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Has society demeaned the 'natural role' of mothering? - Page 2

post #21 of 166
My post was not intended to come across as angry. I am, however, frustrated at the idea that there is only so much respect to go around -- that any positivity towards WOHMs takes away that "due" to SAHMs.

I also find your viewpoint that there is some "natural" way women "should" be to be insulting for many women I know. Women are entitled to be very different from one another without be categorized as unnatural.

It seems to me that many of your questions are based on false assumptions -- for example that we are primarily maternal figures. I sure hope my husband doesn't think of me as primarily a maternal figure. I'm pretty sure my mom and dad don't and best friend don't. That doesn't threaten my maternalness (for lack of a better word) towards my kids. I am different things to different people, but always at the end myself.
post #22 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeIsBeautiful View Post
Amys1st, I too watch those shows and know how far from reality they are but it is meant to be funny and lighthearted like entertainment should be. You have grasped my point completely, for a woman who has not been around babies or has had friends with children i think it is just so misleading to make her believe it is that easy. Now, some people here can argue every little inconsitancy in my wording but I don't care. I don't have the energy to debate so I'm not going to go back and forth, it was simply a thought I had for discussion. I do not want to debate about definitions or anything.

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They are meant to be viewed as entertainment, but it obviously can play a role in how people think they should view themselves or what they should be. I mean this character can take the whole world, why can't I???

No, I wont argue and disect you posts anymore than I have but to answer your point. I think its a good one, but I think a lot of what the media not society portrays is what it wants. You would also notice on these type of shows these women all have these high powered jobs. If that was true, the amount of time they have together would be almost null IRL. I have friends and family who have these jobs. Trust me, no time for a fashion show, meeting during the day for lunch let alone coffee and looking so fab to boot! One is divorced because no time for the spouse, thankfully they didnt have kids.

It took how many seasons of Sex and the City to show that the character Carrie had no money to buy a property to live in but could have $600 shoes. All my shoes together dont add up to this.

I think to demean mothering you can watch Dr Phil or any other of those shows, you need to look inside and make mothering what you want your child to have as a mother. Not on ABC, HBO, and in books with the titles Mommy wars. Talk to other mothers you respect whether a grandparent, neighbor, or someone you just watch in observation. Find media outlets such as this host magazine that celebrates mothering in a great way. You will have an easier time going with positive attibutes instead of the negattive which not only sells but adds a sensation to things you dont want. HTH!

this has nothing to do w feminsm and all to do with being a great woman and mother.
post #23 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeIsBeautiful View Post
Azuralea, I never said it was opposite. You just assumed that. Are you trying to say that a woman can be all of those qualities I listed? If so, I don't disagree... I never disagreed that a woman could be.
Yes, I believe with all my heart that a mother can be "career oriented, driven and financially successful" and at the same time be "maternal, feminine and natural."

I was left with the impression from your post that you believe that those qualities are in conflict because you question why society views "career oriented, driven and financially successful" women differently than "maternal, feminine, and natural" women, setting them up as two different and conflicting archetypes. You also mused about the conflicts such differences create in mothers. That also says to me that you think they are conflicting differences.

Personally, I despise the phrase "having it all," because a) it's almost never applied to fathers, and b) it's totally dependent on the mother's personality and family situation and therefore useless. One woman's happily having it all is another woman's version of hell.
post #24 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeIsBeautiful View Post
I dont want to google feminism sorry. I asked someone here to tell me what it means but it seems to be an elusive word that nobody can define which is why I didn't like including it. That's all. Thanks.
I don't understand why you would write a post which is very much about feminism, utilizing the word "feminism" - and then claim not to know what that word means. That's awfully disingenuous.
post #25 of 166
I'm not "naturally" maternal and nurturing . . . .but I'm a pretty darn good mom, if I do say so myself.

I'm ambitious, love my job, and love my family. It's a constant balancing act, and is sometimes tiring, but I am a great mom because of it. If I were pushed into the box of "maternal, nurturing," *at home FT* I would most likely become manipulative, semi-abusive, and an alcoholic (I only exaggerate a little).

I'm really glad that we can make choices as women, and I think we're all better for it. I have a lot of SAHM friends who do lament that it is no longer a "given" that moms stay home ft with their kids and that they have to explain themselves and fight for respect. I think that's a pity, too. But, as PP says, there isn't a limit on respect and value. We should all be respected and valued.

