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When Mom Life Feels Like 'Catastrophe'

Photograph by Amazon

Outside the internet, I don't hear many moms talking about the parts of motherhood that baffle, irritate or emotionally exhaust us. When you meet a mom in the wild, the conversation usually only skims the surface of our lives. Acceptable topics include developmental milestones, schooling and the occasional self-deprecating remark about how little sleep we might be getting.

When the pleasantries of polite conversation start to weigh on me, I go online. Under the veil of anonymity, moms get honest and irreverent. All over the web, moms air their dirty laundry. They talk about feeding kids cookies for dinner or what led to their recent divorce. Using pseudonyms, or sometimes writing under their real names, they talk regret, money problems, depression.

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Effusive love letters to the art of being a mother abound—and are just as real as the rants. But I need the good with the bad because that's what's real. If you only hear the highlights, you end up feeling like an alien.

"Am I the only one having such a time?" you might think. The answer's no.

Here's where the internet shines. What we might not be able to voice to a small group of moms at library storytime, we're more likely to share with a great many more online, particularly in places where there's some degree of anonymity.

I always love seeing real-mom life being displayed in all its messy glory. Most recently, I've found that in an R-rated comedy on Amazon called "Catastrophe." The series follows the story of Rob and Sharon, two people who meet, fall in lust, and end up pregnant. From the moment Rob says incredulously, "I don't understand how this happened?!" and Sharon responds, "Well, we had sex about 25 times in a week and you wore a condom maybe twice," I knew this show was going in directions we don't see in the typical parenting comedy.

Also, why did that nurse just leave us with a baby like we weren't two people who didn't know what to do?!

Mixed in the awkwardness and the terror of impending parenthood is the sweetness of two people trying to make family work. That's something to which those who entered parenthood under even the most ideal circumstances can relate.

Spoilers ahead:

In the second season, Rob and Sharon are still together and they're on baby No. 2. We all think pregnancy is the hardest thing until you actually have to be a parent and realize you were wrong. When the nurse placed my daughter in my arms for the first time, I was blindsided by the fact that this wasn't the end.

It was the beginning.

Also, why did that nurse just leave us with a baby like we weren't two people who didn't know what to do?! Life changes when you go from a couple to being parents together. That's another reason I appreciate that the second season is about sustaining a marriage against a backdrop of young children, postpartum depression, dysfunctional friends and crazy relatives.

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What strikes me the most about the show is how this fictionalized account of parenting under extraordinary circumstances manages to feel so real. Maybe it's all the swearing. Maybe I'm just tired of shows that resolve everything in a half hour's time.

When it comes to motherhood, our feelings are sometimes more unresolved. That's no catastrophe, that's us coming to terms with reality.

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