Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Thoughts on The Mommy Porn

So, true confessions time.

I read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.

::hangs head in shame::

I'll be honest, it's very hard for me to stay away from books that have a lot of hype involved.  And several times, this has brought me some fantastic reading.  A skeptical 17-year-old me picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and fell completely in love.  12 years later, while nursing my youngest child in the middle of the night, I devoured The Hunger Games trilogy.  I'm currently thoroughly absorbed in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which I positively adore (seriously, you should read it.  It's like a science lesson and a soap opera rolled into one!).

On the flip side, this predilection for popular prose also induced me to read the Twilight series, which I had a hard time stomaching anyway thanks to the dishwater heroine Bella, the fact that every other line in the book was about Edward's breathtaking beauty, and then when I got to the climax of the fourth book--well seriously, folks, what WAS that??  But because I am the way I am, I insisted on reading all four of them.  And then shaking my head.  I thought to myself, where are the strong heroines in YA lit anymore?  Where's Charlotte Doyle? You have no idea how relieved I was to discover Katniss.  Or Maggie Stiefvater's Grace.

But I digress, as usual.

So anyway, Fifty Shades came to my attention a few weeks ago, when I read an article describing it's popularity and labeling it as "Mommy Porn."  Ugh.  That title totally rankled me.  I just...as a stay-at-home mom I get enough people talking to me like I'm some sort of idiot.  "Oh, you have a blog?  And you want to get your novel published?  That's cute.  How sweet, Amanda."  While nobody's actually gone a step further and patted my head, I frequently wind up bracing myself for it.  Or I could go on about how many people have told me I should get a real job, but I won't because that's a separate blog post.  But anyway, the quote in the article that I read that really got me (and you can read it here) was the line that said, "Kids have never seen their mothers reading so much."

Really?  I mean, really?

Oh yes, all of us SAHM sit around all day, eating our bonbons and reading our mommy porn.  Shoot, if that was how it really was, I totally would have jumped into motherhood a long time ago.  ::eyeroll::  And none of us have any brains.

Look, I get why Fifty Shades is so popular.  Once you get past the terrible writing, it's very hard to put down.  It's kind of like crack.  And a bad car wreck.  You seriously cannot look away, although I think toward the end of the second book I was skimming through all of the sex scenes--I mean, Anastasia can only have so many mind-blowing orgasms before I started going "just get to the point, already!"  And while Anastasia is annoying on so many levels, she at least stands up for herself.  And the truth is, a lot of us moms do need an escape.  I'm lucky in that I know what mine is--when I have a hard day, after the kids go to bed, I can usually lose myself in a book.  Or in my own writing.  Sometimes I take out really hard days on my characters, I admit it.  But so many moms don't have a good escape.

Mommyhood is lonely.  I hadn't really thought about it that way until I read my friend Jordan's blog post the other day.  But it's true.  I have watched a lot of my friends struggle to redefine themselves in their new roles as mothers, and attempting assimilation between who you were before you had a kid and who you are as a mom isn't easy.  Having Bug terrified me.  When Jon went back to work, I stared at my heavily jaundiced, bright-eyed newborn and I seriously remember praying every day, "Dear God, please don't let me accidentally kill him."  My first few months with Bug were extremely rough, because I didn't have any other mom friends in the area, firstly, and secondly because Jon went overseas for two months a few days after Bug turned 3 months old.  So I was alone.  With a 3 month old baby.  With very few resources to turn to.

Needless to say, there was a fair amount of crying involved.

Thankfully, around Bug's 5 month birthday, I met my mom group and life got a lot easier.  I had friends who, even if they parented in a completely different way, were there for me.   These ladies really overwhelmed me with the love and support that they showed me during my pregnancy with Cat and then the subsequent first few weeks out of the hospital--and I am so grateful for them.

And so, when I admitted that I was reading Fifty Shades, these ladies took that friendship one step further and agreed to jump on the Mommy Porn bandwagon with me.

I kid, of course, but a lot of the women in the group have read/are reading it, and I guess now I do understand why so many women have been into it.  I mean, there's plenty to laugh at, and the sheer ridiculousness of the plot makes for fabulous discussions.  It's fun to have something we're all reading, that we can all make references to and laugh about.  And I think as long as you don't take it too seriously, it can be good for you in a lot of ways to have something like this to escape to.  (My husband, for the record, thinks it's kind of hilarious that I read these books.)  We all need an escape from the ever-present flow of diapers, spit up, and children screaming "NO!" at you when you insist it's time to change their diapers (oh Bug, I cannot WAIT to potty train you).

So that's my take on it.  Laters, baby ;)



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