Does anyone else feel abnormal because they’re actually happy? I’m in one of the happiest times of my life, but lately that makes me feel like an outsider. It seems these days to fit in with the typical American culture as a woman, one must be drowning their sorrows in wine and incessantly spewing negativity about themselves and their “terrible” lives.
I get it. Being a woman is hard.
We’re expected to be all things to all people, and often we put ourselves last. I’m not trying to judge or suggest that I have the perfect life with the perfect child and I’m never sad or have bad days. I have doubts, stress, anxiety, and I seek advice often, but overall I have immense gratitude for the life I’ve created.
My son is three years old, and we’re thinking about adding to our family. I was talking to a group of women about some feelings I was trying to sort out because everything went so well with my first pregnancy, my birthing experience was positive, and my child is not only healthy, but he’s a joy to be around. How can one person be so lucky? Should I even attempt to tempt fate by having another baby? The current season of my life is one that I want to hold onto as long as I can, so why rock the boat if things are going so well?
I was told that I sounded like I was bragging and I should add something more “self-deprecating” to be relatable.
I’m sorry, but when did happiness become unrelatable?
It appears that in order to give an honest assessment of childrearing, you have to be calling your toddler a jerk and updating the world on just how bad you have it. If your honest experience involves happiness, keep it to yourself because clearly sharing it will only result in others feeling worse about their situation. Happiness seems to be the thing that everyone is chasing, so why are we afraid to celebrate it?
Maybe these women are trying to be funny and their self-deprecating humor is lost on me. Our culture seems to eat up comedians, especially females, who constantly belittle themselves for a laugh. Is it just me or is it awkward when women compare their booties to bowls of cottage cheese?
Vocabulary.com seems to agree that this self-deprecating phenomenon seems to be a common theme among women. “A self-deprecating person knows her own weaknesses and shortcomings and isn’t afraid to point them out, often in a humorous way.”
So why is this ok?
Not only is it ok, but if you do the opposite you’re immediately viewed as showing off. Maybe the reason women aren’t valued equally in the work-place is because we’re undervaluing ourselves and sneering at the women who are brazen enough to show self-worth.
Mothers, in particular, like to ostracize others for having different experiences.
I’m the mom who had the un-medicated water birth, I make home-made kombucha, and my child actually eats the occasional vegetable. It seems that because of these facts, some women automatically place me in a class of moms who think they’re better than everyone else. It’s not ok for me to write condescending things about women who had a scheduled C-section or regularly feeds their kids macaroni and cheese, and yet I see The Internet littered with snarky posts and comments about “perfect moms” who have time to put on real pants and feed their kids organic food.
I find that all too often, the same women screaming, “End the Mommy Wars!” and “Stop judging other moms!” are the same who flash a side-eye to the new mother who fits into her pre-pregnancy jeans days after birth. Guess what? Judgment can be a two-way street and you can feel equally ridiculed if you’re scorned for having a different and perceived better experience than the majority of people.
Instead of cutting ourselves and the women around us down, can we try to be supportive? Can we try to focus on the positive and beautiful aspects of our lives instead of belaboring the negative? Can we stop the double-standards and be genuinely happy for someone if they are in a good place in their lives?