What is the rudest question you can ask a woman?
According to "30 Rock" star Tina Fey, the answer is, "How do you juggle it all?"
In "Confessions of a Juggler," an essay in the Feb. 14 issue of The New Yorker, Fey touches on a longstanding fear of mothers everywhere: being seen as incapable of coping with the stresses of raising a child.
To be precise, Fey's essay explores the demands of juggling motherhood and a career, but a telling passage reveals, perhaps unintentionally, which of the two she regards as more stressful:
The ear-nose-and-throat doctor I see about some stress-induced canker sores offers, unsolicited, "You should have another one. I had my children at forty-one and forty-two. It's fine." Did she not hear the part about the stress-induced canker sores?
Which begs the question: why does admitting that parenthood isn't a walk in the park -- or asking a question that may demand such an admission -- carry a social stigma?
Brooke Burke, co-host of "Dancing With the Stars," recently appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" to talk about her new book, "The Naked Mom," in which she reveals her own struggle to balance work and family. Of her decision to write the memoir, Burke says, "I'm one of those mothers where I'm not ashamed to share my challenges and my difficult moments and also the things that I did right and the things that I'm learning."
The implication here is, of course, that there are many mothers out there who are ashamed to share their troubles.
The negative correlation between happiness and parenting has been tossed around in the press with some frequency in recent years, yet when a mother (or father) seems to crack under the strain, it still comes as a surprise. But should it?
Psychology writer Wray Herbert raised the issue of parental stress in a Feb. 2 piece on The Huffington Post, writing:
Study after study has shown that parents, compared to adults without kids, experience lower emotional well-being -- fewer positive feelings and more negative ones -- and have unhappier marriages and suffer more from depression. Yet many of these same parents continue to insist that their children are an essential source of happiness -- indeed that a life without children is a life unfulfilled.
Why might this be? Perhaps because admitting defeat is not an option. Despite the growing presence of Mommy Bloggers and the rise of "Mom-Lit," the pressure to never let them see you sweat endures. Mothers are still expected to have it all -- and have it all together.
So tell us, HuffPost readers: Is it rude of us to ask you how you juggle it all? Do you feel pressure to keep your parenting problems to yourself? Have you ever had a mommy meltdown, or at least come close to having one? Please share via the link below; your fellow parents will thank you for it.
LEPBTV:Regularly! What this article doesn't mention is the additional stress that single mothers face. As a single working mom, the stress can be overwhelming at times. Most single mothers get very few breaks - we are on 24/7 - even when we're tired or sick. Without such breaks, it's easier to snap at your children, or they simply don't get the full attention they want and deserve. Plus single mothers tend to have very tight finances - paying a babysitter isn't always an option. So if you know a single mother, offer to watch her child(ren) for a few hours, so she can go see a movie, take a walk, or run errands - what a luxury! She'll be a better parent for it.
MrsFreeze:Of course I have had mommy meltdowns. And so have you. And so has she ... and she ... and she. Are we really still talking about the mommy who "has it all?" I have a friend who likes to say, "Yes, you can have it all. You just can't have it all at once." Once we realize that, maybe we can get some real perspective, which, along with patience, are the greatest tools in your mommy toolbox. That and a nice pinot noir.
love2quilt:Whomp, there it is. Me, in all my glory. This is what my life has come to. Two degrees, small business owner, wife and mother of 2, and now I will only be known as The Urinator. I accept defeat WORLD!! YOU WIN! I peed the fight right out of me. How did I find myself in such a situation, you ask? Well, pardon the pun but it all started because I was pissed. Literally and figuratively. Let's take a look back, shall we?...~cue wobbly screen and Mike Meyers~ "biddily-doo, biddily-doo, biddily-doo". So there I was, waiting on the refrigerator repairman for visit # 14. I. kid. you. not. And if you are saying, "Shari! There's a lemon law! Insist on a new refrigerator!!", then I need you to give me your address so that I can come over and punch you in the face. Don't worry, I won't stay long. I'll just ring the bell, you'll answer, PUNCH, back in my car, and I'm gone. I do not have the strength to go into the entire story w/ you, just like I didn't have the strength to tell repairman # 8 what was wrong w/ my fridge. I told him, "You are not Kevin. Kevin is my repairman. He knows what is wrong. Last time they sent Robert. Robert had to call Kevin because he knows what is wrong. Robert didn't know. He called Kevin. Robert and Kevin spent 2 1/2 hours trying to fix it. Needed another part. Kevin said he would come back because he knows what's going on. You do not. I will not tell you what is going on for fear of flying into a rage that I may never recover from. I'm sure your family loves you and will miss you when you are gone. If I have to repeat my story to one more person, that person may not live to tell the tale. Save yourself and go get KEVIN!!! Of course then he said that Kevin could come tomorrow (I'M NOT WASTING ONE MORE DAY!!) and it was already 6:30pm...my window was 1-5pm. Which is why he was here at 6:30pm. They enjoy showing up 90 minutes past the window. I know this. I have done extensive research on this in the form of scheduling FOURTEEN VISITS!!!!!!!!! Now in Kevin's defense, his company has only been on 6 of the 14 calls. The previous visits were split between 4 different companies. None of them spoke English, only Russian. I, unfortunately, do not speak Russian. It's not that I wouldn't LIKE to speak