Coronavirus and toxic mommy culture

I just recently listened to a podcast by Allie Stuckey (who is really great, BTW), and she was talking about the whole “toxic mommy” culture that we live in and that is rearing it’s ugly head much more because of social distancing in place right now. I personally hadn’t seen a ton of angry mom posts lately, but I think I must have just been scrolling past them. Because they’re there. I am not a fan of Scary Mommy, but in the podcast she mentioned the Mom site, so I thought I’d refresh my memory about it. All I have to say is: What. In. The. World? The first article that came up was, “From the Confessional: I hate being stuck at home with my family.” LORD, where do I begin?

It is so sad to me that anyone would feel the need to disparage their family publicly because they are struggling with the current pandemic we all find ourselves in. Can I just say that yes, life is different from the routine that we’re used to and that in and of itself is hard! I get it. But how exactly does it help to air your family’s dirty laundry on a blog? Maybe there are women out there who want to feel affirmed or related to or sympathized with. Change is hard and I don’t want to seem as if I’m glossing over that. But verbally beating up our husbands and hating on our children in order to blow off some steam? Really? Is that necessary? Is that helpful? How exactly will that change the reality of the situation? It seems to me that if anything, banding together with other miserable people will only exacerbate the problem. There very well may be problems all around, but how we face them really exposes a lot about our character and serves as a very clear and loud example to those around us. Especially the littles we may be referring to.

This toxic mommy culture is far from new, albeit much intensified given the current circumstances. I remember reading about a woman a couple of years ago who got home from work early, but instead of going directly home to her awaiting family, she parked her car about a block from her home, and proceeded to read a book until it was the expected time of her return home. She just didn’t want to face the chaos that awaited her. She had two small children and she just wanted some “me time.” She then proceeded to post about it and ask if what she did was all that bad. I was so disappointed over the fact that there were many, many women who not only excused the behavior, but encouraged it with virtual high fives and LOL’s all around. Believe me, I understand being tired and just wanting a break sometimes. But when we avoid coming home THAT much, could it be that we’re raising little hellions that even WE don’t want to be around because we’d rather read a book than get our hands dirty and be a parent and discipline our children? All I could keep thinking to myself is, “Those poor kids!” Can you imagine how awful it would be to have a mother that didn’t want to be around us because we were just too much of a problem or time commitment? “Come back when you’re older and less of a pain in my butt” mentality? Newsflash, if you don’t work on the problem now, they’re just going to be a bigger pain in your butt when they’re older. Just sayin’.

Toxic mommy culture is pervasive everywhere. Being a mother is a privilege that we don’t HAVE to do. We GET to do. Yes, it can be difficult. Yes, it can be frustrating. And yes, it’s incredibly self-sacrificial. But if we’re willing to spend the time to climb the ladder of success or make the time for hanging out with our girlfriends, we need to be willing to sacrifice for raising the next generation of adults. What that looks like in each family may be different, but within every family there should be not just a narcissistic love that only functions while the other people in the family are making us feel good about ourselves. There needs to be love that is willing to sacrifice our time and talents for the greater good of the others within that family, both spouses and children, which shouldn’t depend on whether or not the other people are holding up their end of the deal. We need to do what’s right even when it’s not easy. Even when it’s not fair (NOTE: abuse of any kind from a spouse is never OK, and therefore what I’m referring to here does not apply!).

I hope there are more blog posts in mom groups that encourage struggling moms with truth as well as compassion rather than giving them a free pass on bad behavior. This time of isolation is difficult enough without affirming our base desires of the cultural ‘me time.’ We can have all the ‘me time’ we want, one day. And let me be clear: “me-time” is NOT a bad thing in and of itself!! But it’s about where our focus is – are we taking a moment to refresh and recharge for an appropriate amount of time or are we trying to get away or avoid spending energy on a tough situation (i.e. 2-year-old tantrums fit in this category ). But I personally don’t want to have the regrets of focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time. We’ll end up wishing we had used the time we had more wisely, and the thing is, we’ll have to sleep in the bed we’ve made whether we like it or not. There is always redemption when we repent of what we’ve done wrong, but regardless, there are consequences to our actions, one of which is the loss of precious, irretrievable time.

Maybe instead of Scary Mommies, we can be Sanctified Mamas. Same mamas, same families, but with a paradigm shift. Those aren’t just little interrupters of my time that are serious pains in my behind, but they are helping me to die to myself and live for Christ one stinkin’ minute at a time, LORD have mercy.

We can’t change the situation. But the one thing we can change is our attitudes. Amen?

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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