September 15, 2007

Oh HELL Yeah

This goes right into the Christian Feminist Hall of Fame.

Most Women Are Nothing More Than Wasted Potential

Some relevant quotes:

Not that there is anything wrong with being a Mother, mind you. I just don’t think women should be Mothers and nothing else. Motherhood should enrich your life; it shouldn’t be your life. No one on this planet should dedicate their entire life to another person…even if that other person is their child. After all, how do you share your wisdom and life experiences with your offspring if you’ve never done anything but raise them?

Motherhood is not a great accomplishment and it never has been. Animals have perfected the art of procreation, for God’s sake. Why should we become egotistical about something an insect can do?

But you want to know what is pretty cool? A woman who is a Mother and a seasoned rock climber who has climbed the tallest mountains in the world is cool. A Mother that also runs a corporation is pretty cool. A woman who is a Mother and an artist is pretty cool. A woman who straps her baby to her back and travels the world is pretty fucking cool.

A woman who does nothing but sit around kvetching about episodes of American Idol is not cool. She’s sad and pathetic and a waste of so much potential. The very least she can do is go outside and plant a fucking garden. I mean, you only get one life on this planet. Everyone should at least try to make a mark while they’re here, even if it’s a small one.

She's put her finger on something that has bugged me for a long time. I've never understood this Cult of Motherhood bit, and why everyone (well, not everyone...certainly not me) is so ga-ga about it. With apologies to the truly infertile, most every female person on this planet can get pregnant. A great deal of women's time and effort, in fact, is spent trying to avoid that very thing.

So why are we so...obsessed with it?

After all, it's not like a baby is that much of a miracle, since another little bugger pops into existence 245 times a minute. Most American and European women don't want to have more than two or three, and said kids will probably take up no more than twenty or twenty-five years of their lives. It seems to me since you're going to live without those kids a lot longer than you'll be living with them, you should be structuring your life not to revolve exclusively around them. You'll certainly be healthier, and I think the kids will be too, to know they're not Mommy's No. #1 Obsession. There's so much in this world to see, and do, and be besides a Mother (TM). If non-Mothering ends up helping the planet or other women, so much the better.

(By the way, I think I've about come to the conclusion that I'm really an Old School Feminist. Gloria, hear me roar!)


Anonymous said...

I agree that no one should structure their life entirely around their children, but I disagree with 'motherhood is not a great accomplishment.' It's easy to be a bad mother, but the effort, thought, stress and love that goes into rearing a child is much greater than that of climbing a mountain or traveling the world. Besides, most mothers in the world can't dream of running a corporation or doing self-satisfying things like traveling. They are too busy working for survival, their own and their children's, and its only a privileged western few that have the chance to have wonderful experiences for their own sake.

The problem is not too much emphasis on the real value of motherhood - in patriarchal discourse it primarily seems to be a duty rather than a worthwhile vocation - but in the fact that it's always the mother and rarely the father that's expected to sacrifice her own interests for the child.

Unknown said...

I agree. So how do we, as a society, force men to step up and sacrifice equally? I've often thought that women should flat-out deny their husbands and boyfriends children unless they agree to share in the work. (Of course, a lot of men say they will and then don't do it, but in that case I suppose there's always the option to leave, taking the kids, if he doesn't live up to his end of the bargain. Or, on second thought, leave him with the kids. That'd make him get with the program.)

Anonymous said...

bonnie wrote:

> Or, on second thought, leave him with the kids.

Actually, that's exactly the arrangement my parents had in case of divorce. Whoever asked for the divorce had to take the kids. Hmmm, well, they're still married, 40+ years later :-).

Dividing the work equally sounds great on paper, but it's REALLY hard in real life. My DH does a lot, but it's not half. I work at a paid job fewer hours a week than he does, so yeah, I do more around-the-house work. Now, I will say he shares pretty equally on the actual child-raising activities. I have NEVER said that he's "babysitting" the kids. If he had acted like that with kid #1, there would never have been a kid #2. DH is just as capable at getting the kids off to school in the mornings or going grocery shopping with them in tow as I am.

While good parenting is definitely "the hardest job you'll ever love" (take that, Marines!), I think the current obsession with motherhood is just another way for our patriarical society to try to keep women in their historical (second) place.

One thing I'd like to note -- I don't think enough credit goes to work-at-home moms (I hate the name stay-at-home moms!) for all the unpaid volunteer work they do. Those "good" suburban schools and those "good" private schools get that way by using hundreds of hours of volunteer work from parents, primarily mothers. The PTA budgets of some schools rival that of small businesses. The negotiation skills required to create an effective PTA board are much the same as those used in politics. These moms organize and stock food pantries and community outreach programs. They're not getting paid for what they do, and it's not a "career" in a traditional sense, but I believe every minute of such work is entirely worthwhile. Calling such women "stay-at-home moms" when THEY'RE HARDLY EVER HOME degrades every bit of work they do.

Whoa, sorry -- ended up on the soapbox there :-). I realize there must be mothers who do "nothing" but stay home to cook, clean, and do laundry -- but I've never met one. All the non-work-outside-the-home moms I've ever met had a full plate of volunteer activites. Yes, those activies are primarily child-related. They don't look good on a resume -- but they should. Scout leaders, sport coaches, after-school tutors, PTA and non-profit board members -- a lot of these "jobs" are held by women who do not get paid for what they do. Yet I don't believe for a minute that our society could survive without people willing to fulfill those roles. Are we saying that those women are a waste of potential???? Because I can't do that.

Shawna Atteberry said...

Oh it doesn't matter if you're infertile. I am. People want to know why my husband and I don't want to adopt. Don't you know there are 100s of kids out there who need a good "mother." Not parents--mother.

The reasons we don't want to adopt is 1) We'd be in our 60s by the time we got rid of the kids, 2) neither of us wants to be parents. We prefer the aunt and uncle gig.

Yeah I don't get the whole motherhood cult either. But then I've had reproductive problems since I was 18, so I pretty much knew I wasn't going to have kids.

Anonymous said...

When I first read that post, (awhile ago mind you), I thought that I would have been in total agreement with it....if I didn't believe in choice.
Women have a right to do what they want. If "all" they want to do is be a mother (and I put all in quotes for a reason) then who is anyone to criticize? People need to worry about their own lives and stop trying to dictate how others should live. As my mother used to tell my nosey self when I was little - MYOB.