Sunday, May 13, 2012

In Defense of Moms

As with most holidays as specific as Mother’s Day, the interwebs are full of praises for moms - our own, other peoples’, surrogate moms, it’s a nice thing.  My mom doesn’t have Facebook, so I can say what I want.  What I want to say is - let’s stop making life more difficult for moms.  They don’t need anyone’s help wondering if they’re doing a good enough job.

Since I starting blogging, I’ve made it a point to read other peoples’ blogs (after all, it feels pretty shitty to pour your heart out and not have anybody read it).  What I’ve found is that a LOT of women are writing about motherhood.  And more than that, they seem to crave the support of other moms.  Maybe I’m not very observant, but there’s not a lot of ink on paper regarding fatherhood, or the need of dads to be supported by other dads.  One reason could be that men aren’t as inclined to express their emotions, but I don’t think that’s the reason.  I think it’s because for dads, the bar is set very, very low.  If we pay our kids any attention at all, we’re doing just fine.

A lot of this I blame on traditional religion.  Even the modern, liberal Christian still holds to the structure of the man as the spiritual leader, who is to “be Christ” to his wife.  I haven’t quite wrapped my head around that one.  In this relationship, the man is supposed to represent the savior of the entire universe, while the woman represents the person that needs to be saved.  How can a woman possibly be an equal in that situation?  Some might not see it this way.  They’ll say that yes, the Bible says the man is to lead his wife, but it’s not one-sided!  The man is supposed to cherish his wife!  Isn’t that great!  Doesn’t seem that great to me.  No re-arranging of the hierarchy makes them equals.

Fortunately, not at all women are willing to be reduced in this matter.  I’ve enjoyed reading what the women at  have to say.  These are Christian women fighting to maintain their equality in the face of traditions seeking to deny it to them.  I applaud their efforts, and hope they will inspire other women to take their power back.

This week we were confronted with Time magazine’s ridiculous cover regarding attachment parenting.  Even the local sports station was talking about.  We were essentially forced to take a stand on something that is absolutely none of anyone’s business.  Is parenting so easy that we’re allowed to hold up and knock down one parenting style over another?  Are parents so invested in their kids these days that most parents even have a considered parenting style?

My own mom was certainly not a feminist.  She, like many Christian moms, accepted her role as the spiritually subservient half.  It wasn’t until she finally divorced my dad that she seemed to take her power back.  It was a good change for her.  But it shouldn’t take divorce for a mom to find her power, take back her equality, and stand up for herself.  I’m optimistic that an evolving society will take down the obstacles to moms feeling good about themselves, and their success as parents.  There are certainly some great leaders out there.  Specifically, I’ve been made aware of the “mommy wars” by Beth at , and learned that I should probably be more angry than I am about these issues by Sophia at .

Moms are under a lot of pressure.  Even without the religious or societal expectations put upon them, taking pride in their parenting is hard work.  I, for one, will be working on taking those pressures away.  The pressures that come through subtle comments that differentiate the roles of mom and dad, the jokes I tell, the way I raise my daughter.  It’s my hope that someday, if she becomes a mom, the efforts we make today will make her job easier.  I think the reason we’re so anxious to thank our moms on Mother’s Day is that deep down, we know exactly how hard we’ve made it to be a good mom, and take pride in the journey of motherhood.

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