Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Mommy madness

Another superwoman friend of mine sent me this article that I've been hearing a lot about. It is all about the need for women my age (20s, 30s and 40s) who feel compelled to be Wonder Women and SuperMoms. But, this article is a bit over the top, although I do know whomen like this.

The article talks about how we women want it all - families and careers. I grew up in the 70s with t-shirts that had "girls can do anything boys can do" emblazoned on them. I was told by BOTH of my parents that I could grow up to be the first female president if I wanted to. I was told NEVER to expect a man to take care of me (but, then that was contradicted by my dad when I got older, but that is another story) and that I was self-sufficient. They sent me to college - not to meet a husband, but to get an education so I could support myself.
I feel like I am that woman. I have had the best of both worlds - I've been a career woman and I've been a stay-at-home-mom. I love both. Right now, I'm doing the work thing AND still managing the soccer teams, doing my freelance, shuttling my kids to swim lessons and karate and making time for myself between it all.

This story, in my opinion, is true for the most part. I have friends that fit this description to a tee. They are supermoms who don't miss a PTA meeting and they plan the most detailed and creative parties for their children. They live for their children while sacrificing their own lives and that of their marriages. They are moms before anything else. I also know women who pay other people to raise their children for them or women who do nothing in the way of extra activities for their children. There is no perfect way to raise your children. All you can do is your best. I have given up long ago being that over-achieving mom. When my kids did Mother's Day Out while I was at home, there were always these moms that made gift bags for every holiday for the children or they baked homemade goodies to pass out. I laughed and gave them a pat on the back for going above and beyond the call of duty. Me, I'm usually up at 11 p.m. making cupcakes to take to these kinds of parties, etc. Yeah, I'll sacrifice some sleep now and then to make sure that my kids know that I think they're special enough to make my terrific cupcakes, but I don't think my kids are deprived of anything because I'm not singing The Wheels on the Bus with them 24/7 or exposing them to Mozart (ok, so Hot Rod likes Mozart, but that is up his alley).

This article has the following conclusion:
"Women today mother in the excessive, control-freakish way that they do in part because they are psychologically conditioned to do so. But they also do it because, to a large extent, they have to. Because they are unsupported, because their children are not taken care of, in any meaningful way, by society at large. Because there is right now no widespread feeling of social responsibility—for children, for families, for anyone, really—and so they must take everything onto themselves. And because they can't, humanly, take everything onto themselves, they simply go nuts. "

Ok, she is on to something here. I agree that we are excessive and we are conditioned to be that way. Take me, for instance, I feel compelled NOT to rely on anyone for anything. This sometimes includes Army of Dad and it makes him nuts. But, I do NOT expect society to take care of my children for me. I do not see a need to "subsidize" much of anything. That is what families are for. That is what friends are for. I can't count how many times that I've been able to turn to my family and friends to step in and lend a helping hand when I've needed it. Hillary Clinton's "it takes a village" quote can be construed in different ways. For me, I choose to believe it means that we need to lean on each other and help one another out - not with government hand-outs, but with love and compassion and care for one another. This writer goes into a diatribe, essentially, about how government should step up and relieve the stresses of society, blah blah blah. Whatever. We are responsible for ourselves. Someone might need to slap these women and tell them to relax a little bit. Your 6-month-old isn't going to get into Harvard simply because you went to Baby Gymboree or because she had the right ballet instructor when she's 4. I think all those extras are beneficial to most children, but do what you can and don't sweat the small stuff.

My children actually seem happier since I've gone back to work. And, guess what? Overall, I'm happier, too. I'm not waking up at night in a cold sweat because I don't know how I'm going to pay the bills this next week. I think they're also enjoying the interaction with other kids and other adults, as well. We all also know that this is not forever. So, maybe when I am back at home I won't be such a nutcase longing for adult conversation and some time to myself. I can see how many moms get in a rut when they're home with kids all day. It gets old taking care of everyone but yourself.

Another reason I feel like I have it all together (and I don't feel this way all the time, but I do today) is that I know my limits. When I'm about to break apart, I know to stop and reach out - whether it is to my mom, my next door neighbor or Army of Dad. I know how to tell people no and most of all, I know how crucial it is to make time to nurture my marriage. I want to still have that relationship long after my children are out of the house. So many parents ignore that part of their lives and then have nothing in common any more. I refuse to let that happen. We have our own hobbies and pleasures, but we also make time for one another and that is so good for us.

Suffice it to say that I can sympathize with the article's main points. I've most definitely been there and done that. I just disagree with some of her notions for our to "fix" it. I think fixing the problem lies with accepting our lives as they are and maybe chilling out a bit on unrealistic expectations before we decide that government needs to step in and take care of everything.


  • At 3:01 PM, February 24, 2005, Blogger Gadfly said…

    Everybody's got some take on how other people's children need to be raised. Over the past 30 years, adults have been trained NOT to interact with other people's children, lest they be suspected of something untoward. So how is this "village" thing going to work? Are adults going to insinuate themselves into the lives of neighborhood children? That's fine if you have good neighbors, but pretty frightening if you don't. I don't think so.

    PS: Tell AoD that it's trivia night, if he's not still sick.

  • At 3:06 PM, February 24, 2005, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    I think she wants to see the govermnent pay to let women get daycare for a break or to work part-time, etc. I think that there are ways to do that, but they aren't super easy to find. And, you're right, we are very conscious of what could be construed when we get involved with other people's kids. I know we think about it as soccer coaches.

  • At 5:14 PM, February 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am working late tonight Gadfly, so I likely won't make it.

    Army of Dad


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