Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Women are Always in Basic Training

For the Mommy Wars.

And this basic training doesn't necessarily have to be on the SAHM v WOHM battle, either. It goes much deeper than that, essentially pitting women against women with prejudiced and smug proclamations to the tune of "Well I would never..." or expressions of indignation over the [in]actions of "those moms."

Like the millitary's basic trainings, the basic training we receive to honorably fight for our positions in the Mommy Wars reeks of brain washing; brain washing we have received from the explicit and implicit nuances of our well-intentioned families of origin, all-knowing churches, keeping-up-with-the-pack neighborhood trends, etc. We internalize these ideals to the point that women attack other women in the Mommy Wars with surprising stealth, almost as if we didn't actually know what we were saying.

For instance, Mir recently wrote about one of these covert attacks of ideals perpetuating this battle among women:

“Oh, well, I made a decision, you know, that I wasn’t going to be one of THOSE women,” she laughed. “You know, the ones who say they haven’t showered all week because they can’t manage it. What is that? Life goes on, you know?”....

...And so I listened to these two young women continue talking about how becoming a mother doesn’t have to change anything and I suddenly felt SO OLD and unhip...

...I actually DID manage to shower every day after having a baby, but I also generally spent that shower standing in the water SOBBING, and this conversation made me feel like I had been stupid and weak to find motherhood overwhelming...

It's like we don't even think before we throw a bomb on some other unsuspecting woman.

In my own example, a comment was made last Tuesday night while I was out on a girls’ night with a few women from church and some other ladies who were friends of the girls' night organizer. One lady lady from church who does not yet have children, looks like a model, and is sooooo damned perfect (in that really genuine, I-hate-to-love-her way, not that I’m-so-perfect-and-you’re-not way) was having a side conversation with one of the new ladies about how children are such a blessing. I mean, children are. JUST. preshus, and nothing but precious ALL the time! She told a story of how a co-worker who was struggling with fertility issues and she had one time told off another co-worker (who sounded on par for the role of harried mother)who was less than thrilled with the role strain of motherhood. Perfect 10 continued, saying she just doesn’t “get” how women get caught up in feeling like their kids are burdens to them.

I about bit my tongue off. I remembered the early days with LMNOB - thinking that this was it, I'd just gotten an extremely stubborn and needy child, and how heartbroken I was when we had a Baaaaaaaaaaaaaad day, and now knowing my child has special needs, needs which are a burden greater than those of a "normal" child. I remembered post-partum depression and the exacerbation brought by my errant husband who retreated into himself during the baby years. I thought of women who didn't have quite enough to support their children, and the burden they feel to be the it-girl for their babies. I thought of women who've done everything they could to raise a morally upright individual, only to have their baby grow up to be a delinquent, now awaiting prison.

And, she didn't mean to offend. She was just sayin' but I felt like shouting, "Help, I've been wounded by the enemy party!" as I felt her judgment search me out like a heat seeking missile, only to hit with striking force as her weapon identified me as one of them.

Motherhood is hard, ya'll - and it is full of guilts (burdens) and giggles (blessings) - why do we have to polarize into different camps? I have some satisfaction knowing what lies ahead for her, and all the other parents of the yet unborn...Just wait, it is highly likely they will eat their words some day.

1 comment:

  1. Amen sister! Sometimes we think so much alike it's scary! ;)