Monday, March 21, 2011

Just call me MOMMY

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article in which the author (whose name I don’t want to put out this soon because you will be distracted by it for the rest of the post – OH OK…) TAFFY Brodesser-Akner, says that the group of women who blog about being mothers should not be called “Mommy Bloggers” because it is somehow degrading and discounts their writing by calling them “just mommies”. She believes that using the term “Mommy” makes us relate to each other like children and the fact that we’re not acting like dignified adults in the different ways to raise our children (aka the Mommy Wars) is because we openly use the word “Mommy” to describe ourselves.

(read the original post here)


On first glance, I was totally on board with this. I used to see myself as a feminist. That is, until I had my kid. Because there truly IS no such thing as equal parenting, no matter how much the father tries to help. Mommy is something magical and feminine and no matter how much we may wish it and will it to not be true, and no matter how wonderful a father is, mommy is a very unique relation that cannot be replicated by daddy. But back to my point…

I read this and found that much of it is probably meant to be inflammatory and there I was, suckered into this emotional manipulation .

“I am mystified: Why is anyone other than my 3-year old (and his 8-month old brother eventually, but not yet) calling me Mommy? Why are we grown women calling each other Mommy? Is being a mother such a silly avocation that we have to baby it up, stringing it with the hormones and gushy feelings of what our children call us? Does it strike anyone that calling a woman who has had a child Mommy is demeaning and infantilizing? Does it strike anyone that calling philosophical disagreements Mommy Wars is no different than screaming “GIRL FIGHT!” as two strippers go at it in a mud pit?”
“Wow!” I thought. “This is a really good point. She’s totally right!” I flashed to the whole school-girl fashion trend that happened briefly in the early 2000’s and how I HATED it just because it was, at its essence, a bunch of dumb women being slutty and indulging male dominance fantasies and in a twist of unreality, calling it feminism. “Shit.” I automatically felt my nostrils flair. “The MAN wants to call us Mommy because it means we’re dumb and subservient and full of sunshine and love! It’s another fucking trick for the MAN to keep me down!”

But I kept reading.

“Women began to identify with the name Mommy and started not to mind when businesses would market to them as such: The Mommy Hook is a clip that hangs off my stroller and holds on to shopping bag. The Mommy Necklace is a necklace your child can’t choke on. Mommy Make-Up promises I can “look divine in half the time.”

We are being marketed to as this squishy thing—the Mommy—which confirms our needs but calls us names while doing it. Because when a woman calls herself a Mommy, she is, in some ways, identifying with her captors.”
“YEAH!” I thought! “The only thing I hate more than the MAN keeping me down is advertisers keeping me down! Fuck those dudes on Mad Men! Don Draper isn’t going to trap me in his fancy web!”


Wait, did they have robots in the 1960's?

But then I got to this and my entire take on this article changed:

“Now, I won’t demean the Mommy blogger. I will, however, say that when you call yourself a Mommy, you are signaling to the world that you might not take your writing so seriously and maybe we shouldn’t either.”
Not for nothing, but if I wanted to be a serious writer, I wouldn’t be doing a blog called BecauseMotherhoodSucks. I want my writing to be easily related to and pretty self-deprecating and not a little bit humorous and not take itself seriously. Most of the mothers I see out there blogging are not trying to win a Pulitzer. We’re just laughing it off and trying to connect with other mothers like us.


Doesn't want to be called 'Mommy'
 Just as I was thinking, “This bitch is taking this whole thing WAAAY too seriously,” I read this:

“Maybe you think I’m taking this too seriously. But consider this: When we allow our children to name us, a name they use before they can speak, and then we go by that name in the world, are we doing them any favors? When our children see that we are first and foremost a mother, and a mother in their terms, I believe they suffer.

And they do. Who is this woman who identifies with being called Mommy by strangers? Who is the woman who has abandoned every other thing she is, has been, or ever will be in favor of being known only as her kids’ mother? (And how’s her marriage doing?) Worst yet, who of these women doesn’t know that her children will grow up, move on, call her something more dignified…and then where will she be? What shall we call her then?”
My first thought was, “My kid cannot grow up and move on soon enough" (but that’s another blog), but my very second thought was “Once a woman is a mother, she is always a mother. She is ALWAYS MOMMY to her child…”  To me, being “Mommy” to someone other than my kid is not TRULY an option. It's not like anyone is actually confusing "Selena" the person with whoever they choose to call "Mommy".  I am pretty secure in the fact that writing a blog about motherhood and callling myself "Mommy" to my kid or on my blog is not a big deal...kind of like a straight guy who likes to wear pink. 


He's laughing because he ruined her life.
Does Taffy really think that I am not thrilled about motherhood simply BECAUSE I am a “Mommy Blogger” and this is making me into nothing more than a dumb mother? Have I lost my identity BECAUSE I identify with the “Mommy”? Is Lila a brat BECAUSE I am “Mommy” first and foremost? Maybe I am not who I think I am? Maybe sound like someone who’s smoked too much pot? Who’s looking in my window?

PLENTY of moms lose who they are when the baby shows up.  That's part of why the Mommy Blogger thing is so popular.  We see ourselves in this place that is logically kind of absurd, and yet it feels like the most natural thing in the world.

