Society has abandoned our mothers and, by proxy, our children. If you don’t believe me, consider that hatred towards young mothers is so strong that some people will even feign disgust at something we can all universally agree is great: heaven’s pillows, boobies.
Now, I’ve birthed two children and I’ve married one, and I’ve also been to enough of Those Clubs to observe a significant sample size, and I know the buy-in is 100%. Everyone. Loves. Boobies. I don’t care about your sexual proclivities or aspirations, it’s just a universal truth that pillows, light fixtures, The Grand Tetons and about 45% of our world as we know it is inspired by boobies. And yet some people hate new mothers so much that they pretend to be irritated at glimpsing a shadow of a square inch of everyone’s favorite body part, even in the name of feeding a hungry child.
Some women say, “I think she’s showing off.” Bullshit. You can’t even tell what someone’s boob really looks like when they’re nursing. Gravity isn’t even at play here. Even if you had the greatest cans in the world, they all just look like Baby Food when they’re stuffed in a baby’s mouth.
I know, nursing ain’t always pretty. I recently had a mortifying nursing-in-public situation. Imagine, if you will: combine a toddler tantrum with public nudity while also running into a male acquaintance I haven’t seen in a while. Think chubby helicoptering arms, failure to latch, less like nourishing a baby and more like arguing with my pimp. The male acquaintance is a Woke Dude, so I’m sure he was fine, but it was so embarrassing for me that I couldn’t stop talking to him. For me to say “Excuse me for a minute” while I adjusted my things would have admitted defeat that this truly was an embarrassing thing. So I just kept small talking while my toddler treated me like a punching bag, making unflinching eye contact with Woke Dude.
We are getting really off course here. Oh. There’s the path. Back on track.
Another way we’re leaving our young mothers behind is culturally. Culture is the first thing to leave when the going gets tough.
When I became a mother, I became unable to watch movies without doing something else, like folding laundry. I even found it hard to pay attention to what was happening in the plot. My heart, my insides, my most precious thing in the universe is rolling around in the world unprotected and you just expect me to relax and buy into some fantasy plot line? I have important jobs to do! There’s no time for imagination. It’s almost a form of PTSD.
My husband kept up his audiophile tendencies through new parenthood, and I admit that it used to piss me off. I wondered how he found the time and mental space to research and dig new music. He put concerts on our calendar that I knew we’d never make it to, and he had the luxury of making Spotify playlists at home when the baby was crying for me. That’s certainly not to say he didn’t pull his weight, because he is also a Woke Dude and 50-50 parent.
But throughout new parenthood, my husband often played me music videos. While it was hard to appreciate when the kids were teeny weeny, now I appreciate the gift. It’s why, as a new mom, I’m still into Thundercat and Angel Olsen and Jenny Hval and FKA Twigs. He keeps me in music. I’m glad I can still talk about music to someone who asks, and I’m glad to pass that onto my children, whose favorite bands are Sia and Tegan & Sarah.
I never used to think about movies much. But I’m reminded of a teacher of mine who lived in Tokyo for years: after living in a concrete-and-neon world for years, seeing a single organic bird flying by took his breath away. That’s how seeing a movie in a theater felt after having children. Parenting small children drags you into the mundane reality of life with no escape: eat, shit, sleep, eat, shit, sleep. There is not even much time for mental flights of fancy. To escape into another world is so powerful, and so necessary. I crave it like I crave sleep or exercise.
I want to create a culture social club for new moms. We will be grouped with a nerdy audiophile like my husband, who can update us on the latest music coming out. Once every few months, book club. The next week someone can tell us about all the new movies that are coming out, and maybe we can even watch one. We will all sit there holding hands, to keep ourselves from folding laundry. And to feel like creepy sister wives.
Imagine a future where your mom is the source for the hottest new music. It could happen!