Monday, July 27, 2009

Most Controversial Moms

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(click the image to watch the video)

Of course the most controversial dads were not an interesting enough topic of conversation.. No need to point out that there are men who have babies by several different women and then do their best to avoid paying child support.  We certainly cannot discuss the men that are not candidates for daddy of the year. Only the mothers that are not attending mommy and me classes, in their finest designer clothing, while planning their child’s next play date deserve our derision.

Being a mother is not an easy job. I have had to clean up the most disgusting messes, explain why water is wet and keep up with the latest slang.  I am a soft shoulder to cry on and the heavy that lays down the law.  The majority of my grey hair is the result of the kids and they never cease to comment about how old I am getting.  I have the good fortune of not parenting under the glare of a camera, and for that I am thankful.  No matter how hard we try, no woman will ever be the perfect mother because we are all imperfect beings and yet no leeway is ever given for that.

Nadya Suleman’s big crime was having too many kids.  It seems perfectly acceptable to ignore the fact that if we lived in a society that truly cared about children, fertility, and reproduction, would be a non issue.   Madonna’s motherhood issues of course surrounds her desire to play “White saviour” by rescuing African children.  And finally there is the gossip rags favourite girl to beat up, Brittany Spears….they know damn well that the woman has mental health issues but what the hell, just drag her to mat one more time.  Nothing is more fun that continually stomping on someone from a position of privilege right?

Mother shaming is just as perverse as slut shaming or victim blaming.  Any role that women choose to take on in life is highly regulated and should she for whatever reason fail to live up to constructed norms (ignore that they keep moving the goal posts), one can be certain that the finger wagging naysayers will not be far behind.  Imagine if we invested half of the time that we spend mother shaming, actually creating support networks to help mothers and children. Imagine if we actually gave a damn, instead of pretending to care to make it appear as though we are maintaining our end of the social contract.

We also continually fail to acknowledge how genderized our discussions on parenting are.  Parents magazine and other bathroom literature of its ilk are specifically aimed at women.  No matter how liberated we claim to be ,we still overwhelming insist on pushing the hunter gatherer form of family, as though this is even still functional in a society where two parents must work. 

Motherhood does not happen outside of the patriarchal construct and therefore the delegitimizing of the work or stress involved is deemed appropriate.  By continuing to critique it in the manner that we do, we keep women performing under impossible circumstances, as though there is some possibility that they can ever achieve acceptance, or even five seconds of gratitude for the work that they do.

Is it any wonder why increasingly women are opting out of choosing motherhood as a viable option.  If we are not being shamed for our supposed failures, we are critiqued for our inability to turn1 dollar into 5 for a bag of milk. Parenting is supposed to be a shared job and personally I am sick and tired of seeing how easily we turn a blind eye when men abdicate their  duties or watching as society  pats them on the back for changing a diaper.

Many will over look this list of controversial mothers  because it is simply business as usual; shaming and disciplining women, however a failure to say enough of this kind of nonsense, simply supports the idea that motherhood needs to be subject to censure.