Happy Mother's Day?

Normally Mother's Day is that one day we take in spring to lie about how much we value mothers and motherhood, but this year we have a new selfish spin on devaluing motherhood.

To whit:
  • a tweet from a woman claiming (I'm paraphrasing as I don't remember the exact quote) to tweet on behalf of all the mothers who find being a parent a happy thing that happened in their lives, "but not their reason for being."
  • And the movie "Bad Moms."
First, if you have kids but being a parent isn't the most important thing in your life, you should have gotten a shelter dog, not a created a human being. 

OK, my children aren't pets.
If you brought another human being into the world, either planned or (shudder) by accident, that person is more important than you...at least to you. He or she is not a pet or a hobby, and if you think so, you should have left the baby at a fire station or emergency room at birth.

There are nearly infinite ways to be a good parent, but ALL of them start with prioritizing your kid first, before your job, your pedicure appointment, tee time, or tea time. If you're not willing to do that, why do you deserve a day of recognition for one of your many hobbies? What's next? A day to recognize the invaluable contribution to society of scrapbookers or mountain bikers?

Having said that, I move on to the problem of the "Bad Moms" movie trailer I saw last night. The premise is that a (totally HOT, upper-middle-class "working") mom is overwhelmed by the outrageous expectations she feels she must live up to in order to be the perfect mom, so she and her friends reject them and decide to be "bad moms."

Boy do I understand the pressure to be the "perfect" parent...because if you're not perfect, you must not love your kids, or so the spurious logic goes. I actually feel it more than "working moms" because I don't have the excuse of a job that gets in the way of ideal motherhood. ("Yes, I make mistakes, but I can't help it. I have to work.") But as much as I might enjoy watching a group of moms reject the straightjacketed, stick-up-your-ass, sugar- and gluten-free "perfect motherhood," and forge their own path to really good, responsible, joyful motherhood (which can include cutting loose, making mistakes, the occasional really poor choice, and even sometimes (briefly) regretting ever having had children), I suspect that the movie will piss me off more than make me feel in good company because I am not actually the target demographic. I'm not a "working mom," so I couldn't possibly understand the pressure these women are under, never mind that the schools are actually adapting to their lives, to my detriment.

  • Really? I can't bake something for the class because they now require all shared foods be store-bought? (Mila, those grocery store donut holes would have been A-OK in my district.)
  • Really? The elementary school performances all end at 8:15, after my kid's reasonable bedtime needed for the 6:30 reveille, because you all can't get off work early twice a school year? 

But more importantly, the movie trailer also contains shockingly few shots of either men or children, as if mothers exist entirely independent of fathers and kids, bringing us back around to my first point, that the capitalist feminist view of motherhood is little more than an optional unpaid side quest on the path to self-actualization.

So this year on Mother's Day, in addition to (most) men's insulting lip service claiming to deeply value the self-sacrifices born of love and made by women, some women seem to be arguing that the sacrifices simply aren't necessary. Rather than stepping up and calling for a more equitable sharing of sacrifice and work, or alternately demanding sincere, lasting respect for the most fundamental of "women's work," women themselves are devaluing motherhood as just something that they do part time when it's fun.

So happy mother's day?

Incidentally, my husband does truly value my work as primary parent to our children. My kids don't really appreciate me yet because to them, I'm air—ubiquitous, absolutely vital, and totally taken for granted—but they'll get there one day.

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