LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) – It was, when she thinks about it, a pretty common disaster. Late on a Sunday, after a busy weekend with three kids, working mom Romi Lassally was watching a pile of her son’s vomit in her hallway.
“I left it there. I was hoping the dog would eat it, ”she said.
But when the dog failed to oblige, Lassally found herself cleaning up and feeling like she had sunk into a new motherly hollow, so she did what she often does when she is. mortified – pick up the phone and call a girlfriend.
“She was amused and disgusted,” she said. “I felt better right away. At that point, I knew I was on to something.
That “something” was True Mom Confessions (www.truemomconfessions.com), an online bulletin board for moms to share their worst mistakes, misdeeds and apprehensions.
Since the start of April, more than 100,000 women have confessed, ranging from a single line of scolding about in-laws to intimate accounts of reduced sex lives.
“It turns out we’re all riddled with guilt, ambivalence and regret,” she says. “We’ve been bottling this stuff for too long. Now it’s time to unload.
Parents unload like never before. Whether it’s swapping horror stories at birthday parties or writing “moms,” more and more parents find solace in swapping stories of their woes.
Books on parenting used to be mostly about sweet feelings and motherly resolve. Now they’re filled with tales of supermarket tantrums and strained marriages, each a supposedly more intimate exposition of the ugly underbelly of family life.
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The titles say it all: “Drinking mothers”, “I was a very good mother before having children”, “Goblets are not for chardonnay”.
Lately, what started as a blame festival for all moms has grown into an accelerated webcast of grievances from moms and dads.
“The fathers were late for the party, but I think we finally realized that there isn’t really honor in decorum,” says writer Steve Almond, who recounted his fatherly missteps in an essay titled “Ten Ways I Killed My Daughter in Her First 72 Hours of Life.”
A father laughed a lot when he said he almost gave his daughter a concussion carrying her through a door. Another confessed to leaving his toddler in a car seat for two hours during a school basketball game.
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At worst, disclosing warts and everything is a conscious exercise to make the storyteller feel better about his failures.
Elisha Cooper, a writer and illustrator who wrote about his first year of fatherhood in “Crawling” memoir, says he is an avid Bad Dad One-upmanship player.
“Sometimes it’s an attempt to assess other people’s failures so that we can say to ourselves, ‘Thank goodness it’s not us,’” he says. “We want to know we’re all in the same boat – but we also want to know we’re on the driest part.”
Still, Cooper welcomes the outpouring, mainly because it asserts a truth he takes for granted – that raising children is messy, outrageous, and fraught with disaster.
“A lot of parenting is about failure. Why not remember the bad things? He wrote in Crawling.
Lassally of True Mom Confessions adds that the current wave of complainers are not oblivious to the joys and hopes of parenthood.
A mother, who recently confessed to throwing her son out of bed after three years of co-sleeping, wrote: “My confession is that I miss my son.