Moms today have it so easy, my Aunt said. I nearly choked on my daughter’s leftover grilled cheese (also known as my lunch).
It was a Monday in the summer, and I was taking the day “off” from work to spend with my family from out of town. We planned to go to the beach around noon, so I spent the morning outside, on my laptop, catching up on work emails, checking in with clients, and prepping my schedule for the week. I was essentially trying to get a day’s work done in a few short hours. I guess from afar, it looked like I was sipping on coffee and playing around with my fancy computer. Maybe that’s what prompted her statement. But I couldn’t help myself, I needed an explanation.
How do you figure? I asked. My Aunt then went on to list the following as examples of how we (moms today) have it so easy:
We can work from home. With computers and cell phones and technology, we don’t have to worry about being in the office. This is so great! We can be there for our kids AND working at the same time.
More thanks to technology, we can utilize monitors to watch our kids sleep and analyze their every move. So we can “relax” and be “at ease” while they’re sleeping.
We have electric breast pumps.
We have so much more information at our fingertips so we can make the right decisions.
I wasn’t up for the debate, so I had to let it go for the moment. But I stirred on this for a while, and the truth is, I think we have it anything but easy these days. Here’s why:
We are never unplugged. When I work ‘from home,” it’s often busier than when I work from my office. I’m expected to be available (and responsive) at all hours of the day and night. If a client emails me over the weekend—even if I don’t respond—I know the email exists. That means I know an issue exists. And that means I never get a mental break from work.
For the first six months I used the baby monitor, it made me crazy. I would hyper focus on every single move Brielle made. Was she on her stomach? Was she on her back? Was her hand lodged in the crib rails? Was she being possessed or was the weird monitor light just playing games with me again? I’ve since turned off the video, and I just listen, but even with the sound on- it means I am awake the second she is awake. That hardly makes for an easy night’s sleep.
Electric breast pumps, I suppose, are better than manual breast pumps. However anyone that alludes to electric breast pumps being easy have never sat hooked up to one, with the uncomfortable “hands free” bra holding in her udders while the sound of the machine plays songs in your head.
Ah the information we have! From picking a stroller to deciding on each night’s dinner, I hardly find all of the “information” an asset. I am perpetually overwhelmed with how much we are told to do, or not do, by every single source of “information” out there. I don’t register Brielle for a single music class before crowdsourcing my friends or reading reviews. She’s not even 2 years old! At that age, I was lucky if I went to the public library for story time. Every decision we make is scrutinized- even if only by ourselves—all thanks to all of the “information.”
I get what my Aunt was saying, kind of. But the reality is, that with more technology and more information comes more pressure. Moms already have plenty of pressure by nature. I don’t think that any generation of us had- or is going to have it- easy.
Ashley Vallillo Manzi lives in Hoboken with her husband and nearly two year old daughter. She is a family law attorney withZiegler Zemsky & Resnick. With focus on prenuptial agreements, divorce, alimony & child custody, Ashley sees her role as "helping someone arrive at a new beginning." On the weekends, Greg, Brielle, and Ashley love to go out for brunch, playing in Church Square Park, or chasing the birds along Sinatra Drive. With lots of friends and family (her siblings live here too!) this family is always on the go.