Russian, it just never came up. As a child, had I have known that someday Russian would be imperative to the repair of my appliances, I would have sought books, tutors, scholars, to aid me in my quest. But coulda, shoulda, woulda. I have now come to discover that it isn't that Moscow has a huge billboard that says, "Go to America, Fix Appliance". It's that 4 brothers own 4 repair companies. They share one warehouse and start all of their companies w/ the letter A. That way, when you Google or look them up in the phone book, their company is at the top. (sorry, I'm having a hard time writing right now because for some reason, when thinking of Russia I want to talk in short, choppy sentences. Like...come fix fridge. Fridge no work. Piece of crap. What is borscht? Is it just me?...oh no, wait...Just me. That's better.) Back to the pee. SO, I've completely forgotten where I was in the story and I'm too damned tired to read what I wrote so here goes...window is 1pm-5pm. At 2:30pm I get a call that he'll be here closer to 5pm. Of course he will. ~rolls eyes~ Now this screws up my program because I needed to go to my mom's house to do laundry. (WHOLE OTHER OPRAH!! Brand new Maytag washing machine is on the fritz, too! Serenity NOW!) AND mom was going to make dinner for me and the kids since hubby was working late. Scratch all that, because now I have to make dinner for the kids and have no clue when hubby is going to get his panties washed. (He doesn't really wear panties, that I know of. I just use that phrase when I'm mad. For example, "Don't get your panties in a bunch", "Calm down, you're running around here like your panties are on fire!" It calms me. It's an outlet. What can I say?) So it's a little after 5 and I finally have 2 seconds to pee. I've had to pee for over an hour, but I've got 2 little kids so it's not always an option. Wouldn't you know, JUST as I start to go...the phone rings. It's the repairman, I just know it!! If I don't answer, he won't come!! O.M.G. I try to stop peeing...wth?...can't stop...too much pee...must get phone...STOP PEEING!!!!...I grab tissue...baby's in the way...MOVE ADAM!!!...OMG!!!...3rd ring...SONOFA$^%&*..."HELLO?!!"...this is when he tells me that he is Peter, NOT Kevin, and I go into my whole "Who do I have to sleep with to get Kevin here ON TIME?!!" shpeel. (It was a dark day, my friends. I'm not gonna lie to you.) And now I'm thinking...why am I wet?...what's wet?...there's wetness...all while having this convo w/ Peter. Then I realize O.M.G. Did I just pee myself? What THE...where's Adam? What's that noise?...OMG! Adam is in the bathroom, splashing in the toilet. Water is everywhere. Or is that pee? O.M.G. PLEASE, somebody knock me out. I want to be unconscious RIGHT NOW. Still having convo w/ Peter...washing Adam...changing MY OWN pants...cuz I peed myself, ya know...still having convo. And now I'm shaking because I'm so pissed. HA! Yeah. That phrase takes on a whole new meaning. Thank God for mothers because I called my mom, she came and got the laundry, and took it to her house. Peter showed up at 6:30pm, not knowing what sort of hell he was walking into. Fortunately for him, I had my breakdown before he got here and was in some altered state of numbness by the time he showed up. Post Traumatic Pee Disorder. PTPD, for those in the industry. So he installs the part while telling me that he's never done this before. All I could muster was a "that's nice". At least I still had my wits about me enough not to finish w/ a ..."I peed my pants."
Jessica Lamb Martini:I have two children that are exactly two years apart. In the past I took to using facebook as an outlet of my worries, frustrations, and overall angst...however over time I noted that there were those who were appalled at my realistic and somewhat raw commentary of motherhood. I dont get it though...why should I pretend that waking up at 6:30 AM for the rest of my life is so wonderful? Why do people think that if you arent absolutely euphoric over the trials and tribulations of parenting then surely you do not love them and are "ungrateful". Well I have started censoring myself a bit, but mostly I blocked the hypocrites and prudes. Who needs them anyway?
leslie healey:Have i ever had a mommy meltdown? Of course. A few of them. Being a mother is rewarding, but not without hard work, loneliness, and at times a ittle craziness. Just trying to find 5 minutes to yourself and only yourself is next to impossible some days. All moms need a break from the monotonous daily routine. I do feel that mothers are made to feel like there are no room for mistakes and are not "allowed" to admit that things are tough. My days start at 6:00 am and don't end until midnight. I bartend part-time so some days start at 6:00 am until 5:00 am. It's tough and I am not afraid to admit that there have been times where I "secretly" wish I wasn't a mom. It is those times that my son or daughter say just the right thing, or look at me in their adoring way, and I feel proud to be their mother and that it's time to take a step back and at least half a day to myself. I love my children with all of my heart, but they are most definitely the hardest job I will ever have. Mom's shouldn't be made to feel like they need to achieve parental perfection. All of us need to put the diaper bag down and back away from the children at times and have a friend to share all the negativities of motherhood with. No such thing as a perfect mom and we all can get a little crazy.
Elizabeth McWhorter:Last summer, my family was dealing with a lot of stress - I started a new job and was finishing up my first year in graduate school, and my oldest son was going to summer day camp for the first time. He had just finished kindergarten. Well, he had already lost one lunch box, and two water bottles. I had had a particularly rough day, and when I picked him up, he had lost another lunch box. I freaked out - and did not handle myself in a way that I am proud of. A few months later, my son left his lunch box at school and he said "calm down mom, it's ok, don't go crazy, I'll get it tomorrow" - I have never felt more disgusted with myself.