Friday, March 16, 2012

Varied Interests

After walking The Boy, The Girl, and The Tot (Who's Not) to school this morning, I returned home to find this comment, a response by Handmaiden to the Lord, to this post in my email box: "Well unlike you, I LOVE being a stay at home mom. Unlike you, I don't need a babysitter for my kids.... I LOVE my children."

In my head, I was both amused by the assumptions in her comment, and defensive of these attempted negative assignations to my character as a mother.

But then I got mad. The kind of anger fueled by a profound sadness at the way women continue to be cast as the lesser sex--by men, but also by ourselves. I find my own words inadequate, but Emily Hauser, who wrote recently about the GOP, captured my sense of frustration perfectly: "There is a purely incandescent rage that comes over me now on a nearly daily basis over the blatant dehumanization of women that is currently sweeping the nation."

It's not just the notion that behaving a certain way or having interests outside of motherhood makes me an inadequate mother in the eyes of readers, but that even talking about our struggles is not allowed. When The Dad became a father, he wasn't expected to give up his job, interests, or hobbies because he became a father. That's different, you say. Fathers are wired differently. First, hog-wash. And second, I'm not buying that. I don't believe for a second that blogging about the struggle I have with work, home, children, and daily life in any way indicates that I want to cast off my children, or that I don't enjoy motherhood, or that I don't love them and enjoy them as little people in their own right. 

Forgive me another Mad Men reference, but office stick-in-the-mud Peggy Olson summed it up best when she said, at the end of last season: "I signed the first new business since Lucky Strike left...but it's not as important as getting married."

This is not about men subjugating women, although that certainly happens a lot on Mad Men and within the GOP. But what Handmaiden's comment is really about is women subjugating women. 

Ask any one of my children who last bought them shoes, took them to school, prepared any meal, took them to a birthday party, bought a present, went to the grocery store, washed and folded their clothes, baked cookies or helps them with their homework most of the time and the answer is the same: Mama. Some of these tasks I enjoy, others I do not.

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

Is it wrong that I want to write that b**** a letter and leave it her mailbox? Let me tell you...it wouldn't be very sweet.

handmaiden of the Lord said...

Well I made your blog! I don't know if you realize, but I did delete that message after I wrote it and replaced it with a similar one. I realized afterward that it sounded so judgemental~just what no mother needs, so I rewrote it. My apologies for submitting it. I don't know you and had no right to leave that reply. I wouldn't define it as 'subjugating'. It was more, I had a choice to leave my career and stay w/my kids...many other women don't have that choice but wish they did. I don't take it lightly that I live in a neighborhood where many women stay at home and I know many others would like to. I'm sorry if I offended you.

As for, Stephanie (above), not it's not wrong that you want to write that letter! You seem like a good friend who doesn't like her friend to feel badly over something some1 said.