It’s not often I rant. Okay, fine, I rant all the time. But usually my tirades hinge on what is literally transpiring in my own familial backyard. But today I’m compelled to blather and opine on external events. Recently, I came across a shared post on Facebook that showcased a French author who discussed her opinions on modern motherhood and how educated women who choose to stay home and raise their families have:
a) Willfully contributed to a dangerous counter-feminist mindset that can potentially set back womankind as a whole.
b) Essentially “lost their minds” as well as sight of the big picture where, after we raise our families, we’ll have to all be put out to pasture professionally because we will have virtually nothing worthy to offer our prospective corporate cultures.
She actually used the word “infantile” to describe the personal parenting choice of staying home…
Perhaps this is just my “intellectual dowry” at work here, but couldn’t one argue that recklessly stereotyping and demeaning an entire motherhood demographic actually delivers a more devastating impact on the fortitude of women’s rights than, say, Gig’s Girl’s innocuous decision to hang with the boy creatures here at the homestead?
Personally, I’ve been a working mom, a working single mom, a blended family working mom, a stay at home mom, and most recently, a work at home/stay at home mom. One might think that my diverse maternal experience may have rendered me exempt from the proverbial hairy eyeball of judgment. Right?
During every single phase of my mommyhood I’ve received some sort of external discrimination…some maliciously overt and some neatly packaged in passive-aggressive prose. Either way, it’s hurtful. What’s even more interesting – 99% of the unsolicited opinions on my working/parenting status came from WOMEN. When I worked, clearly I was a “removed mom who cared more about my career and personal corporate advancement than the welfare of my child,” when I decided to stay home I was “over-involved and indulgent with obviously no sense of my own value or self-worth” and then when I became a work at home I instantly morphed into an “inattentive and neglectful parent who surely allows TV to raise her children so she can surf the web all day seeking online employment. ”
And heck, it’s not even restricted to just whether or not I work – don’t even get me started on breastfeeding…or (gasp!!) the decision to circumcise or not circumcise. I actually had a female family member who, upon finding out O was a boy, sent me a large zip file of photos entitled “circumcision mutilations” just in case I was considering “maiming” my “perfect son.”
And the worst part? In my weakest, most insecure moments, I’ve had these thoughts myself. Mostly it’s been internal dialogue directed at myself because it’s the mentality I’ve been socially fed for years. But, there have also been some unfortunately self-righteous thoughts aimed squarely at other women/moms simply because, in that moment, it helped justify my own parenting approach. But, the longer I parent, the more firmly aware I become of the fact that really not a one of us knows what the heck we’re doing. Ultimately, we love our kids, we do the very best we can and we pray nonstop that we will somehow deliver them wholly into adulthood with as little emotional scar tissue as possible…all the while fully knowing that in 20 years or so, our precious offspring will inevitably conclude that everything is all.our.fault.
The secret is out – we’re all winging it. Shouldn’t we at least try to support each other through it?
Ladies, we are far more powerful en masse. Let us forever stop being a gender divided simply because it is the ridiculous tradition that has long been handed down to us. Let us refrain from tearing each other down for personal gain or even just the brief high of a catty adrenaline rush. Let us abstain from celebrating the mean, divisive behavior that all too often gets top honors in the media and reality television. LET US STOP CARING ABOUT THE KARDASHIANS! Well, except maybe Khloe…
The point is – Get married/don’t get married. Have a baby/don’t have a baby. Breastfeed/bottle feed. Work/stay home. Have an early mid-life crisis and completely revamp your entire existence to find your own version of happiness. Whatever. Let us all embrace the power of our own personal life choices with grace and gratitude and vicariously appreciate the vastly varying decisions made by our surrounding sisters.
Eyes on our own papers, people.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find a tree to hug…