Monday, September 26, 2011

Mothers Who Complain

Every now and then, I get a nasty comment here about how I complain too much. On this blog. About my life, which is to say, about my life as a mom.

Few things enrage me more. These comments are always anonymous, but I am convinced that they are left by either a.) dads; or b.) childless people. In other words, people who don't know a thing about which they're speaking.

My friend and fellow contributor to Torn: True Stories of Kids, Career, & the Conflict of Modern Motherhood, writer Katy Read, tackles the issue of mother-complaining and the backlash against it in the new issue of Brain, Child. Her article is a thoughtful analysis of the shifts in mothering culture over the decades, past and current reactions to mothers' honesty (or dishonesty) about their lives as moms, and the amazing truth that motherhood can be both the best thing that's ever happened to you AND full of suckitude at the same time. (I know! Shocking.)

Excerpt:

"...If I were the conspiracy-theory type, I might imagine a sinister plot behind efforts to keep mothers from complaining. After all, mothers perform the lion’s share of unpaid housework and child care—and pay a steep economic price for doing so, on average making less money than fathers or childless people and suffering from a higher rate of poverty. What better way to keep mothers from rebelling against those circumstances than to discourage them from voicing any objections? It’s ingenious: convince women through cultural conditioning that mothers are blissfully content—or ought to be, anyway—and penalize those who contradict that image by lashing back with criticism dripping with contempt."

It's a must-read. Lucky for you, the entire thing is available online.

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