Is 'Mommy' a dirty word?
Yesterday I was reading the Wall Street Journal and I stumbled upon Taffy Brodesser-Akner's article "Time for a War on ‘Mommy’. (Yes I am a nerd that reads the Wall Street Journal. You should know me by now.) I was rolling my eyes before I even started to read the article. The constant parenting philosophy battles and media manipulation, although incredibly entertaining at times, have become tiresome. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself agreeing with the author.
Why is anyone other than my 3-year old (and his 8-month old brother eventually, but not yet) calling me Mommy? Why are we grown women calling each other Mommy? Is being a mother such a silly avocation that we have to baby it up, stringing it with the hormones and gushy feelings of what our children call us? Does it strike anyone that calling a woman who has had a child Mommy is demeaning and infantilizing? Does it strike anyone that calling philosophical disagreements Mommy Wars is no different than screaming “GIRL FIGHT!” as two strippers go at it in a mud pit?
I agree but it is hard for me to get worked up about the topic as I have been called far worse things than mommy :) Any word can be demeaning if said in a patronizing manner. If someone called me a genius with the wrong tone of voice it would be equally annoying.
It is very annoying that one of the most important roles of many women's lives is trivialized to the point of absurdity. If a woman writes on her blog and also happens to be a mother she automatically becomes a mommy blogger. She could be blogging about neuroscience but because she bore children she automatically becomes a mommy blogger.
It is insulting because women should be allowed to define themselves and not have it done by others based upon the activity levels of their wombs. The insult does not stem from the fact that some women do write, blog, or whatever mostly about their children. That is great. That is how those women chose to define themselves. It is when the name is imposed upon a woman by others that the issue becomes murky.
Brodesser-Akner summarizes by stating:
Calling mothers Mommy (except in the singular instance that you are referring to the woman who either gave birth to you, raised you, or both) is perhaps one of the reasons that these wars exist. It implies that our identities are not hard-edged things. That we’ve been downgraded from actual person. It implies that whomever it is we were before we had kids has dried up and been usurped by the act of having children.
^ THAT! I love being a mother more than anything in the world but it is not all that I am to anyone but my children. It does not encompass my entire reason for being unless one is referring to my children and that is temporary. Someday my children will be old enough to recognize that I am a person with goals, hopes, and dreams of my own. For now I am okay with being mommy but only to my two little pumpkins. The rest of you better call me Veronica. Ms. Jackson if you're nasty. (Did I show my age there?)
Tell me what you're thinking chicas. How do you feel about being called a 'mommy' by anyone but your kids? Do you find it patronizing?