Does Motherhood Mean Embracing Denial?

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I am about to confess to something awful. Five years ago (actually even two years ago) I would have judged myself harshly for what I’m about to say. But here goes…

I find the world outside of my tiny bubble to be very depressing. Some days, I would rather not know what’s going on in the world, just because it depresses me so much. I am tired of watching the news. I am sick of discussing politics. I wish people would keep their religion to themselves, because I don’t want to talk about it. I am jaded about our government and, sadly, about humanity in general. I would rather not debate anything controversial. And if I think about it too much, I become overwhelmed and truly frightened that I brought my child into such a disaster.  

This is coming from a HuffPost-reading, NPR-listening, VERY opinionated person. I left a great work position to stand up for a political issue, I got into a Facebook fight on the night of the last election (not my finest moment), and I get truly heated (inside) when I see people throwing away recyclables. I will be raising informed, socially responsible children.   But man, do I ever wish I could do that without listening to the news.  

If I’m honest with you, I have always been frustrated by people who put their heads in the sand. I will be frank and admit that, in my 20s, I judged them. I have a strong sense of morality, and whether I like it or not, I still bring my soapbox everywhere I go. I just can’t help it. I sometimes choose not to preach from it, but I still carry it around with me, right next to my iPhone and my house keys.  

But after having a baby, something changed in me. I just do not have the emotional energy to deal with the negativity anymore. Maybe it’s my lack of sleep, maybe it’s juggling all of my responsibilities, or maybe it’s the hormones. Whatever the case, it’s come as a complete shock to me.  

The interesting thing is that this extends to fictional negativity as well. Whereas I once loved Law & Order: SVU and devoured entire seasons of CSI: Las Vegas, I now prefer brainless garbage. The extent of my desire for drama is satisfied by Scandal and Orange is the New Black. Shows like Parenthood bring me to tears (and are thus avoided). Sometimes even commercials cue the waterworks. I had to unfollow most news outlets on Facebook, and I leave the room when the news is on. I have never been happier in my entire life…and while I know that my daughter is the major reason for that, I’m starting to wonder if some of it might be due to my avoidance of depressing topics.  

What the hell is going on with me?! I would think that I’m alone in this, except even my optometrist brought it up while fitting me for my new prescription the other day, announcing that she only wants to rent comedies since becoming a mother.  

Is this one of the unspoken hazards of motherhood? Will I ever feel emotionally capable of handling the barrage of depressing headlines again? I’m not sure. In the meantime, I will eat a healthy slice of humble pie, and remind myself that being judgemental is never a good idea.

I'm a divorced mom, parenting mostly on my own. I have two kids aged 5 and 9.

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