This is a guest post from Julie Cole, co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., and a proud mother expecting her sixth baby! Enjoy!
The picture you see below is of my 92-year-old grandma, with two of her countless great-grandchildren. She looks a pleasant woman, and indeed she is – but truth be known, she is a woman of great power and everyone should be a little bit afraid of her. For me, I’m most afraid when I am about to share pregnancy news with her.
It seems an odd fear considering grandma gave birth nine times and her mother went through the ordeal a shocking twenty-one times (yes, twenty-one). So why in such a prolific family would I have this fear? Quite simply it is because grandma is a strange combination of a traditional Irish Catholic granny mixed with an intellectual feminist. Picture Gloria Steinem playing the part of Ma on Little House on the Prairie.
While she outwardly greets my pregnancy news with joy, her eyes cry out “WHY would you have another baby in a time when women have CHOICE?”
Fair question, considering how things were for that generation of women. My grandpa worked several jobs as grandma ran a household, rendering her virtually housebound. Women at that time were so bogged down with the daily task of running a household there was barely time to even enjoy their children. Those were the days when a woman’s status was defined by how early in the morning she had the cloth diapers hanging on the line to dry.
As much as we all love our children, motherhood can be an isolating and mind-numbing task at times. It is no wonder grandma sometimes shakes her head and questions why a woman of my age and in these times would have six children.
One difference in our generation of mamas has become abundantly clear: we have access to the Internet, and the Internet provides us with community. Even on those days when we can’t escape the four walls of our homes and those walls are seemingly closing in on us, we can hop on our computers and find a community of support. For those few moments, we have a break from the loud monotony of raising our children.
Mamas now blog and read blogs. We connect on Facebook. If at 3:00am I am wondering why my toddler has green poops, I will post it on a mama message board. By 4:00am I will likely have several responses, including some that simply reach out to say they hear my concerns. During the loneliest hours of motherhood, your virtual saviour is a click away. Our grandmothers did not have those faceless saviours.
Sure, husbands like to mock our Facebook, e-mail, message board and blog addictions, but during these uncivilized years of raising kids we have to do whatever we can to remain sane. So log on and find the community who is waiting to greet you, embrace you and most of all be there to support you no matter what time of day or night.