The Cult of Mommy.

I think there’s some kind of implied apology in the term “Working Mom.” Like, it’s not properly maternal of us to admit that we’re working women without mentioning that we’re also mommies. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t recall hearing much about the “Working Dad.” And yet, working moms seem to be an eternal topic of discussion and scrutiny.

 

I’m kind of new to the whole idea of being a Working Mom. It’s not that I’m new to being an actual working mom. I have always been a working person, and it just so happens that I have children. I am the primary wage-earner in my house, and I tend to define myself more by the stuff I do, rather than by the fact that my husband and I have a couple of kids. I was not, as Leslie Morgan Steiner said at the recent Mommy Track’d/Flexperience Working Mother’s forum, “born the day my child was born.” Because that sort of implies that everything I did before having children was less worthy, somehow, than the fact that I Have Given Birth. But to each his own, we all get to define ourselves however we want.

 

 

But enough about us. No, really. I’m serious. Because whether you are a working mommy or a stay-at-home mommy, we all have one area of common ground: there has been more material written about, for, and by us than ever before in the entire history of the world. In blogs across the nation, many mommies give the impression that giving birth and raising a child is an experience no one has ever gone through quite the same way, ever before. Mommies these days are apparently more conflicted, more pressed for time, more torn in a million directions, more thoughtful, caring, nurturing, ambivalent, involved, sleep-deprived, guilty, over-scheduled -- and clearly -- more obsessed with being Mommies than ever before.

 

 

The cult of Mommy seems to be growing unabated. Being a mommy has become a fetish, and it’s making me irritable. Look, I don’t mean to bite the hand that feeds me. I think the wide variety of parenting-advice books and columns now available -- as well as online forums such as Mommy Track’d -- all provide necessary resources for women (and some men) who are juggling parenthood and work, or who need answers to various parenting dilemmas. Having more resources and information is nothing but a wonderful bit of progress. But at what point will we reach saturation with the seemingly endless stream of Mommy Blogs, “Mommy Lit,” motherhood memoirs, (adorably referred to as “Momoirs,” a coinage that might compel me to bang my head repeatedly against the sharp, unprotected edge of a cold martini shaker) and other Mommy-themed books about some Mommy’s Unique Experience being a Mommy?

 

 

lifeisgood
02.07.08

I've said it before...I SOOOOO wish I had discovered this site 4 years ago. We do not have close family or friends for support and recently moved, so starting again. Great to come to this site to hear I'm not alone!

Zafra
01.23.08

I come from the perspective that it is a product of our isolationist society. Many of us are lucky enough to have extended family, willing friends or community to help with childrearing. I had no close family, all my friends until a recent re-locator are anti-kids; I raise my daughter alone with hubby's help. I reach out to other moms because I lack the resources I think everyone else has. Sure, I can pick up the phone and call my mom or MIL (and I have) but I also have a daughter who is diabetic and that is something that does require 'special knowledge' I can't just get from anyone. The proliferation of information makes it much easier for me to find what I need.
For the record I do have a completely selfish hobby and sci-fi obsession. :) I will not give up those parts of me for anyone because it helps to make me who I am and as stated in the article, my daughter can learn more from that than from me just talking about her being an individual.

Peachs Mom
01.19.08

I'll drink to that (bombay sapphire gin, straight up with extra olives-please)
I love being a mom, but shockingly not the first to do it and more shockingly not what my world revolves around. With a blended family of 4 children, I am still a writer, speaker, hiker, kayaker, lover, aspiring vegetarian cook and full time career woman who is about to go snuggle with my 6 year old, eat pizza and watch a movie.
Oh, I am reading "Three Cups of Tea" and just finished "Eat, Pray, Love".

sweetannieb
11.29.07

Thank god I'm not the only one who feels this way. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only dissident in the cult of mommy. Thank you Christie for (bravely?) putting it out there. You rock, and your first book literally got me through that first insane year of motherhood, when none of my other friends had kids yet and I thought I was going crazy.

A toast to all the cool chicks out there who also happen to be moms.

Beckstress11
11.27.07

I totally agree! I happen to live in Seattle - known to be fairly liberal and organic. I'm all for that, but it's almost crazy to me how many people are so obsessed with being a mom and making their children's lives perfect. It's so true how many women act as if no one else have ever been a mother before. Or, that if they aren't with their children 24x7 somehow they have failed. Here's a reality check: Life isn't perfect and your kids are going to fall down and scrape their legs no matter how much you protect them. I love my kids to death and do buy organic food for them. (hey, I said i lived in Seattle!) But, I also have monthly dinners with my girlfriends, and don't feel guilty for spending money on a fancy haircut on occassion. I want my kids to create their own relationships outside of our family, just as I do. Through that, I hope I'm teaching them the importance of independence, community and building confidence in themselves. (and god forbid, without me always being there!)

Shimmy
11.22.07

Oh my God, Do I KNOW you? Or perhaps you've been eavesdropping inside my head? I'm surrounded by mid-thirties first time earth goddess mothers who can't stop gushing about the beauty of breast feeding and dressing their babies ONLY in organic cotton onsies. Teaching their babies sign language and making everyone who touches them pre-wash their hands in Puragel.
I'm of the belief that alot of this hot air about raising kids is a bunch bull crap from folks deperate to appear like they know what they're doing? Competitive child rearing. Smarter, faster, stronger!
Thing is--you raise the buggers well--and the first thing they'll do is move out and leave you wondering "what the hell happened to the last 20 years??"

I'd like a martini now.
Chuckle.

Babs
11.21.07

The best quote I read was "Babies need interesting Mommas." Dont tell me to get a hobby. I dont have the energy for a "guilty hobby." tell me that it is ok to do and that I should do something that I love and has benefits to me and the world! I am not a marter.

rookiemomwhitney
11.20.07

I think it's a reaction to the experience women had in previous generations. They were not permitted to complain about motherhood or the isolation they felt. Then we, those who delayed the child-rearing, until we had careers, thought we should be loving every minute of it, but are smart enough not to keep our conflicting feelings to ourselves. We are putting it all out there, inviting others to connect with us and rejoicing in knowing that we aren't the only mother on the block who'd rather be on vacation without her kids than with them. Or who want to work full time. Or to not work. Or whatever it is, as Christie says, that we define as right for us. So we are eating up these books and blogs that affirm our feelings. And I totally appreciate the offerings. My mother in law said of "Operating Instructions" that you'd think Anne Lamott was the first woman to ever have a baby. I thought, hey, if you don't like it or need it, don't read it!

pokey_mom
11.20.07

I'm going to agree and disagree. Yes, we need to have friggin' lives. But I think because we have the careers, and the commutes and the social lives, all this mommy talk helps us connect with our huge roles as moms. It's sort of a reaction to the isolation we feel from our mommy-ness, as a result of spending our days in spiffy shoes in front of computer monitors. So I say, mommies, obsess away!