Monday, February 8, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Life, motherhood & challenges

I've been trying to think what, if anything, I wanted to write about the "Motherhood Challenge" that's been popping up on my Facebook feed lately -- particularly when others have already said it so much better.  (Just Google "motherhood challenge" to get a broad array of opinion pieces on the matter.)  My own favourite response was from a childfree woman who posted photos of herself, snuggled under the covers, cradling a bottle of wine. ;)

Beyond the usual glorification of motherhood as the be-all-and-end-all of existence (conveniently ignoring the growing segment of the female population who are not and will not ever be mothers, some by choice, others by chance and circumstance), I think part of my issue with the "motherhood challenge" is with the word "challenge." Yes, I know, you are "challenging" the friends you tag to post photos that demonstrate why you love to be a mom (question: what if you have kids but none of your friends tag you to participate?? Is that a judgment on your mothering skills, or the quality of your so-called friendship, or...???).  But lumping it together with the word "motherhood" puts the focus on the messages we've had drummed into our heads (or at least MY head, and maybe it's my own insecurities talking here...):  that motherhood is a challenge, THE most important challenge that trumps everything else -- i.e., that other challenges (especially when you don't have kids) are somehow lesser-than, less important.

OK, we get it. It's a challenge. It's hard work. VERY.  But that's not to say that non-moms don't face their own challenges -- and those of us who tried to become moms but didn't certainly know all about challenges. 

We all face challenges in life sometimes, whether or not you're a parent. In the end, it's how we deal with them, and how we treat each other in the process, that matters.  

Those of you who don't have kids: what five photos would you post to show what you love about childless/free living?  (You don't have to actually post them anywhere, but tell us about them!) :)

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.  


  1. My five photos would include ones of:

    * Me & dh (because I love getting to spend more time with my husband).
    * Me & dh with our nephews (because being an aunt & uncle rocks).
    * Me & dh with the Little Princesses (because spoiling your friends' kids -- & then handing them back to their parents -- rocks too, lol).
    * Me with my parents &/or dh with his dad (because getting to spend more time helping your parents is a precious thing that is definitely a challenge but that you also appreciate more as time starts going by faster...).
    * Me & dh on vacation or one of our local outings. Free time & more disposable income also rock. ;)
    * A stack of books (alongside a cup of tea) -- because I have more time to read & do other things I like. :)

  2. Love this one:

  3. Well that's a little standoffish, isn't it? Why would qualifying one thing as a challenge, devalue another (perhaps equally or more challenging) thing?

    1. It shouldn't. But sometimes I have been made to feel this way by parents. How dare I complain or vent that I'm feeling stressed or busy or tired -- how could I be, I don't have kids, right?? :(

  4. Ohhh, fun! My pictures would be:

    1) Me and hubs on our wedding day. Because this day was one of the most memorable of my life.

    2) Me and hubs with our dog, or maybe just some pictures of our dog.

    3) Me with my parents and sisters. Even though we're a special bunch and have our issues, I'm still incredibly thankful that they are all in my life.

    4) Our stack of board games. Hubs and I love to try out new board games, either with just the two of us or with friends.

    5) Me and hubs at various sporting events. We both love sports and we live in a great sports city so we try to attend a couple of events every year.

    6) Me with my nieces and nephews.

    I couldn't stop at just five. :)

  5. Hmmm, my photos would be:
    - the bookcase... hubby has two shelves and I have the other ten! And that I have the time to read, and the money to spend on books.

    - The hubby and I on the camel ride along the beach during last year’s northern Australian holiday; or my earlier trips to The Great Wall, or the Pyramids or the Acropolis – bit of an ancient history theme going on there!

    - coffee catch-ups with the girlfriends. We’ve been together since high school. I use these times to connect with their familial lives and they use it to escape from them for a few hours.

    - 10 little sleeping bags all in a row – well not really – the nieces/nephews crammed in wherever they can fit in the family room (after all the furniture, except the bookcase, has been removed) for the all-night movie marathons. Giving them great memories that they still talk about years later.

    - the view from our front windows – the mountains (by Aussie standards anyway) in the distance (albeit interrupted by a few suburban rooftops and TV aerials). They still have such a calming effect on me when I look at them. A few kids in the picture would have meant this house not being in the budget when it was time to move.

  6. I treat those sorts of things like a fart. Politely ignoring that the person tagged me. The only challenges I accept are ones I give myself :-)

  7. I hate things like this where they exclude others in an effort to promote good feelings for a specific group. Does this also mean mothers are more important than fathers? Uncles and aunts? Also, who gets to claim the title "mother"?

    Instead of listing my 5 photos, I want to share two moments that I thought were priceless. One was from my landlady Martha who made a Valentine's Day tree and invited the children in her life to add decorations. The second was the Beats helping Martha's friend Burt shovel snow following the recent snowstorms. Neither of these moments would fit into this challenge, but they are still so special to those involved.

  8. It's funny because I found a lot of articles on the responses to the challenge, but I haven't been exposed to anyone who's done the challenge, even though my friends' list in FB is varied and full of mothers.

  9. Yes to everything you've written! I'm not on facebook (for reasons not unrelated to stuff like this), so I was mercifully spared inclusion/exclusion from the motherhood challenge. But I really liked what I read in this Guardian article

    Especially this: "Firstly, because it doesn’t take a gargantuan leap of empathy to understand that there are many women who wanted children but for various reasons didn’t have them. There are many who have lost children.", because it vindicates my anger at people who don't even try - the author is right - it's really not that hard! The whole piece is worth a read. But a word to the wise: skip the comments for your own sanity.