Monday, November 10, 2014

Our Mommy Problem

I read a fantastic, very insightful essay in the NY Times yesterday, called the Our Mommy Problem;  it speaks to a lot of issues, really, but mostly, it reflects on the extent to which motherhood has become an identity, one which, it's assumed, defines and consumes us to the exclusion of everything else. I love this bit:
"We are outclassed at every turn. We are outspent and out-helicoptered and outnumbered. It used to be good enough just to keep your house from being coated in a thin layer of dog hair and human feces."
Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!

But this is really the bottom line:
"Somehow, as we’ve learned to treat children as people with desires and rights of their own, we’ve stopped treating ourselves and one another as such. But that’s not hard to understand when the reigning cultural narrative tells us that we are no longer lively, inspired women with our own ideas and emotions so much as facilitators, meant to employ at all times the calm, helpful tones of diplomats."
As a mother who beats herself up about her seeming inability to employ those calm, helpful, diplomat tones, I'm grateful to Heather Havrilesky for opening up a discussion about what motherhood means, and what it doesn't necessarily.

To paraphrase one of my favorite songs from the late 80s:

"My first name ain't Mommy. It's Janet. Miss Jackson if you're nasty."