In Defense of Mommy Bloggers

There is a recent article in Macleans called ‘The Richer Sex‘ about the one-third of working females who now earn more than their husbands.  These female breadwinners, though, often have trouble coming to terms with this.  One line in particular caught my attention: “[Working wives] battle guilt for not meeting the ever-intensifying maternal ideal promoted by mommy bloggers who make felt crafts and granola bars from scratch.”  I had to read the line several times because it surprised me so much.  I can only speak for myself, but as one those ‘mommy bloggers,’ I felt rather shocked at the idea that my blog could be interpreted as a ‘maternal ideal,’ simply because I stay at home.

Photo from Macleans article

Ironically, the very reason I turned to blogging was because I craved some kind of escape from motherhood.  My blog is an attempt to emulate the accomplishments of a female breadwinner, to feel somewhat more in touch with an adult world, and to enable me to achieve tangible goals on a daily basis.  As much as I love being at home with my kids and feel very fortunate to be raising them myself, I can’t help but look at my working female friends with a certain degree of envy.  To see their careers develop and flourish while I’m stuck here, washing out poopy diapers in the toilet and planning play dates around naps, does make me feel quite discouraged at times, as if my life is a bit stagnant.

Maybe there seems to be a bit of a disconnect between what I’m saying and what I actually do.  I write about being a mom, raising my two little boys, staying at home, cooking food from scratch, and going to playgroup, but I write about it because that’s what I know.  I’d be setting myself up for certain disaster if I tried to write about anything else.  I do not write about these things with the intention of setting them up on a pedestal and promoting them as a maternal ideal which all women should strive to reach, nor do I write to make working moms feel bad about what they are unable to accomplish at home.  Aside from writing because I love it, I also write because I want to be more like those female breadwinners and to feel that I’m contributing to the world in a broader way than just raising two healthy, well-adjusted, socially adept children (not to take anything away from the immensity of that contribution).

The line in the article, however, also made me feel defensive.  The references to ‘felt crafts’ and ‘granola bars from scratch’ sounded almost condescending, as if they’re stellar achievements that only a woman with nothing else to do would take the time to make.  I’d like to challenge that assumption.  While I haven’t made a felt craft since elementary school (though maybe homemade Valentines fit the same category, in which case I’m guilty), I do make all our food from scratch, granola included, and it’s not out of a sense of maternal self-righteousness.  It’s just because I don’t buy processed or prepared foods due to my concerns about food, health, and the environment.  Even if I worked outside the home, I’d be cooking from scratch and spending much of my free time doing so, simply because it reflects an overall lifestyle choice.  If that makes me look like a perfect mommy, so be it, but I’m not going to trade in my family’s health just to fit the mold.

I guess it’s true what they say, about the grass always being greener on the other side.  Working moms want to be more like stay-at-home moms.  Stay-at-home moms want to be more like working moms.  The most important thing is to follow our womanly hearts and do what fulfills us most.  For me, that’s what I’m doing already.

 

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10 thoughts on “In Defense of Mommy Bloggers

    1. Great article! I posted it to Facebook after reading it. She argues it in a very balanced way, which is refreshing. By the way, your wordpress link isn’t working…

  1. I agree with you about the references to ‘felt crafts’ and ‘granola bars’ sounding condescending, but I didn’t read the whole article so my context is a little different, I guess. Excellent post. My wife wishes she could stay home with the kids, but she wants to work too, so it’s a tough choice for women to make, which is why so many moms try to do both.

  2. I agree with you Katherine. Matherhood is one thing and preparing food from scratch is another. Both very important for our well being. Also, I am sure that if women were given the opportunity to work part time, fulfil their professional life, and their dreams, while they raise their kids with some short of assistance and not left alone as the only caregivers as many women today are, everyone will be happy and have a balanced life – the husbands included! I truly beleive that the society expects a lot from the mothers and the kids as they are the future of the society, but do not invest enough on them to help them get through the difficult and demanding time of early childhood.
    As a result, we have mothers (stay at home or working) exhausted. Kids are also bored and cranky because they play and are entertained only by their moms. And, what is more, dads complaining that their wifes are tired and kids are cranky when they come from work.
    The issue needs political attention. There is not, though, an easy way to solve it and stereotyping has to be demolished. We just need, as a society, to look outside the box.
    Maybe, high school kids could volunteer on helping out mothers in the neighbourhood improving their school grades, and ,learn how to be caring and responsible.

  3. I think this has more to do with society setting impossible goals for women and then women feeling like failures (and thus more prone to judge others) no matter what they do than the choice to work outside or inside of the home. This is sad because society would be better off if women and men made choices based on their circumstances and based on their potential personal fulfillment as a result of said choice. Less feeling bad, less envy, less jealousy can only have a positive effect.

  4. I always get the sense that people who write about “mommy bloggers” don’t actually read many mom blogs. I read a few dozen, and none is similar to any other except as regards the fact we each have children.

    I’m one of the women touched on in the article by demography, but not in other ways. I’m happy with my life. I’m happy to be working and to be a mom, although I frequently wish I were working 5-6 hours a day instead of full days. I’m happy, too, reading about the different experiences of the many moms whose blogs I read. It helps me experience little tastes of what it might have been like if I’d traveled a different road, which is why I read these blogs to begin with!

  5. “Felt crafts and granola’? Smarmy little… ahem (clears throat)… twit… can I call her a twit?

    There is something else very telling of our society in the article. In Canada, the UK and America, barely a third of full time working women earn more than their husbands… why is that? This is not the middle of the twentieth century; we are a full decade into the 21st. Why are not more woman earning as much if not more than their spouses?

    Because woman still have to do more for less, and do it twice as good as men to get half the recognition. Society still sets impossible goals for woman… woman are still judged harshly for trying to have a career and be a mother. There is the not always unspoken words that a woman can’t possibly be good at either if she tries to do both at the same time – ‘how can a woman be a good mother if she does not devote all her attention and energies to her children?’ And, conversely… ‘how can a woman excel at her job if her attention and energies are devoted 100% on the work and not her family’

    Funny how nobody ever says that about fathers.

    What’s that old tag line from a television commercial? “You’ve come a long way, baby!”

    Apparently, not long enough… and, don’t call me baby!

  6. Thanks for challenging any condescending comment about stay-at-home moms. It’s the hardest job. Moms need support and encouragement, not comments to make them feel ashamed of their choice. What better contribution can we make to society than raising happy and well-adjusted kids who go on to make this world a better place?

  7. It’s interesting how much this (and so many other things) prove true that the grass does indeed always seem greener on the other side! 😀

    Honestly, I agree with you – each is a choice and no one should feel guilty in either case. Unfortunately we are in the throes of a cultural shift, women especially, and I think that the ones that work still fit the socio-culturally driven traditional role of wife and mother but that often conflicts with the more modern and liberated ‘working woman/mother’ and career and earning direction and drive that is such a cornerstone which is in turn a pressure that home-makers feel because perhaps they are “wasting their lives and potential” as some people feel inclined to point out.

    Personally (and I freely admit I’m not a woman) I think that both are alright, hell if I had the opportunity I might prefer to stay at home – maybe freelance or work from there – and spend time with my kids and be a part of raising them than working 9-whenever and sacrificing my personal life for monetary gain. If you’re doing a thing of passion that drives you (artist, writer, scientist, athlete, etc..for eg) then it makes sense, but that we all do it out of need for money because that’s the way it just is… well you get the idea.

    Cheers.

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