Gig Girl: A Modern Mom Helping Set Back All Of Womankind?

by Gig Girl on October 1, 2012

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…

Sigh.

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?

Not quite.

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. ”

Sigh.

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.”

Sigh.

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…

 

 

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill April 26, 2012 at 8:28 am

Amen Sistah!!! :)

Gig Girl April 26, 2012 at 8:50 am

Thanks Jill! :)

JGC April 26, 2012 at 9:07 am

Excellent! Please put the Tiger mom and that French raving author to shame with this. I mother each day on a wing and a prayer :) It’s all good!

IMM April 26, 2012 at 9:08 am

I am always surprised when women judge each other in regard to family choices. To me, feminism at its deepest core is the desire for each woman to freely choose her path – without dominance, judgement or expectation. So those staying home by choice are exercising their feminist perspective just as much as any other mom. As long as someone else doesn’t decide for you, or “expect” you to stay home – then wave that female empowerment flag!

SD April 26, 2012 at 10:03 am

Well said my friend! This struck a chord with me. There should be no judging! You do what’s best for your family, I do what’s best for mine! Since I have been a stay at home mom for almost 11 years (wow), I have received varying comments over the years. My favorite might be, “Well, you have time to make dinner for your family, you’re home all day.” Really? Or from a close family member, “What are you going to do with your Spanish minor?” Shoot. My kids know their numbers in Spanish from 1-10. Is that good enough? Apparently not.
All these comments do is make us second guess ourselves. They are no good. I’m doing the best I can here folks. So, let’s banish all judgement! I love your quote at the end: “Eyes on your own papers, people”. Thanks for making my morning!

Kelly April 26, 2012 at 11:30 am

OK, I am guilty of judging another woman. That author! Ack! She made me mad. For all you other moms: do what you do. Your inner voice gives you better advice than any ranting lunatic’s book.

JLC April 26, 2012 at 11:33 am

Well said! I couldn’t agree more!

JF April 26, 2012 at 11:55 am

i agree, one size does NOT FIT ALL! “to you be your way and to me be mine” and we all peacefully co-exist! LOL, i’m hugging the tree right next to Cortney!

KS April 26, 2012 at 11:56 am

Love this ♥ Thanks for you sharing!

MH April 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm

WHOOP, whoop, holla! Love it, and thanks for sharing! Can I get an “AMEN” up in here?

Lexy April 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I couldnt agree with you more! Its not easy being a woman in today’s society!
People have to stop worring about others and focus on themselves!
I must admit, I do judge others but I am working hard not to do that anymore, soo not worth it!
Btw, love Kardashian shows! :)

Gig Girl April 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm

LOL – Lexy! I will admit I could not stop watching the whole Kris Humphries season – HA! I’m going to work on my not-judging first and then focus more on my guilty pleasure viewing afterwards :)

Melissa April 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm

The whole argument is, to me, ironically anti-feminist, because wasn’t the feminist
movement about giving us choices? So what makes my choice to be a SAHM less valid
than another woman’s choice to pursue a graduate degree and a career? At the end of
the day, shouldn’t we be grateful we live in a country where we have a choice at all?
Because there are so many women in other parts of the world who never get a choice.

Karen April 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I liked your post. I agree too that we need to stop judgingother moms for trying to
do what is best for their families. I am amom that runs a child care out of my home
so a hybrid of SAHM WAHMand working mom so… I’ve heard all kinds of judgment about
how I am “ruining” my child for trying to do what is best for them.

TM April 26, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Aside from the assinine people who write the articles (withoutever having given
birth, in most cases), my belief is this: Once we become comfortable with our own
choices and decisions (allof them, but in this case work/sahm/wahm) we stop having
the need to criticize the choices of others to make ours seem, at the very least,
adequate and in most cases, superior.
You said: “Ultimately, we love our kids, we do the very best wecan and we pray
nonstop that we will somehow deliver them wholly into adulthood with as little
emotional scar tissue as possible…al lthe while fully knowing that in 20 years or so,
our precious offspring will inevitably conclude that everything isall.our.fault.”
And you’re exactly right. The problem is, no one can decide what that “very best” is
for us, even though “they” try their hardest to do just that.
I think with age and experience we all come to terms with ourown choices. The
reason that this debate continues – NON-STOP- is that every few minutes a new crop
of new moms blossoms – and they turn into the insecure women that ALL new moms start
out as. The problem is, you can’t GIVE someone perspective and experience – they have
to earn it for themselves.
BTW, loved your post.

Caren April 27, 2012 at 6:56 am

Great Blog—The whole point (us Baby Boomers started) is that we can decide what we
want or do not want. “Choice” that’s what it’s all about. The problem is women
don’t support each other. So, you must do what is right for you and your family
and the hell with everyone’s opinion. Your happy, your kids are happy and hubby’s
happy. That’s what it’s all about.

