Friday, March 19, 2010

The Can't-Win Situation

There are lots of articles currently being written about mothers who blog. They are labeled “Mommy Bloggers”, in the condescending tone that surprises no one. Even in the 21st century. Specifically, much has been said about how they neglect their kids for their own selfish needs, promoting their interests and pumping up their egos.


So once again, it’s the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t conundrum.

If you’ve decided to be a stay-at-home mom (SAHM, if you please) and are your own childcare center, you’re probably not doing it to focus on self-promotion. I firmly believe that most SAHMs are doing it because they would like to raise their children themselves, and prefer not to have to use the dreaded and much-maligned daycare (cue the spooky music.)

I should probably note that there are zillions more women who would love to have this option, but economic realities prevent them from being able to do so.

This is not to say that I believe that there are none out there who simply see it as an excuse not to hold a paying job. I get that. But I also believe that’s an insignificant part of the equation, based on my extensive experience as someone who does no actual scientific research, and relies exclusively on my Master’s Degree from Seat of the Pants University.

By the way, did you know that 82.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot? But that’s not important right now.

“Mommy bloggers”, if you will, (and you probably will), are everywhere. And why not? There are times when the baby is sleeping/playing/learning without your constant input. So women can find moments in their days (or nights) to plink out their thoughts and ideas, and have a venue to share those thoughts and ideas with others. Some bloggers only post once a week; does it make sense to think that their children are being neglected and ignored in the interest of that level of output? Even those who post daily can’t be hung out to dry as derelict in their maternal duties for the production of 300-600 words.

My thinking is that there are plenty of stay-at-home moms who DON’T blog, and still neglect their kids. And there are working-outside-the-home moms who are perfectly wonderful, loving, devoted women who put their kids first and possibly blog, too. Who knows? I just wonder when we as a society will stop the hypercritical approach to women overall.

This is not to say that we can’t use the laser-like knife of focused criticism when appropriate. To wit:

My current peeve is the number of mothers I see on the phone in public. Now, even the time moms spend with their kids doing errands-- in the car, in the mall, at the supermarket-- they're on the phone. I mall-walk for exercise, and in the course of forty minutes worth of laps around the concrete and marble, I see a lot of moms and pre-school kids. The kid is left to shlep along behind, or alongside, virtually unnoticed by the mom. She’s on the phone.

Then you see them in restaurants, doing the same thing. They don't talk to their kids, or more important-- LISTEN to their kids; they're on the damn phone! Not for a quick, “Hi, honey, don’t forget we’re having your parents over for dinner tonight,” but conversations that take up the entire meal. What message are those moms (or DADS) sending to their kids?

You know about the “Hang Up and Drive” campaign to get drivers to cede their cell phones? I’m ready to launch a “Hang Up and Parent” campaign to try to make a difference.

What do you think? Would it be do-able?

5 comments:

  1. Really good post, Leah. I'm with you - I'm a little tired of people getting sniffy over mommy bloggers.

    It's okay for new mothers to dump their kids in childcare at the age of three months to continue their careers - but we sniff at them if they post 2,000 words every few days? Seems short-sighted to me.

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  2. This is an excellent post. Its the best one I read all day. I lost count of how many I read. That's between you and me! Women are eternally judged: weight, looks, activities, the company she keeps, etc...I think it just keeps getting worse. That's it for me as far as blogging goes. I'm happy I came by. This will end my blogging addiction for the day on a sweet note.

    Best regards,

    Anne-Marie

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  3. Hi Leah! Yep, I'm with Matthew - that's a really good post.

    (Even if you are totally neglecting COTU while you do it, you wicked woman.)

    I fail to understand the mom-hating. We all blog for different reasons and do (or don't) fit it around our other responsibilities. So why pick on moms?

    I'm told there may even be dads that blog too (hush my mouth). Which is completely different, of course.

    Indigo

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  4. Yeah, I rarely talk on the phone when I'm with my kids. Most of the time I forget my phone at home.

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  5. I couldn't agree with you more. I use my phone in a setting like that for an answer to some question I have, not to visit with someone. And I don't have kids in tow. It just seems so rude and isolating to be walking in public having a conversation with someone who isn't even there.

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