Whinge binge: 8 reasons why I defend my right, as a mother, to moan
I don't see parental moaning or making fun of the often bizarre and surreal elements of making and raising new humans as a negative thing.
I see it as a fun thing. But then we may have to clarify that there are usually two types of moaning at play here: Moaning and Show-moaning. Moaning in the traditional sense is an act of complaining or grumbling about something that is usually fairly trivial and inconsequential, while show-moaning is grumbling but with an element of self-deprecation and humour and it's the show-moaning that I am in support of.
8 reasons why I defend my right to moan
1. It's therapeutic
When I first had my son my cousin gave me a copy of the book 'Reasons My Kid is Crying' (a brilliantly funny book that could be accused of being an extended show-moan). It was a complete lifesaver and gave me hope in the early weeks when I honestly didn't know how this parenting thing was ever going to be remotely fun.
2. It's funny
Show-moaning can be funny. Calling kids assh*les just for being kids may be taking things a bit far but in fairness sometimes they are total assh*les.
3. Moaning is a way to communicate with other parents
Parenthood is a hugely subjective area of life and trying to navigate the choppy waters of modern parenting styles is a minefield of etiquette. As a rule, I try not to EVER ask other parents any of the following questions: "Does the baby sleep?" "Are you breastfeeding?" "Are you co-sleeping?" Intrusive and irrelevant questions basically. Yet, how to connect with them without straying into the potential minefield that comparing parenting styles can often be? Here's where a little show-moan about the toddler waking you up by standing on your face can be a great leveller. A reminder that whatever parenting approach we choose does not matter, other parent's choices do not matter, what matters is that we are all in this together and that we support each other.
4. Moaning is bonding
In mother-baby groups when someone turns to you and says "isn't is magical?" this is unlikely to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Of course, it is magical to some degree, but the fact is that I don't want to talk about the magical joy of smelling my baby's head (beautiful as it is). I want to hear that she has screamed into a pillow at least ONCE in the past week through sheer exhaustion and frustration at the magical experience of motherhood. I want to hear that I am NORMAL.
5. Just because I'm moaning doesn't mean I'm not grateful
Bryony posits the argument that parents audibly moaning about their kids are being wildly insensitive to those who are not fortunate enough to have kids. And I have unending sympathy for every couple who is struggling to conceive or has experienced the raw and infinite grief of losing a child. However, as much as I sympathise, I cannot be held responsible for the grief of every other person. If someone complains of having a sore leg is that somehow insensitive to someone who has lost the use of their legs? We cannot live our lives in an unending state of sensitivity to others, we just can't, it's impossible to do for one. It would make Earth an incredibly bland place to live and there is no one in life who does not have a secret well of sadness inside them. I have lost a parent, but I can't say I feel persecuted every time someone complains about their parents to me. I don't see it as having anything to do with me... because it doesn't. They are merely doing what all humans do, unburdening themselves of anger or frustration by having a good old moan.
6. Moaning does not mean I don't love my child
Of course, it doesn't. It's a given that I love my child more than the stars and the moon and pop tarts and pizza and life itself. I believe that moaning actually improves my parenting. It's a release for feeling exasperated with motherhood which surely every parent feels from time to time unless you are one of those Perfect Parents, I'm always hearing about, that is (I'm lookin' at you, Bryony).
7. I see your moan, and I raise you mine
The kids get to moan, why can't we moan? Okay, I understand that they are not as intellectually developed as we are but I maintain that one day science will prove that prolonged sleep deprivation can actually cause our maturity levels to devolve exponentially. It's the only explanation I have for my moaning and the fact that since becoming a parent I prefer playing Lego to virtually anything else.
8. Moaning makes us more tolerable to others
And hides just how smug we, parents, can sometimes feel about the fact that we (practically) singlehandedly created the most beautiful, perfect human being to ever have walked this earth. See, you'd rather I just bitched about the fact that I can't see the floor of my house through the sea of raisins, over boring you till the end of time about how f*cking out of this world beautiful and fantastic my son is, right?