My name is Mary Tyler Mom and I am a mommy blogger.
It's true. I am a mom and I blog. It stands to reason that I am, therefore, a mommy blogger. Except many folks do not think that is a good thing. Many, many folks think being a mommy blogger is a bad thing, in fact. And full disclosure, more than a few mommy bloggers hate the term and probably hate me for using it.
Par for the course. I tick people off without even trying. It is a special talent to tick people off when you're not even trying. People either love me or hate me for that. They stand around shaking their heads and saying, "That, Mary Tyler Mom! Just look at the nonsense she's gotten herself into now." Or, conversely, "That Mary Tyler Mom. What a self-righteous bitch." I know where I stand, and it's all good. And full disclosure, it even happens within my own family, except they don't call me Mary Tyler Mom. Ahem . . .
I took a completely unscientific poll on my Facebook page last night, asking my readers what comes to mind with the term "mommy blogger." Here is a sampling of the negative connotations of the term offered by my readers. Of my mommy blog. Hold on, folks, this gets a little rough:
- eye roll, please
- no real sense of the world
Honestly, I am a bit confused as to why "mommy blogger" has become such a divisive term. I mean, I get it, "mommy" is a diminutive word and certainly the work of moms is devalued in our culture, as is parenting in general. What I don't get is why we moms not only allow that to continue, but buy into it hook, line, and sinker. Think about it. Is there anything MORE POWERFUL than a mom? We are the bomb, my friends, and need to embrace that. To diminish something so central to being a woman, motherhood, is nothing more that veiled misogyny.
Now that I'm up on my high horse ("Hello, down there!" she typed, waving frantically), I want to make another argument that proves my point. Think about some of the worst things you can call a man. Sissy, bitch and douchebag come to mind, don't they? Those are all things associated with being a woman, right? "You run like a girl/You throw like a girl/You (insert verb of your choice here) like a girl." These are taunts our boys hear frequently, some probably from the adults who surround them. That shit ain't cool.
And let's talk about douchebag for a moment, shall we? I am having a fond flashback to a Facebook argument I got caught up in a few months ago. Basically, I made the point, to a virtual room full of men, that I refused to use that word as an insult, as who it was truly insulting was women. A literal douchebag is a device most commonly associated with rinsing out and cleaning the vagina. THE VAGINA, my friends. And please, don't even get me started on the premise that our vaginas are dirty and require cleansing in the first place. That is a whole 'nother post.
I don't choose to insult the men in my life by referring to them as a device used to clean out a vagina, as if anything associated with the vagina would be the worst possible thing imaginable you could call a man. Nope. I'm not gonna do it. Especially when asshole works so well and is positively democratic.
The point, my friends, is straight out of one of my women's studies courses from 1990. Feminism 101, if you will, and why yes, I am a feminist. Our culture universally and systematically devalues the contributions women make. I could go on a litany of ways in which women are devalued and persecuted, but I don't feel like it. Instead, I will make one more point that I was first introduced to as a young woman of 20.
The things that are most closely associated with womanhood, and mind you, I do not mean to start a gender war here, as I know not all women are the same, but those things most closely associated with womanhood -- empathy, caring, nurturing, compassion, understanding, connection -- these are the things that are devalued in our culture. The helping professions for one, capitalize on these traits. I am trained as a clinical social worker. I figured that I was already all of those things and people seemed to seek me out for those things, so I may as well make a profession of it. And I did. Just didn't make any scratch. Emotions are seen as weak; vulnerability is not an asset, it is a detriment in many cases.
My wish is that mommy bloggers would turn that mother out. Re-claim the term "mommy blogger" as an asset -- a powerful attribute that suggests great strength. As women, we have sought to do this with the term "bitch," right? It is common now to use that as a term of respect. Do the same for mom, mommy, mother. Own your power, whatever that may be. Be proud of who you are in the world and what you contribute.
Just as I shared a list of negative connotations for mommy blogger, let me share a list of the positive connotations that both surprised and gave me hope:
- truth tellers
- hard worker
See now? I recognize myself much more in this second list, as well as the cadre of mommy bloggers I read. We are, so many of us, badassmotherfuckers. We are courageous, and daring, and inspirational and honest and ambitious, and writers and thinkers. We are all those things.
So, yeah, my name is Mary Tyler Mom and I am a badassmotherfucking mommy blogger. What of it?