Thursday, August 18, 2011

It Gets Easier

I really like the 'It Gets Better' campaign. In case you are not familiar, the spots aim to reach LGBT youth with a message of hope by telling them that, while high school may seem like an unending nightmare of unconscionable proportions, there is another reality waiting out there if they can just hold on.

It tells these kids that rather than spending long days hiding during recess and/or trying to free themselves from the confines of a locker, that they will one day be leading great and fabulous lives far from the meatheads who currently torment them.

Because life is something of a long con run by the nerds and the underdogs. We suffer greatly up front but then we tend to grow up to be more interesting, more successful and generally more badass than the bullies, if we can manage to make it past K through 12.

And I'm not just speaking hypothetically. I say this as a woman who spent the majority of her teenage years in the depths of what one of my sisters refers to as "FIRE NERD" status. Did I, chubby and dateless, take my extremely good looking Jersey Shore lifeguard first-cousin to my Senior Prom and pretend he was my boyfriend? I wish I could say no.

But it got better for me. It really did. Which is why now, I'd like to give something back.

Having been inspired by the 'It Gets Better' campaign, I would like to propose to my fellow Mothers the 'It Gets Easier' movement.

Because I cannot tell you how many times I've been experiencing that special hell that results from attempting to take a toddler -- who seems to have been cross-bred with Speedy Gonzalez -- and an immobile infant to the park for an afternoon of fun, only to hear the following comment from a mom of older kids,

"Oh, just wait! It only gets worse!"

No, fellow Mom, NO.

This is the WRONG thing to say. It is simultaneously non-helpful, mean-spirited, and epically soul-crushing.

I must admit, I am at a loss to explain why so many moms feel the need to say such things, but I am here to tell you that I want it to stop.

But wait, you might argue, sometimes it does get worse! Sometimes you DO face bigger problems with bigger kids! Sometimes you long for those toddler days when the problems seemed so simple!

And while I understand your point, I offer this simple rebuttal:


I mean, would it really be so difficult, moms with knowledge of what awaits, to simply lie to those of us who haven't made it there yet? Wouldn't it be kinder to offer us instead some small glimmer of hope that things will eventually get easier?

Because, let's be honest. Is every LGBT high schooler's life absolutely going to get better?  Probably not. Not every kid is going to leave their life in some oppressive community behind and go on to lead a life filled with nothing but fabulousness and Tony Awards in the big city. But that doesn't mean that telling them that, in general, 'It Gets Better' is the wrong thing to do.

Get with the spirit, BTDT moms, and throw moms with younger ones a bone or two!

Like anyone attempting to lead a movement, I realize that I must set an example. Which is why, whenever I've found myself talking to women expecting a second child, I have exclaimed enthusiastically, 

"How wonderful! It is so much less difficult going from one to two than zero to one, I tell you. You'll see."

I've seen the expressions of relief flood over these women's faces and I know I've done the right thing,

"Huh. That's not what my mother-in-law tells me...." they'd reply tentatively.

"Oh, I promise! IT GETS EASIER!"

I feel it's the least we can do for each other.

And sure, it may not always be entirely true. Still the fact remains that there are parts that do get easier and those are the parts that people in the thick of child-rearing hell want to hear about.

So, I urge you, fellow moms, to join me in the 'It Gets Easier' movement. Throw an encouraging word to a struggling mom; tell someone about the positives of having older kids; wax poetic on the joys of days without diapers!

Because, the fact is there are lots and lots of ways in which things DO get easier. And if they don't, the simple fact is, WE DON'T WANT TO KNOW!