22
Feb
11

Sez who?

So I’m sitting on my bed, eating potato chips I shouldn’t be eating (kettle, sea salt and black pepper) and washing them down with cognac, scrolling through the blogs I subscribe to before I go to sleep.

I run across this quote on the blog 4mothers1blog.wordpress.com:

“Never one to shy away from stating her opinions, Globe and Mail columnist Katrina Onstad, wrote on Saturday February 5, 2011 that princess-to-be, Kate Middleton should get a job. Onstad argues that Middleton and Michelle Obama, along with “opt-outers” (a minority group of educated, privileged women who choose to play a supportive role to their high-powered spouse) are ultimately depriving themselves not only of compensation but contribution. Needless to say, these are fighting words that have long fueled the battle between stay-at-home moms and working mothers.  The 4mothers have a lot to say in response to Onstad’s comments and will be the focus of February’s At Issue.”

I then read a follow-up post at the same blog, and, when I wasn’t tearing my hair out and screaming, focused in on this paragraph:

“I have three children, and I felt Onstad’s cry of ‘Get a job!’ hit home with me.  One of the biggest shocks of motherhood for me was how crippling the sense of isolation and worthlessness can be.  I got to the end of one day last winter, and I miserably noted that my biggest challenge of the day, in fact of the entire week, was the simple logistics of getting three kids through snow to and from school.  I so desperately wanted a pile of papers to mark, lectures to prepare, an article to write: the kind of work I trained to do, the kind of work that feeds my soul and gives me an abiding sense of worth.   A pile of laundry, dinner to prepare and three kids to wrestle into pajamas was not the meal my soul needed.  Being at work is what I need to feel whole, and I am a better mother and citizen for it.”

Well, bully for you.

And I’m not saying that days as a mother aren’t crippling, nor that they can’t be full of a sense of isolation. But getting three kids to school through snow can be a formidable task, and worthless? Raising your own children is worthless?

And just because you need to be at work to feel whole, why do you then feel entitled to tell me I need the same?

Now don’t get me wrong — I have always worked — like the author of this blog post, partially out of necessity, and partially out of a need to fulfill some part of myself that being a mom couldn’t fulfill. And yes, I believe I was a better mom because I wasn’t only a mom. But that was for me to decide, me and me alone, and this propensity of women telling other women what they should or shouldn’t do just really, well, pisses me off.

And if that doesn’t piss me off enough, we have this closing sentence:

“But it really, really shouldn’t be to appear on the arm of a man.”

This is in reference to whether women like Kate Middleton, Princess Diana, Michelle Obama, have “opted out” of the workplace in order to “support” their high-powered spouse.

Are these people actually implying that Michelle has “opted out”? Out of what? Working part time, nights, as a law clerk in order to “feed” some “starving” part of her soul while her husband’s President? PRESIDENT? Are you wordIcan’tsay kidding me?

I guess it would be better for Sasha and Malia to be in daycare?

Isn’t feminism about having equal pay and equal opportunities for equal work? And if Michelle chooses to do important things that are related to her role as First Lady, things which don’t include the provision of a paycheck, does that make them less important? less meaningful?  Did I miss something somewhere that “feminism” includes a requirement that I have to do what other women think I SHOULD do? Why can’t I choose? Speaking of the pressure women are under, why is it that so much of this pressure is imposed by other women? And why can’t men “opt out” without being “denigrated” as the “wife” or the “mom”? Are those such bad things to be? What kind of pressure does it put on them? Why does anyone — singly or collectively — get to decide what’s right for me? my family? my spouse? my children? my life?

Meanwhile, women decide that Michelle Obama is a bitch, or that Hilary Clinton is either a bitch or not feminine enough, and that Sarah Palin is a viable candidate for president because she’s pretty and non-threatening and speaks just as incoherently as they do.

Why can’t we all stop telling each other what to do and let us all just do our best?



5 Responses to “Sez who?”


  1. 1 charmstep
    February 23, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Can you hear me cheering? I agree with you that we should each mind our own business. And then find the courage to do what we love, and be the best person we can be. It’s such a cliche, but how about we live and let live? You don’t have to like what I do, you don’t have to like my choices, but you need to respect my right to make those choices. Well, except for Sarah Palin.

    And as far as that wordyoucan’t say? I’ll gladly say it for you.

  2. February 23, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I can’t imagine that Michelle Obama’s life is an easy cushy one. Or that she has opted out of anything. Princess Diana most certainly worked very hard. And if Kate decides not to work then it’s her business not ours. I agree with you we shouldn’t be telling other mothers what is right for them. Everyone is different.

  3. February 24, 2011 at 12:24 am

    I definitely agree with you here. Instead of pointing fingers and deciding that all women feel the way she does and want what she wants, I wonder why women like the one you quoted don’t use their voices to support the right everyone should have, to do what works for them — and to have access to safe affordable child care. It also bugs me that economically challenged mothers are largely ignored when this issue is debated. These mothers seem to be looked down upon at every turn, whether they work or not.

    PS: I think I can guess what word it was, but why can’t you say it? It’s your blog!

    • February 24, 2011 at 7:45 am

      Can’t say it because my mother-in-law reads it and I don’t want her to think her son has married a degenerate. Guess it’s probably just as bad that I was obviously thinking it, eh?

  4. February 24, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    *applaud* Good rant and a much-needed read.


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