Here is a question for my readers:
When you read the dozens of posts by regretful mothers that I have linked to on this blog , what kinds of questions do you come up with?
I have a few, but the question that is in the forefront of my mind is:
Why do women lie to each other about motherhood?
Many mothers enjoy parenting and are happy to be moms, but it is clear that there are also many who are unhappy. Some desperately so. Some even suicidal. As we have seen, these mothers are coming out of the woodwork to express their displeasure on the internet where they can hide behind their computer screens in a shroud of anonymity and commiserate with the many other similarly miserable moms. Most claim that while they love their child(ren), they hate being a mom. Many say they wish they never had kids and that if they could do it all over again, they wouldn't have children. Some advise others who are contemplating having children NOT to do it. Many say motherhood has stripped them of their identities - that they are shells of their former selves and they would do anything to get their former childfree lives back. Many say motherhood is a scam and they are angry about how they were lied to and hoodwinked into a life that is nothing as promised.
So who is doing the scamming?
I would argue that many of the women who are miserable being moms, regret it with their entire being and would do anything to go back to their life before children, are the very same women who are scornful of the childfree, lie to other women and continue to promote the "scam" that having children is the one true path to happiness and fulfillment.
How do I know this is true? It's simple math. While many, many women are catharting all over the internet about the hell that is motherhood, in our day-to-day lives we hear virtually NOTHING but glowing reviews from women about motherhood. So somebody is lying, or at the minimum withholding the truth.
As always, I have my theories. I think there are many reasons a woman lies to other women about motherhood:
1. She feels she can't be honest and admit how much she hates it because to do so would immediately label her as a "bad mom". And that is a really painful label to wear.
2. She is afraid that if she admits she hates being a mom, people will think she doesn't love her child(ren). Again - this would label her a bad mom and a horrible person.
3. She is worried that there is something wrong with her. Since everyone else claims motherhood is the pinacle of existence, a woman's "most important role", and "so worth it", they must be right. There must be something wrong with her and she must be defective in some way. This is a hard thing to accept so she pretends it isn't so and deludes herself and everyone else into believing that she too is happy and fulfilled by her role as mother.
4. She wants to appear happy and successful, and one way to accomplish this is to claim that she is happy with the choices she has made and the path she has taken with her life. To say she is unhappy and regretful would result in her being perceived as a loser, and that hurts too much.
5. It is simply too painful to admit that she royally fucked up her life, because unlike other life choices, she can't undo this mistake. Having kids is for life. So it's better to pretend and lie to herself and others that motherhood is her greatest joy than to face the fact that she is facing a lifetime prison sentence.
6. She is jealous of her childfree friends, and it kills her to constantly be reminded of the great life she once had. Perhaps "misery loves company" comes into play here. By lying about motherhood and converting others to the awful motherhood role, she reduces her exposure to happy, unencumbered women - women who are a constant stream of salt in her wounds and reminder of what she lost.
Would anyone else like to add their theories as to why women lie to each other about motherhood? I hope my mom readers will chime in on this one.