[Mother’s Day] Oh, mother!

Nikka Santos
'Mommy talk' is one of the best conversations any women can have, single, a mother, or not.

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MANILA, Philippines – In some circles, talking about motherhood is considered lame. Mommy talk is twee, boring, stupid, or whatever. I was at a wedding, and a friend I had not seen for years expressed this to me: “I’ll bear with your company; but please, no talk of your kids.” 

This is why we only talked about her fabulous single life. When someone asked her, “So you don’t read her mommy blog?” she shook her head no, her face saying, I’d rather eat crap.

Okay. I shouldn’t begrudge an opinion, but I was taken aback by such in-your-face disdain for what she derisively calls “Mommy Talk.” 

It did make me think (that) I do love being a mother and talking about it. I’m also a sucker for cute-kid-anecdotes.

But I have to say, I talk about other things, too. There is more to my life than being a mother.

I still love to talk sexdrugs, and rock and roll. Politics and religion. Beauty and sadness in the world. Books. Pop culture. I love Mad Men so much I can discuss it to the point where I imagine my husband wonders, “Are we in anthropology class?” Can I also tell you why Martin Scorsese’s films are not misogynist?

I have opinions on fashion, make-up, and skin care. I love to talk about other things — what’s going on in my friends’ lives, where is it good to eat, trips to exotic places, single-life adventures, married-life misadventures, so on and so forth.

But, yes, guilty as hell, I love talking about my children’s antics and little achievements. I like posting photos of them on Facebook. Look, my little girl loves to play dress-up! My 2-year-old boy once asked me, “Mama, why is the sky so big? Wow, that is so existential.

I had a nice discussion about this with a friend, one who was interested. Thankfully, I didn’t bore her. Although, we do have a shared fondness for parenting talk which in some circles would also make her lame.

But then!

Growing human beings are fascinating. From a scientific viewpoint alone, they are fascinating. How young minds develop. How character is formed. Family dynamics. Siblings and peers. Education. School settings that encourage creativity. Media literacy and cultural influences for children in the 21st Century. The list goes on. Kids in general just blow my mind.

My kids, in particular, they blow up my heart. They are the sweetest, funniest people I know. They are my moveable feast. These days, I get to sing and dance like a lunatic at home, just like I used to do when I was young, with only Madonna or The Cure for company. Now I can sing and dance to the Despicable Me soundtrack and Vampire Weekend in the company of the two coolest people in the world. Who else? My kids.

I am rambling because my children are significant in so many levels I don’t even know where to begin.

They have humbled me. They have healed parts of me I thought would never heal. They burst into my life carrying a bonus pack of Realizations. They have made me forgive people I thought I would never forgive. I can be patient to the point I never thought possible. They have vomited on me, kept me up at night, made me touch pee, poo and snot without wincing. 

Sometimes, they get in the way of sex and romance … and yet, their father and I are utterly in love with them, no longer just with each other. They have made us worry like we have never worried before … and yet, they have made us more hopeful than we have ever been.

For many years pre-motherhood, I had a demanding job in news and television. I had to get to the bottom of things, research like a madwoman, run after people, psychologize and empathize, face impending doom on a daily basis, occasionally function on three hours sleep — and then attempt to be strategic and creative all at the same time.

Motherhood is a lot like that job, minus the office politics and add much more fun. It also pays better than money or bragging rights. 

While I am grateful for the work I still do these days, I am infinitely more grateful for being a mother. It is a cliché that would make certain single sophisticates roll their eyes, but it is what it is simply because it is Universal Truth for those of us who have embraced motherhood. 

Our children are life-changing. They can be exasperating and exhausting, but ultimately they are love-and-joy rolled into chocolate-smeared faces. 

I know my experiences as a mother or as a woman are not entirely universal. Some women are happy single and childless so they can focus on their careers or causes. Others just want a different lifestyle.

I think it’s great that there are many paths women can take. You can be a Sister Stella L. or Mother Theresa. Maybe Madame Curie or Oprah? Cory Aquino went from housewife to President. There’s also Marsha wife to John, full-time mom to Rolly, John-John, and Shirley.

No role is better than another. What matters is how we play it.

You work hard at it and you’re happy? That’s fabulous. You belittle women who don’t share your life choices? What does that say about you?

Just as I have listened in awe to friends’ stories of glamour and success, and have been moved by tales of thrilling but ill-fated romances, I have also marveled at friends’ Adventures in Motherhood … where profound moments can hit anywhere from the grocery aisle to graduation. 

There should be no shame in talking about our experiences as mothers. It is the job that keeps this world going. Our stories are important. So share it, mamas! – Rappler.com

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