When I read mom blogs or other parenting commentaries on social media, I notice that three themes frequently come up: Netflix, coffee, and wine. It’s as though they are inherent and universal elements of #momlife.
I’m a bit of an outsider in this case, because although I’m a mom, I don’t watch Netflix shows, crave coffee, or drink wine. Yes, really. It does happen.
My family leads a fairly low-tech life. I’m not on Facebook, my kids don’t play video games, and our TV doesn’t have a PVR. We got Netflix about a year ago, and surprisingly, it hasn’t captured our attention. We have a busy schedule of sports and activities, leaving us very little free time to watch anything. As a result, I’m not up to speed on the latest movies or shows (help me – is black the new orange or the other way around?) I don’t have FOMO; I have DAMO (Definitely Am Missing Out). If you’re thinking my old-school lifestyle can’t get any worse, spoiler alert: my family still watches tapes on our VCR. I know it’s archaic, but I’m not ready to part with my VHS copies of Disney classics like Mulan and The Emperor’s New Groove.
Also… and please don’t hate me for this… I don’t drink coffee. I truly don’t like how it tastes. In university, I went to Second Cup and ordered one in a desperate attempt to fit in, but I couldn’t get past the first few sips. I realize these comments may sound sacrilegious to the coffee lovers out there, especially those who frequently visit Starbucks. Ah, Starbucks. In mom culture, it has been elevated to the status of a beloved, trusted friend. But seriously, what is it with that place? There is always a long, slow-moving lineup, and I can’t decipher the complicated instructions or foreign lingo. It’s like an alternate universe where “tall” really means “small” and “hot” isn’t nearly hot enough (it needs to be “extra hot”). For all I know, a Venti Macchiato could be an Italian sports car.
I also can’t relate to the notion of going there to work or study. As an introvert, the idea of sitting for hours surrounded by strangers is nothing short of a nightmare. Plus, it’s so noisy. I suspect the constant sucking sounds heard behind the bar are coming from the milk-heater-upper machine, or possibly it’s large sums of money being vacuumed out of customers’ bank accounts.
Not only have I never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte, I’m not a wine drinker either. I’m not sure when motherhood became synonymous with needing a glass of wine at the end of the day, but I missed the memo. I don’t drink wine, beer, or any alcoholic beverages – not because of any religious or moral principles, just as a personal choice that I’ve held from day one. (I know, I sound like a lot of fun, don’t I?) I don’t judge others’ choices and have no issue with people “enjoying responsibly,” as the beer ads suggest. Still, when reading fellow moms’ social media posts, it doesn’t take long to hit upon a reference to unwinding with a glass of wine. The implied message is that it’s a must-have coping mechanism for life as a parent.
Although I’m comfortable with my choices, I still sometimes feel like there’s an exclusive club and I’m a non-member.
By glorifying binge-watching, coffee and wine on social media, I’m concerned that moms are doing themselves a disservice. These things are presented as crutches that moms have to lean on just to get through our day.
I’d argue that moms are self-reliant, not dependent. The day-to-day tasks of motherhood are powered by our unwavering, undeniable, unconditional dedication to our kids. No mom ever climbed out of bed at 2:00 a.m. to soothe a wailing baby because there was a prize for doing so. Ditto for sleeping on the floor of an unsettled toddler’s room or laundering a young athlete’s uniform at the end of a long day. It’s dedication. It’s instinct. It’s simply what we do.
Being a mom requires elite-level resilience, patience, and sacrifice. Is it a tough job? Yes, without question. Do we deserve to reward ourselves sometimes? Absolutely. I’m not questioning anyone’s right to unwind with an entertaining TV show or a favourite drink. But do we need to speak about these “treats” with such reverence, as if we couldn’t possibly manage without them?
I’m not sure we do.
There’s no medal for motherhood, but if there was, we’d be reluctant to accept it. And, if someone did praise our parenting, we’d be short-changing ourselves if we gave all the credit to a TV show, a hot beverage or a glass of chardonnay. Moms work hard. Period.
Now that’s a topic that should be trending.