“Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club! Third rule of Fight Club: someone yells “stop!”, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over.”
It dawned on me today that we mothers could learn a lot from Fight Club…and let me tell you, when that crazy guy I dated in 2000 made me watch it 100 times in a row, I would have never thought those words would come out of my mouth. But it’s true.
Motherhood could benefit a lot from a basic set of rules and some generally acknowledged truths, and if you think about it, what better source than a film about someone fighting with themselves? If there is one thing I’ve learned it is that success in motherhood is 99% acceptance that I cannot win, not even against myself and 1% perseverance despite the regular losses.
Here are some Fight Club rules and truths that I’d like to bring over to Motherhood:
The first year
Narrator: When you have insomnia, you’re never really asleep… and you’re never really awake.
In the first year of parenting you soon realize that this statement holds true even when someone else is the cause of your insomnia. This is why they make you log all the diaper changes for the first month and why we spend $1000’s on apps to help us remember which breast to feed from next. We’re never really asleep, but we’re never really awake either.
Tyler Durden: You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
One minute you’re a career ladder-climbing hotshot and the next minute your only task is to suck boogies out of someone else’s nose. Success is defined in the number of potty breaks we manage to take per day with bonus points if we go unaccompanied by a minor.
Tyler Durden: The things you own end up owning you.
If you have ever walked along dark sidewalk in a sketchy neighborhood searching for the the hairclip your child ripped out of her head and now MUST HAVE BACK IN HER HAND IMMEDIATELY, then you know exactly what this quote means. Pacifiers, blankets, stuffed animals, bottles, pants, hair clips…all things that we used to just own, but now own us instead.
Playdates and playgroups
Tyler Durden: Sixth rule: No shirts, no shoes. Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to.
If your life before kids was dominated by “No shirts, no shoes, no service” signs, your life after kids is the exact opposite. “Where are your shoes? Why don’t you have any pants on? No, you can’t take your dress off at this wedding reception.”
And the fights….good lord, the tantrums and the fights. They will go on long, long after you have lost every ounce of patience in your body, long after you’ve found the phone number for an adoption service on your iPhone and well past the limits of everyone who passes you in the supermarket aisle or is sitting next to you in the sing-a-long circle at Mommy & Me Music club.
Tyler Durden: Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.
This quote should be pulled out and stamped onto the forehead of any mom or dad that tries to start a game of one-upmanship in front of the snacks table. Nobody cares that 6 month old little Johnny clapped his hands yesterday or that tiny Tina started walking at 9 months old. Right now they’re both staring at us and making their poop-face. Nothing special about any of that.
Narrator: You met me at a very strange time in my life.
This should be printed on name badges and handed out to every person who walks into a playgroup door.
It never ends
If you don’t believe me, just ask my mom. The kids will grow up, you’ll go back to work, they’ll start school and slowly become self-sufficient. Someday they’ll drive themselves around, look at colleges and maybe (hopefully) move out and start families of their own. And when that happens, guess who they’ll call whenever anything goes wrong. I’ll give you a clue, it ain’t daddy.
Tyler Durden: I’ll bring us through this. As always. I’ll carry you – kicking and screaming – and in the end you’ll thank me.
Tyler Durden: Fuck off with your sofa units and strine green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.
No matter how hard we try, we will never, ever be perfect. It just isn’t possible to please everyone when the world is telling you that oreos three meals a day is unhealthy and your toddler is insisting that oreos are the only thing they eat. So just forget about it all. Ditch the sofa and buy some beanbags. Eat TV dinners at the coffee table. Wear costumes to the grocery store and dance to the music in the elevator. Stop being perfect and start being perfectly you.