Whenever you read one of those inspirational bio-shorts about some wonderful woman of yore who had fourteen children and kept a well-ordered house and was her husband's dearest treasure, they all end roughly the same way: she never complained, but labored tirelessly at her work as ordained and blessed by God.
Really? She never complained? Ever? To whom did she never complain? To a person who, 200 years later, pieced together the sketchiest of 70 word biographical sketches from a book about the subject's famous husband?
There are also the sainted mothers in living memory who never complained. If I may say so, this is a rather silly assessment for a child to make. The main people in front of whom I strive not to complain are--can you guess? My dear children. Come to think of it, I can't remember my mother ever complaining. I can remember a few impressive outbursts at extremely trying familial moments over the course of my childhood, but I would not classify them as complaining. More like us rotten kids hearing what we deserved to hear for once (and that was my perspective then).
I marvel that I remember so few of these explosions, considering the amount of time she spent taking care of my three closely spaced siblings and me. But now that I'm an adult, she's been more forthcoming with her feelings on child care, and I don't feel quite so alone. :D I still consider her one of the least grousy people I know. (In case anyone is wondering, the persons to whom a mother is likely to complain are her sisters and friends who are also mothers, her own mother, and her husband. And, obviously, her blog.)
And what's complaining anyway? Is it complaining if a third spectacular excretory event in a day makes a mom want to cry, and the kids can tell? Is it complaining if it becomes observable that a 10th week of nausea is starting to get a pregnant lady down? Is it complaining to say that childbirth really, really hurts? Are the facts of a mother's life complaints in themselves, such that they should never be stated?
I'm a complainer, there's no doubt about that. But I don't think that if a pregnant mother or a mother of young children or a mother with little household help answers honestly when someone asks how how she's doing she should be painted as a bitter, closet feminist complainer. If you ask me what I did today, the facts are that I got hugs and kisses and sang songs, but also that my hands got really, disgustingly dirty and more than a few times I was discomfited by the thought that I've got an unpleasant day coming up a few months from now. It's just true. A mother's whole life is true, not just the romantic parts.