I am lucky in that I have some wonderful and amazing and relentlessly supportive friends. Some of those friends just-so-happen to be mothers. While I'm not one to believe that you should only have "mom friends" once you become a mom — as so many of my wonderful friends don't have children, and never will — I do think it's nice to share a friendship with women who know exactly what you're going through. So, honestly, the "inappropriate" questions every mom wishes she could ask another mom are questions I ask my mom-friends on a very regular, all-too-frequent basis. (Which is a good thing, you guys, because I'd probably end up begging the moms at our local playground to a have awkward, uncomfortable conversations with me if this wasn't the case.)
One of the most surprising aspects of motherhood, for me, was the overwhelming feelings of loneliness and isolation. I didn't anticipate feeling "on my own" (even though I have a parenting partner and a very wonderful support system) and feeling like no one understood what I was going through. Thankfully, I was able to find solidarity with other moms who weren't afraid to get "real" about motherhood, and dish about the not-so-glamorous parts of parenthood that were throwing me for a metaphorical loop.
I think, in the end, that's what most mothers want and need the most: solidarity. We want to know that we're not alone in our feelings and our experiences. We want to know that other women are going through the same things we're going through, making the same mistakes we're making and thinking the same (sometimes dark and twisty) things we're thinking. So, while the following questions might seem a little "inappropriate" to some, I also hope that you, dear reader, have a mom-friend that you can ask these questions to. If not, email me. Seriously.
As a sex-positive woman who doesn't consider sex to be a bad thing at all (as long as it's safe and respectful and consensual) I don't think talking about sex is inappropriate. However, I wouldn't ask some random mother at the playground about the postpartum sex she's having because, you know, it's none of my freakin' business.
Still, I wonder. It's hard to feel like what I'm experiencing is "normal" if I don't gain some perspective and learn from other women's experiences. Thankfully, I have some amazing sex-positive mom-friends who don't mind talking about how often they're getting nasty, so uncomfortable conversations at the playground have successfully been avoided.
I really don't feel comfortable asking another mother about poop, not because it's not a normal part of life (because it is, duh), but because I'm so tired of caring about poop in general. I mean, dear heaven I am obsessed with it now. I want to know how often my kid is pooping and the consistency and the color, so I can make sure my son is healthy and eating enough and my entire world now revolves around bowel movements. Ugh.
However, I feel like some solidarity would be nice, you know? And that first postpartum poop as brutal. So. Freakin'. Brutal.
I mean yes, yes, we all think our babies are the most beautiful babies to ever be babies. I mean, I know I did.
However, I can also admit that my baby looked a little bit like a slimy alien baby, so there's also that. Why can't we just talk about how weird and sometimes awkward babies look right after they're born? It's not like we love them any less, I just think we need to talk about the shapes of their heads, you guys.
I'm not one to ask about someone's personal relationships because, just like someone's sex life, it's none of my business. But, I mean, parenting alongside another human being is really freakin' hard, you guys. Sometimes you just want to know that loving someone — but not necessarily liking someone, or even hating them in certain moments — is normal. So can you please tell me about that bad thing your partner did or the way they completely pissed you off, so I feel normal and I can be reminded that my relationship is fine, co-parenting is just difficult. Please?
Clearly I am asking this question because I need some validation, but I have no shame.
In the two years I have been a mother, I can tell you that there have been more than a few moments when I really just didn't want to be a mom anymore. Usually, those moments happened at the tail end of a particularly difficult day, when I felt like I was failing at my job and failing my friends and my partner and my son. Usually, it was because I was sleep-deprived and burning dinner and my son was throwing a tantrum. Regardless of why, I have felt so defeated that the idea of not being a parent has seemed, honestly, nice. Yes, the feeling is fleeting and, yes, that feeling is usually followed by a massive amount of guilt. However, it's still a valid feeling and it would be nice to hear other mothers talk about feeling the very same way, too. You know, community and stuff.
Is mine "normal?" I mean, that's basically what I'm getting at here. So, you know, what happened to yours? Did you tear? Did you need stitches? Do you feel "normal," now?
Yes, these are all very personal questions about a very personal body part so I'm never going to go up to a mom and ask her to talk about her lady bits with me, but still.
It's not like I want to pass my kid off to some random stranger who looks like a decent parent and probably would keep them alive for a week, but when a mom needs a break a mom needs a freakin' break.
I hate this question, you guys. I mean, I hate it with the fire and fury and power of a thousand suns. It's the freakin' worst. I'd argue that there's no way to ask it without coming off condescending and it's infuriating that fathers aren't asked this question and, really, the mom you're asking is probably doing the very same things you're doing (or close to it).
Still, sometimes we do find ourselves in complete admiration of our fellow moms. I mean, when you see a mother looking flawless with two children in tow, coming straight from work and on time to some PTA meeting while still managing to get a degree online and making picture-perfect meals, you have to wonder how in the hell she handles it all. Curiosity gets the better of us and we kind of want to know if she's employing a team of helpers or praying to some mom-god we don't know anything about. I will never ask a mother this question, for the reasons stated above, but I do wonder how these miraculous and amazing moms do the things they do. I guess it's just one of the many reasons why women are straight badasses.