Michelle April 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

“we will have virtually nothing worthy to offer our prospective corporate cultures” — Really?! That’s what I’m supposed to be making my choices based on?

thedoseofreality April 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm

LOVE this post so very much! You are right on the money! Cracked up at the eyes on your own papers line! Great work. I recently wrote about the mommy war I really want to start. Want to join me?
http://www.thedoseofreality.com/2012/04/17/you-want-a-real-mommy-war/

BarefootMedStudent April 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm

This is about the gazillionth post I’m reading about people judging each other and being too competitive. I recently wrote a post about judging and competition ruins the medschool experience. I look so forward to being a mother one day, and it saddens me that so many moms experience things like you mention in your blog.

By the way, you are not derailing the women’s movement. You are doing a great thing for your kids. Not all mothers have the opportunity to do so, but it’s great that you do what you believe in.

Visiting via SITS Sharefest :)

Jenn @ Coolest Family on the Block April 29, 2012 at 2:17 am

Great post! Luckily I’ve never had anyone make any judgments about my parenting style…at least not to my face. I don’t care what other people do in their family (within reason). I might not understand why someone chooses to do what they do and I might not agree with it but I certainly don’t say anything about it because it’s none of my business.

I read that article and that lady sounds batty. If she doesn’t want kids…awesome, if she wants to have kids but get an epidural, give them formula, put them in disposable diapers, feed them jarred baby food, and put them in daycare so that she can work…good for her, whatever. She makes it sound as though women are being forced. Who are these people that are breaking into houses and forcing people to breastfeed? And what benefit does an epidural have specifically for a working mom over a natural birth? For someone who seems so pro-education she certainly doesn’t seem educated on natural childbirth, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, and homemade baby food and basically considers them all a time-suck that only a woman (and sahm specifically) is capable of doing. I think she was demeaning to women and men. But if her bottom line was to sell books, it just might work. She sounded so crazy I almost want to buy her book just to see what other outrageous things she has to say!

Stopping by from SITS Saturday Share

Lori April 29, 2012 at 7:57 am

Guilt that i’m derailing feminism by staying home with mychildren? No way! Weirdly
enough, feminism itself is aself-inflicted need by women to prove the power of
woman. I couldcare less about measuring my femininity by someone else’syardstick.
What better statement for females everywhere thanto stand up and proudly say “we do
what we love to do and don’thave to prove ourselves to anyone”. I choose to stay
homewith my children and could not be any prouder of this choice.“Gig Girl said…
Because apparently I am by choosing to be a stay at home mom. Wow -I can’t tell if I
should feel overwhelmed with guilt or impressed by my own (unknown) personal power.”

Cindy April 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Its interesting I always thought feminism was the right to makechoices, since
becoming a stay at home mom I have seen a wholedifferent side of feminism. (that I
do not like) Growing up myparents did not hid the fact what happens to women in 3rd
worldcountries or the sex slave industry, (we lived in Africa for a bit)and I was
raised the feminism is the right to chose your life and freedom. By putting down
other women’s choice you are actually being anti feminist. I choose to be a
christian, I choose to submit to my husband, (though he states other wise cause I am
so independent but heck he loves that about me) and I choose to put mychild’s well
being before my career. Since becoming a stay at home mom I have been getting a lot
of “your not feminist” but as my husband would say, “I am one of the strongest
independent feminist women he knows.”

Sandra May 2, 2012 at 12:53 am

Great article! I, too, have always thought that “feminism” was about a woman’s right to CHOOSE. I guess it’s really only “feminism” if you grab a briefcase and hurry out the door every morning; if you “go to work”. Stay-at-home women don’t “work”, after all. I just wrote about the latest Hilary Rosen comment about stay-at-home’ers NOT working … when she made the comments about Mitt Romney’s wife “never having worked a day in her life”. (it is on my blog) I am now a grandmother, but was once a mom-of-four who was at home to care for the family – as well as being in ministry (missionary in France/ pastor’s wife), and, believe me, all of that entailed WORK! I don’t know when the term “stay at home mom” became popular – I guess while we were living in France. I always thought a mother was a mother, whether she worked at home or worked outside of her home (in which case she was working double-time!) – which is fine with me, as long as she is caring for her family correctly.

Trish July 7, 2012 at 11:07 am

Great post, Gig Girl! To the point about support and aren’t-we-all-just-doing-our-best … regardless of the road taken … shouldn’t it all be taken down a notch? From my perch, I see more of the good defense is a good offense strategy of getting attitude and judgemental comments to my decision to not have children (and therefore, I work) from women who take the opposite path (children, choose not to work). Sometimes you don’t have choices – sometimes you do. Save the energy for places that need that passion.

On a side note – someone once said (not to my face) that I set the women’s movement back because I knit. I am also a pilot – does that mean the women’s movement is OK?

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