Thursday, May 3, 2012

Distraction: Philosophy and "The Mommy Wars"

I am a stay at home mom (mostly). I read. I often read snippets here and there, whole books, non-fiction, fiction, you name it. I like blogs and articles, too. A couple of years ago, I read a book about the mommy wars and since then I have tried to keep at least one finger on the pulse of the arguments (conversations?) between women who are mothers. In my own way, as time passes, I can't help but feel like everyone is missing the deeper points of introspection offered by it all.
1. Clearly, all women have different personalities and different life experiences and different opinions. It's totally fine; and it totally makes other women angry. I'm not exactly sure why, but I would guess it has something to do with the insane amount of pressure women are under - mostly from themselves- to believe in what they are doing, the choices they make, without adhering to a group wholeheartedly that they agree with. I think women are awesome and most days I kind of feel like a big failure - this doesn't really make sense and I think it is more common than it feels.
2. Why do we need to feel that we are marking off boxes and stepping up to the plate by following a structure provided to us - which clearly, we have been trained to rely on - in order to feel like we are doing alright? in order to feel like we are keeping the confusion monster at bay? what is the confusion monster? what is wrong with being confused and thinking, for days,weeks, about how we approach our lives rather than where we fit in? is it okay to slow down and wonder? does a job give us worth that we otherwise wouldn't be able to acquire? does being a parent? WHY? some of the questions I come up with when I read... and talk... to moms.
3. I think #1 is a distraction. I think #2 is what our time would be better spent thinking about and engaging in 'conversations' regarding. Peel back the onion, ladies and gentleman. Stop and think and wait - but most importantly, learn to identify when the world is trying to distract you from the things that mean a lot to you by teaching you not to see them at all in the first place.

I would love to talk about this - what do you think?

Linda R. Hirshman

Leslie Morgan Steiner

Elisabeth Badinter


Mrs. F said...

Wow, that is a mouthful, I didn't read the articles, but what you said is enough to think about. I will admit that I am guilty about judging other mothers, but I don't think that it's for no reason. Usually, the only thing I judge mothers about is their lack of mothering. I feel as though so many mothers out there-please this is only MY opinion, no one has to agree-don't really feel it necessary to punish their children. And I am not saying that I relish in punishing my kids, I actually hate it and tell them so when I am doing it. But the fact that I do punish my children, I believe, forms an infinitely stronger bond than if I would let them walk all over me. I get that some mothers, and fathers too, don't want to be the bad guy, but that is why (and I have witnessed this in the public school system so much) many kids don't seem to even be phased by supposed authority figures such as teachers. Authority sounds so bad, but you know what I mean. My youngest in kindergarten tells me at least three times a week that some child in her class got sent to the principals office, and we live in a great community with great, involved parents. I could go on and on about the instances that have arisen with both my girls at school and kids just being plain assholes-pardon my French. I truly believe that kids are born innocent, and are totally shaped by their environment and their up bringing (or lack thereof). So pushover moms out there, stand up for yourself and others (teachers, parents, community volunteers)!! Try being a mean mom sometimes, it's ok, you won't scar your kids for life, they will actually respect you more for it trust me!

Katie said...

I see what you are talking about. I understand, too, it is hard to see how kids respond to the world around them due to how their parents choose to engage with them. I'm not sure how I feel about the word "punishment" mostly because of the connotations it has for me. I try really hard to interact with my kids in a way that they will find in the real world, once I am not around - and there will not always be someone there to tell them what to do or how to act. I am structured and consistent but I try to stick with consequences that my kids don't identify only with me. Mostly, the golden rule, and I reinforce it constantly and talk to them about their decisions. Mothering is.... challenging, like all worthwhile things in life - simultaneously personal and public and requiring constant self reflection (at least, in my opinion). I can tell children whose parents are reflective and engaged in raising 'people' and I can tell the children whose parents check out and adhere to what society throws at them. In that way I am guilty of being judgemental as well. Thanks for engaging 'Mrs F'!