It seems I’ve touched a nerve in a few of my fellow community members. It seems that when you reveal in a blog post that you chose to have a traditional family arrangement; that is, a working father and a stay-at-home mother, some people get into all kinds of a dither! Broad assumptions are made about the couple in question. As many of you know, I briefly mentioned the decision to construct our family in this manner in a previous post and it was assumed by some readers that, for example, I must be subservient to my husband. When I mentioned this to him, I saw the fleeting look of longing dart across his eyes; how he yearns for just a little subservience. It was assumed that my husband is not a participant in our child’s upbringing, that he forced me to quit my job ( say what, now?) and that we are a “nauseating” throw back to the 1950’s. Huh. Well, that just doesn’t sound like us at all.
I find it most interesting or unsettling, quite frankly, that women were a part of this assumption-making carnival. It seems that “Feminists” sometimes forget that the Feminist Movement was about creating equal employment opportunity for women, but more intrinsically about the ability of women to choose for themselves the paths that they would take in life and the roles that they would play in society. One participant heralded another as a ‘hero’ for trashing my blog. Had this person navy-seal crawled under a wall of fire to save a gingham-lined basket of puggle puppies? Nope. Apparently it’s an act of heroism to deride a woman for being openly “traditional”. Oh, Gloria Steinem, where are you when I need you, sister? But I guess, to some women’s minds, if we choose the traditional role, we must be either brainwashed by our club-wielding, monosyllabic husbands, or by each other. Which brings me to the thrilling crux of this week’s post…..
While reading the aforementioned thoughtful dissection of my marriage, this article was brought to my attention. http://dreadmonger.com/2011/08/01/stay-at-home-mom-blogs-the-cult-of-mommyhood/ As myself, and mommy-bloggers like me were making one reader’s “skin crawl”, she decided to share it with her like-minded friends. The article is satirical, but the language it uses and the outcry against the “cult of mommyhood” that it references are exactly mirrored in countless other earnest articles and posts. Just type “cult of mommyhood” into google and behold the contempt! Women who blog about their experiences mothering seem to be a real irritant to a very vocal faction of the cyber population. You see “Stepford Wives” thrown around a lot. And it isn’t just on the internet. I have friends, stay-at-homers, who bemoan the snotty, eye-rolling, she can’t possibly have anything interesting to add to the conversation, attitude they bang into like a brick wall all the time. And worse, even husbands’ who have pushed their wives back into the workforce because they wanted better conversation in the evening.
Really? Look, lots of people have interesting professions, but lets be honest here, most people really don’t, not to other people, that is. If I had a quarter for every one of my own friends, or husbands and wives of my friends whose professions are a complete mystery to me? Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, baby. I’d rake it in. Its awful, but it’s true. I ask what someone does, and as soon as they start explaining, zip! My brain shuts down. Please, sit me next to a stay-at-home mom at your dinner party any day of the week. Poop stories are luridly interesting. Birth stories? Utterly fascinating. I can’t hear enough of them. The minutes from your weekly office meeting? Meh.
I’m not insensible to fact that there are those annoying, sunny, everything about motherhood makes show tunes play out of my behind, kind of blogs. They are irritating. Mostly because as every mother knows, with mothering comes at least three, gutter-licking moments of misery a week. But lots of them are really funny and interesting. I suppose that’s because I am a SAHM, and that’s where my interest lies, which leads me to this: Not reading or talking about mothering is really easy if you don’t want to do it. Before I was a mother and interested in anything to do with mothering, I had no trouble not reading good or bad mommy blogs or buying the magazines devoted to parenting. I found those far easier to avoid than say, People magazine or US Weekly or TMZ, Popsugar, OMG, E.T., Access Hollywood, The Enquirer or Star, for example. Something tells me that it isn’t hard to not fill out the subscription form for “All Things Cats”, if it’s not your thing. Blogs or articles of any kind, if they are of no interest to you, are super easy not to read. Here are some helpful tips:
1) Don’t type, “mommy blog”, “motherhood”, “mama”, “poopy diapers” or “Yo Gabba Gabba” into your search engine.
2) If an article about motherhood should pop up on your chosen source of news, don’t click on it.
3) Stop your whining about it.
4) If a “mommy-blogger” approaches you on the street, Run! God in heaven, Run!!
What’s the real issue here? A feminist backlash, I say. Backlashed by the very people who claim membership in that vaunted club. It seems that, to some people’s way of thinking, women should have the freedom to design their own path of productivity unless that path leads to stay-at-home motherhood. Then, they should be ridiculed.
Not eight seconds after I became a mother I knew exactly why mothers flock to mommy blogs and forums. Being a mother is a transformative experience. It’s all consuming. It’s terrifying at times and it can feel like the weight of the world on your shoulders. A precious weight, but a weight all the same. And, like anything that is of the utmost importance to a person, they will tend to want to share it with other people. Talk about it, complain about it, and find the peace that belonging to a community can bring them. Remember those moments of misery I mentioned? They do exist for sure, but just this afternoon, the moment I spent with my son as he expertly placed a ball into its’ proper hole with his soft little puff of a hand and looked at me with such pride, was sublime.
Mmmmmmm, that’s delicious. Drink it up, mamas’!