Who You Calling a “Soccer Mommy Blogger”?

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.

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21 thoughts on “Who You Calling a “Soccer Mommy Blogger”?

  1. 1950s = Housewife.
    1980s = Stay-at-Home-Mom.
    2000’s = Home Operations Manager? Domestic Engineer?

    We clearly do not stay home and “we” are not all wives.

    …I embrace my inner soccer mom and have the sticker to prove it. Let’s make a move to change our job description instead! I applaud you for bringing this topic to the forefront Kristina!

    • Good luck with those 2 little soccer players of yours. Whew, no wonder we need a nap or a beverage somedays…keeping up with the kiddos! 🙂

  2. You are right! It’s like society decided to recognize our contributions, yet only to add a negative right along with it. Two steps forward and one step back.

  3. Absolute truth! I can think of no more important job than caring for the world’s future generations, and yet, I hesitate to say, “I stay at home with the kids” when asked what I do for a living. There is a definite stigma attached to mothering without pay. It is seen somehow, as less work, or less mature. I can tell you though, I am endlessly more tired now, and am required to exert ten times more patience than at anytime when I was bringing home a paycheck!

    • I really dislike feeling like I don’t matter just because I don’t make a big paycheck anymore. (Okay, I was a teacher, big is a bit of a euphemism. Although compared to part-time work….) You are so right – the patience it takes to raise nice and intelligent people is amazing.

  4. I personally prefer Executive Hausfrau In Charge of Toddler Negotiations…but whatev. And right on…why denigrate moms, whether at home or working? If you ask me, moms (and dads too, not leaving them out) have some of the most important roles in society…bringing up kids who will be good people and contribute to society in a meaningful way. So don’t bust my chops or I squish you with my muffin top, haters!!

    Love,
    A Proud Soccer Mommy

  5. well said! It was after all a mom who became a multimillionaire when Harry Potter hit the big!
    So let the mommy bashers take that to the bank eh? 😉

  6. Back in the late 60s and 70s I drove a VW van, one of those tomato soup-colored boxes with little windows all around the top. I carried children, goats, feed, coal, building materials and camping stuff. I was stigmatized as being a hippie and, therefore, definitely NOT a good model of a parent. Yes, I did have long hair, it hung below my waist. Yes, I wore holey jeans and I hung ribbons on my guitar. But it was the mini-van that most ruined my image of good mother. If I had thrown my kids and guitar in the back seat and set my long-haired, blue-jeaned self behind the wheel of a Chrysler Imperial I would have gotten some good-humored eye-rolling but not snorts of disdain. So, I just want to know–when did the transformation happen and why. Why is a mini-van now the emblem of devoted but boring parenthood rather than the red flag of social rebellion? And, by the way, I’m in the market for one that carries at least seven because I have grandchildren to transport.

    • I was JUST thinking about blogging about VW Vans. Now I really must. BTW, I drive an Odyssey. It seats 8. 4 EASILY in car seats, 5-6 in a pinch. Good luck!

  7. I have also joined the minivan ranks and have friends that sneer in derision with their “I will NEVER drive a minivan.” Because an SUV that you will never off road and has half the space and comfort is BETTER because it does not carry the Soccer Mom stigma? Riiiight.

    I have an Odyssey also and I must say, I think I’m in love. You can’t beat the space and adaptability, particularly when driving over 900 miles to visit family with two toddlers, their car seats, and all of the “accessories” and diversions they require for such a haul.

    And anyone who thinks being a SAHM (or dad) isn’t work and is a breeze should be locked into a house with someone else’s children for one day. They’ll be begging to go back to work and wonder why they don’t get a lunch break, or dinner break, or time to shower.

    Being a mom is the best and most exhausting job you can ever have.

    And if mommy bloggers get a scoff of derision, it’s just the jealousy talking. Because we have more material than we can ever write down courtesy of Those Children, and if they gave us enough time to write, we’d all be JK Rowling.

  8. When I was much younger, I had a Mazda sports car, a couple of years before that I had a Firebird. Fast forward 10 years and now three kids, and I am looking at an Aerostar Van, I almost cried. That ended up being the best vehicle I ever owned. Didn’t know at the time that those three rows of seating to separate 3 kids and their fighting was a blessing. I’m on my third van now, don’t what I’ll do when I don’t need the space anymore.

  9. Ok.. so.. I have to say (please don’t stalk and hunt me) I sneer.. at minivans. I hate them. I’m one of those people Kelly was talking about.

    BUT.

    I was (until 3 weeks ago) a SAHM for 12 years. I AM a soccer/football/swimming/baseball mom. For FOUR kids. I LOVE MY SUV. I also HAVE to have it. I live in the country, on gravel, I NEED my four wheel drive. I live where there’s a LOT of snow.

    The SUV is so completely justified.

    I did have a minivan once. It was nice. When we lived in New Orleans, and it didn’t snow, and we didn’t drive 45 miles on gravel roads every day.

    With that.

    Screw them. I miss being a full time domestic mommy genius. This juggling work/mom stuff is for the dogs.

    • Crystal – I feel an SUV is perfectly justified if you live in a place that actually requires a Sports Utility Vehicle.

      I live in southern Texas, in the city, and thus, we don’t have anything that requires 4 wheel drive and if we had bad enough weather to require it, everything is closed anyway. So an SUV is a bit pointless for me.

      Jewell – Sounds like one is required for you as well. I just don’t get it for the standard SAHM who drives 3 miles or less to the store, around the town errands, and only ventures on paved roads. Thank god it doesn’t take me that long to drive to the store….

  10. Oh, Crystal! Actually, I agree with you. I thought the argument was FOR a vehicle that would safely carry a large payload of humans and cargo VS a snazzy (word that dates me?) sports car that can only carry four if the two in the back have their knees up around their ears. All the time that I was driving that VW van I was wishing it had 4-wheel drive.

    I live in the country, too. It is a 70-mile round trip to go to town (recently a smaller supermarket chain has been built within a 34-mile round trip). When I shop I take coolers full of ice with me. I buy in bulk. That would be “bulky” bulk. I live too far away to get free delivery on large items so if I buy an air conditioner I have to make a separate trip in the 1-ton truck we use for business. When we travel we have to make a decision: Take the guitars to the family reunion or take the grandchildren? I watch the winter weather reports before I head out on the road but I am always-and-forever getting caught by freak weather and have a scary time getting home.

    So, basically, what I want is a 4-wheel drive school bus. And the closest thing to that would be an SUV– a big one.

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