Caryn: I was going to email Carla this little bit of fun news but thought I’d throw it up here on the blog—to see what anyone else has to say about this. Really, I wish this had happened last fall so I could’ve used it as an illustration in my book. But alas, it works well here too.
Anyhoo, I need to keep details sketchy to protect the person’s identity, but the other day I was talking to someone we’ll call Pat. I really like Pat. He’s nice, intellingent, and friendly. All good. So anyway, Pat told me he had read this blog and really liked it. Pat was telling me how we made good points and were amusing at the same time (which I like to hear). But then Pat says, “You know, you’re more interesting than you would think.”
Of course, Pat smiled like it was a joke. But it wasn’t. It’s that same old mom thing (fake ID….?) we got going on. Because Pat knows me from a place where I’m that frazzled mom constantly trying to find one child while making sure the other one doesn’t spill her decaf coffee with too much creamer while trying to keep the baby from plunking too hard on the piano (okay, this is me at church). OF COURSE, Pat has trouble seeing me as interesting. He sees me as a mom.
And that’s what stinks. And why I think we need some sort of arm-swinging/pumping fist/revolution motion and catchy catch phrase (maybe in French?) to at least THINK when someone says something as annoying as this.
So tell me, am I over-reacting? Is it because I’m blonde that this gets me even more? Or maybe I am just actually dull–with or without kids…..?
Either way, a dream of this revolution should be that when our daughters are mothers (and please start singing that “Sister Suffragettes” song from MARY POPPINS) they will “adore us and sing in grateful chorus, Well done!'” because we fight that moms may be seen as interesting.
Carla: I think you’re hitting on a crucial part of the revolution. We are working to redefine motherhood, to rearrange the cultural norms and expectations of what it means to be a woman with children. I love what you said in the comments from the last post about creating a Mom’s World where we make the rules and set the expectations instead of having them made and set for us by, what? Magazines? Books? Conferences? Pat’s comment to you is less about you–although maybe you are boring at church. I don’t know. I’ve always found you very entertaining. But then you and Pat probably didn’t grieve John-John together or talk about trips to the gynocologist. Anyway, my point is that Pat has a preconceived notion of what it means to be a mom based on some random cultural message that suggests people are defined by their work and the work of being a mom is boring.
And honestly, I’ve fallen prey to the same assumption about myself. I think I’m boring. When I’m with my non-mom girlfriends or people I work with, I find myself at a loss for how to talk about myself or my life. I mean, why would they want to hear about how many trips I’ve made to SuperTarget this week (because sometimes that is truly the high point of my week)? Motherhood itself isn’t all that interesting in and of itself. And I don’t ever want to be one of those parents who assumes everyone is as fascinated by my children as I am.
What makes motherhood interesting is the women who do it.
So (everybody now!), “Cast off the shackles of yesterday! Shoulder to shoulder into the fray!”