When I was in my twenties, I saw a bumper sticker that made me both wince and laugh: Minivans are a sign of the devil. And in that very smartie-pants way of twenty-somethings, I promptly pinky-swore with myself that I’d never drive a minivan. And, of course, here I am close to twenty years later…driving a minivan. Honestly, as a young childless person, I never saw myself as the mother of three, schlepping kiddos about town from one errand and appointment to another, but that is what happened. However, what I really never imagined happening in my future was that my life would give people opportunities to describe me in such oddly pejorative terms.
Back in July when my “One Armed Stripper” story broke, I suddenly started getting comments describing me as a “mommy blogger” or a “soccer mom” or “suburban housewife” or numerous other ways that made me cock my head to one side and say, “really? That’s all I am? You’ve just reduced my whole life dismissively as a ‘mommy blogger’ as if mothers who blog are somehow less worthy than writers?”
Which led me to think the following things: since when is being a mother such a bad thing? At what point did giving kids opportunities to run around in the sunshine kicking a soccer ball become something to ridicule? And why on earth would you assume that I live in a suburb just from a blog entry that has nothing to do with geographical location? Furthermore, what makes urban dwelling so much better than suburban? Obviously, there weren’t many of those comments, but the fact that there were any, makes me more than a bit sad.
If motherhood and all it entails in today’s world can be reduced to pejorative terms, what kind of message does that send, especially to children?
There are so many roles a person plays in his/her lifetime. For example, we all play roles in our families, either of origin or creation. Layered upon that are our roles in the workforce, the socio-economic realm, our communities. When any of those roles becomes a way to belittle a person, we all pay a price.
All jobs have value. All ideas have merit. All people have worth. All words have power.