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?