone in Hungary

    Hyphen Mama April 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Mine is up!

    I loved your post and I can’t wait for a few quiet minutes to follow some of these links and read around the world!

    I’m at:

    MKM April 13, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Hi there! My post has been added. From Korea, I am

    Great idea! Thanks~

    They Call Me Mom April 13, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    And contributing from The Other Dakota, They Call Me Mom.…count-the-ways/

    Irish Mammy April 14, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Hi there

    Here is your first contribution from Ireland!! Great initiative, all the best with it,

    Irish Mammy

    artyfeminist April 14, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Hi just posted my observations

    I am an American living in Ireland.

    Good luck with this it is a great idea.

    shootthehelp April 14, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    again with the backwards doing of the things! I post and tag & link, and THEN drop a note to the other bloggers letting the know that I'm tagging them and might they be interested. Dear lord, I have GOT to get out of the midwest SOON. The prolonged exposure seems to be affecting my brain processes… oof-duh. Yeah, you betcha'.

    Mental flogging for me and sincere apologies from me, to Catherine, David, and my tag-ees.

    frogpondsrock April 14, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Hi I am Australian and I live on a small island underneath Australia. I have just done your meme..

    cheers Kim

    Aneela Z April 14, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    was tagged by Mad Momma in Delhi to do this…my post is at:

    shootthehelp April 15, 2009 at 12:15 am

    (So confusing when they don’t put up the nicknames!)
    They Call Me Mom, but apparently Blogger wants to call me shootthehelp

    Catherine — how can I add my link to those at the bottom of the page? I think I’m having one of those weeks where my brain is about two days behind everything else. Man I hate those weeks!

    I so love this explosion of mom-ness and hate being such an idiot when it comes to running my own blog. God forbid I ever try to use Twitter…

    Thanks Catherine.

    VJ April 15, 2009 at 12:32 am
    the mad momma April 15, 2009 at 4:10 am
    dipali April 15, 2009 at 8:43 am

    From Kolkata, India, mother of four grown up kids who are rarely seen at home now.

    Kami's Khlopchyk April 15, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Great idea Catherine, I finally got mine up!

    Better late than never I hope:)

    Kami April 15, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    My post is up at

    I live in the boring ol’ US, but I loved playing along. I can’t wait to read some of the other great posts! Thanks for the idea :)

    sara April 15, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Happy hello from Sweden,my post is up.!

    Psyche April 15, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    I’m in the U.S., and I’d love to be on the itinerary. I’m putting up my post right now, and will add contacts as I get them.

    RML April 16, 2009 at 5:02 am

    I blogged today after being tagged by a fellow mother in Norway :)

    Lovely idea!

    red pen mama April 16, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Finally got around to doing this:

    Thanks for the opportunity.
    You’re brilliant, as always.


    red pen mama April 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    PS Linked to two other Burgh moms, and three international moms: New Zealand, Cebu, Russia.

    I can’t seem to add my link to you at the bottom. I don’t have a google account.

    thanks again,

    Heidi April 16, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I’m as behind as can be but was tagged on this – have tagged others and posted over at

    SUR NOTES April 17, 2009 at 2:43 am

    Enjoyed doing this tag.

    From Bombay/Mumbai, India.

    Sue April 17, 2009 at 3:20 am

    Hullo. Delurking to let you know I did the tag too, via Boo ( My post is at

    Great idea, HBM!

    Maryanne Stroud Gabbani April 17, 2009 at 4:11 am

    What a great idea. I’ve posted at

    Mimi April 17, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Hii,An Indian Mom in Melbourne,Australia.I got tagged by Dipali in Kolkotta and Aneela in Melbourne- Tagged someone in Hongkong,two in USA,someone in India and someone else in Australia.
    This is a great idea.

    Mimi April 17, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Forgot to add here’s my post-

    alexisyael April 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm
    Gauri April 17, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Hey HBM

    Just wanted to say thanks for getting this tag started. It is a great idea. Was tagged by three people on this one and I really enjoyed doing this tag. It helped in more ways than one :)

    Mine’s at

    Munchkin April 17, 2009 at 11:28 pm


    Sundar Narayanan April 18, 2009 at 3:31 am
    heli April 18, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    here’s my version, in finnish and in english:

    Baino April 19, 2009 at 9:07 am

    You’ve reached the Antipodes, the arse end of the world, the land down under . . via Ireland . . go figure!

    American in Norway April 19, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Checking in from Norway… I tagged moms in Denmark, Germany, Jordan, Florida & Australia

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