All hell broke loose on the Internet this week. Don't worry- if you're not a mom, you don't know about it. Or care. You know that lady that sits on her stoop, and never says hello to anyone but knows everyone's business? I'll be her today and fill you in.
So there's this site called Scary Mommy, right? It's founded by a woman named Jill Smokler. She's risen to mommy fame by being a real woman with flaws- and writing about it. She swears, she bitches, she has a sense of humor. Obviously, I love her. In addition to her aforementioned qualities, she offers bloggers an amazing opportunity. A chance to do a guest post on her wildly popular site, scarymommy.com. She's like, Hey, I'm famous. You're not. Use my platform. It's pretty great.
This week, the guest post was from Abby at abbyhasissues.com. It was entitled, Lessons From a Non-Mom. It was a tongue in cheek rant about how not to lose friends on Facebook. Basically, just a bunch of jokes about parental over sharing. I thought it was funny. I took the time to link over to Abby's site and realize that she is a woman that I really, really like. I wish we were friends before her post- because I could have warned her that she was going to unleash the furies of hell by posting that. Moms were pissed. Readers and bloggers defending Abby were pissed. Everyone was pissed. Over a funny little blurb written on the Internet. Which brings me to two points.
1. Some people need to chill out and find their sense of humor, and
2. All people need to realize where the root of all of this angst is coming from.
One is self-explanatory. We would all do well to take ourselves a little less seriously and learn how to take a joke. Myself included.
Two is a little more complicated. Bear with me, while I deconstruct society.
Pre woman's movement, women basically had to have children. There was a formula you followed for your life. You went to school, met a nice man, got married, and had kids. I'm simplifying, as there are rebels in every generation- but the majority of women in America followed suit. There just wasn't much of a choice in the matter.
Women's movement happens. Hooray! We burn our bras. We leave the house. We enter the workforce. Cool. Now women have a choice in the matter. They don't have to be moms. Naturally, many women decide not to. But society as a whole still thinks its their intrinsic job, and even more stifling than that- their actual biological nature. Yes, as much as we've advanced with issues of equality, many people still believe that a woman is going against the natural order if she doesn't make use of her uterus.
Vicious cycle begins. Women without children have to constantly defend their choices. I don't want kids. No I will not be changing my mind. I'd rather have a life, thanks. This constant need to be on the defense makes them naturally more offended by all things Mommy. It's annoying as hell to see some women's choices validated and celebrated, while others are not. And this goes both ways. Women who have decided to procreate take it as a personal affront when women talk about not wanting kids. What, does she think she's better than me because she doesn't have kids? She's just selfish. And bitter. And resentful! Instead of celebrating each others choices, and realizing that we have come a long way baby, we tear each other apart. Not good. But not our fault, either.
Women are constantly having to validate their choices, because even though we are free to not procreate- nobody actually believes its what any woman actually wants. We don't believe this, because society has programmed us all- yes all- to believe that a woman's intrinsic value lies in her body. And we all better keep it pretty, and thin, and use that fucking uterus- because that's what is expected of us. You never, ever, ever hear a man defending his choice to get a vasectomy. And you certainly don't hear him having to justify not having children.
Societal roles are changing, and women can lead child-free lives now. That is a big deal. It's making the world better for all women. But, all the change is not going to matter unless we deprogram ourselves. Your job as a mom isn't any less important if its not a job that all women want. It starts with us, ladies. Let's stop being defensive about each other's choices and keep the ball of change that our grandmothers and mothers worked so hard for, rolling.