“I have a horrible suspicion that different mothers with different views would hate each other less, that there would be no Mommy War, if there were no Mommy, if we all agreed that we are adults. Because agreeing to disagree is an adult thing, and it is the point at which civility is born. How can you have an adult conversation when you’re talking like a baby?”
OH, FUCK YOU TAFFY! Some mothers are just assholes. Just like not all kids are cute and some are actually homely little shits, some mothers are just fucking douchy. That mother who thinks you are a terrible mother because you aren’t into homeschooling your kid and making them eat organic tofu when they shoot out of the womb isn’t worth trying to convince otherwise. She will look stupid to me, and I will look neglectful to her. The mother who works two jobs who believes that she has no choice isn’t GOING to be convinced by the 24/7 housewife that letting her kids go without dinner as long as she gets to spend more time with them is the way to make them happier, more well-adjusted children. Sometimes we just don’t get to do all the things we want to do as mothers.


Only gives her kid name-brand termites.

So much of it comes from assholes like Taffy who sit on her side of the “Mommy” fence, I assume is built out of a couple of wonderful parents and plenty of support and help and a super strong self-identity and will likely never have to write a bullshit “Mommy blog” to vent her frustrations because she is completely satisfied with the life choices that led her to be able to write for such “dignified” venues as the Wall Street Journal. Not all of us feel that way.
 
My side of the Mommy Fence needs some work.
Some of us DID sideline our dreams of writing and chased other dreams instead. So now we blog. Some of us didn’t know we liked sharing ourselves with an audience until we started blogging about our kids. So now we blog. Some of us really enjoy just throwing shit out there, not to get paid for it as a professional to be taken totally seriously, but instead to write about our frustrations and pride in being the Mommy. So now we fucking BLOG!!!

I disagree with the idea that calling us “Mommy Bloggers” or “Mommy” ANYTHING is a bad thing. There IS something silly and childish about it. But you know what else it is? It’s temporary. We all KNOW that the time when our kids call us “Mommy” is so limited and transient. It will be over before we know it and we want to suck it up and hold on to that closeness and cuddling and the ability to satisfy most of what this little person needs in life right now. Because before we know it, we’ll just be “mom” and we’ll be embarrassing and ruining their lives with our curfews and rules.

So fuck you Taffy. Me and my Mommy Blogger friends don’t need the irony of someone named “Taffy” telling us how what we are called shapes how people see us.


From now on, just call me "Mommie Dearest Blogger"


13 comments:

  1. This was a great response to a really pretentious article. It isn't like anyone other than my kids address me as Mommy!

    When my first son was little, my husband hadn't gotten used to calling me "Mommy" so my son didn't call me that until well after he was two. Trust me, it's didn't make me feel somehow more serious or feminist to have my 18-month-old son call me Vickie!

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  2. Fuck you Taffy! What a pretentious bitch. If I want the entire damned world to call me "mommy" I will. I pushed a fucking human out of my holiest of holies. They will address me as Fairy Queen of Vaginaland if I want them to. I will legally change my name to Mommy Blogger if I so choose, and that has nothing to do with me losing my identity as a woman just because I became a mom. SO EAT IT, TAFFY.

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  3. Dear Taffy,

    Go fuck yourself. BTW, nice name.

    Love,
    Mommy (just not yours)

    PS. I love Mommy Boots, aka Fairy Queen of Vaginaland.

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  4. Mommy Boots: Please be my BFF! I love you.

    Sincerely, Mommie Dearest.

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  5. I love everything about this post. You are awesome, Selena.

    And Mommy Boots - I love everything about your comment. You, too, are awesome.

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  6. OK, first, is Taffy a Mom, Mommy, or Mother. If the answer is no, than she has no idea what she is talking about. If she is indeed a parent, then she definitely has some personal issues to deal with.

    I have 2 grown daughters that at times still call my "mommy" and I love it. Do they ever grow out of it? Who cares! I'm a Mom, Mommy, Mother AND Grandma!! And proud of each one of those names. (And a few others too!)

    Taffy, really darlin, get a grip on yourself, because not everyone is going to be visiting this fantasy that you call your world.

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  7. I am so behind. I didn't know being a "mommy blogger" was ever a derogatory comment. Oh well, stupidity is bliss I guess!

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  8. Oh my. There so much good shit here I don't even know what to say!!

    You pictures and captions made my fucking day. no. week. 'Brand name termites'? Fucking BRILLIANT.

    I think most Mommies ARE Douchy. And most MOMMY BLOGS to me, are lame.

    But not you. Seriously.

    And? I LOVE that when I'm around a friend who is calling me by my first name... my kids will stop calling me Mommy and call me Tulpen. It sounds incredibly cool in their little cartoon voices.

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  9. I would much rather be called mommy than Taffy.... just sayin.

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  10. brilliant response to a completely judgemental and condescending article. fuck taffy. in fact, i plan on having t-shirts made up that say:
    "fuck you, taffy. you cold, brittle and unloveable bitch. it's obvious that your anger at your child's refusal to acknowledge you as it's mother has unleashed a vitriolic diatribe of hitlerian proportions."

    if that won't all fit on the front, i plan on the shirts just saying: "fuck you, taffy."

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  11. I am so glad we all agree that Taffy is a whore. Let's send her hate emails. I wonder if she has a facebook page/. ;-)

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  12. Thanks for breaking down this article for all us dumb " mommies!". I love your photo captions! Lol!

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  13. What an amazing post. You make so many great points. I hate being called mama 87449 times a day but don't like my kids calling me by my name either. I've been looking into other names my kids can call me, I'm thinking Life Giver, or Your Royal Highness Queen of Our Hill. Maybe even mom in some other language wouldn't be so bad. I did lose my own identity for a while in this trip down motherhood road but mommy blogging is helping me to get it back. Thanks for helping me see it doesn't matter what I call myself or what type of blog I write. I'm in it for Fick. I'm writing for me. Love you Selena even though I have only just met the virtual you!

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