I just think it is a very dangerous path to go down to assign any gender/sex a "natural" role. Not only does it not hold up scientifically, but it leads to all sorts of "natural" roles for people; Blacks/African-Americans are "naturals" at sports and entertainment? Jews are "naturals" at commerce? Dads are "naturals" as the breadwinners? and the list goes on . ..


And I'm very glad that I was never forced to take Home Ec in school to prepare me for my "natural" role later in life! How insulting and demeaning. Home Ec is great . .. don't get me wrong, but it should be there for everyone (boy and girl) who wants to take it, not a requirement for girls, as it used to be.
post #26 of 166
I've felt the lack of respect( for being a sahm) indirectly and directly at times.I do think that its pretty much an image promoted by the media.I can't really be an optimal consumer if I'm not bringing in any money can I?

It is about choice and I'm glad I've been able to have one.I hear other moms all the time say they would love to stay home but can't afford to.

I place enormous value on being a sahm because I've seen the tangible resaults that it brings,secure young adults with a very grounded sense of self who are successful.Don't flame me here.It's just that I have known many other young people with working parents who didn't put a high priority on family time and their children have not turned out half as well.
post #27 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeIsBeautiful View Post
And no, I dont want to google feminism sorry. I asked someone here to tell me what it means but it seems to be an elusive word that nobody can define which is why I didn't like including it. That's all. Thanks.
I think that is too bad...maybe with a basic understanding of the word a discussion involving it wouldn't seem so daunting. JMHO It means so many things to so many people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
I don't understand why you would write a post which is very much about feminism, utilizing the word "feminism" - and then claim not to know what that word means. That's awfully disingenuous.
post #28 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeIsBeautiful View Post
Has the feminist movement preached so much about equality to men, that we are begininng to lose our identity as primarily maternal figures? How come society views a woman who is career oriented, driven and financialy succesful different and maybe even better than a woman that is maternal, feminine and natural? How come in highschool we are taught mathematics, history and science but not things like cooking, family science and managing children?
Yeah, reading this just makes me feel a bit sad and I can't help but feel that the intent of the OP was to spark an angry debate.
But I'll bite. I'm not sure why being financially successful is incompatible with being feminine, or why people who are driven can't be good mothers. That's what I infer from the OP.
I love cooking, but I'm also glad I learned history. Yep, history lessons taught me about a time not very long ago at all when women could not vote, gain an education, own property, flee physical abuse, maintain custody of their children, or provide for their family in the event of the death of their career oriented, driven, financially successful husband. An organized, concerted feminist movement provided for all of that, and I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Me, I'm new at mothering and experienced at my career, and I feel I'm pretty darn good at both of them. I don't think being a journalist makes me less of a woman, and I don't think being a stay at home mom makes anyone less of a person. It's just two different life paths, and for every woman who has the luxury of that choice, it's an actuarial decision making process.
I don't know why we're having another mommy wars debate and blaming it on that pesky, lousy feminism that did such bad things to women and families.
post #29 of 166
"I don't know why we're having another mommy wars debate and blaming it on that pesky, lousy feminism that did such bad things to women and families."

Because some people can't stand that their life choices aren't validated by everyone they meet? I think the idea that society as a whole does not respect SAHM is a load of hogwash. Of course, now and then, everyone is going to run into some idiots who disrespect it (or being WOHM). Don't women have the intestinal fortitude to move beyond the idiots, without having to tear down those who make other choices?
post #30 of 166
I'll just chime in that again--it's not about society or feminism devaluing SAHM's, the real problem is society devaluating WOMEN and all of their choices.

Someone posted upthread about being deeply disappointed in our society after having her child. I totally agree. There's so much pressure to have a family, so much blather about family values being so important to America but then have a baby and work out of the home or stay at home and there is really no support for you at all.
post #31 of 166
Madskye -- it was funny to see our two posts juxtaposed. I should probably clarify that I think that SAHMs are not disrespected any more than any other life choice a woman makes. In fact I think they are near the top of the heap as far as respect for women in our society goes.
post #32 of 166
I'm reopening this thread.

I'd like to add a reminder to keep this discussion respectful.

post #33 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by DariusMom View Post
I'm not "naturally" maternal and nurturing . . . .but I'm a pretty darn good mom, if I do say so myself.

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I can identify with this. I wasn't raised to be a mother or to even honor that I am a woman who could have and care for children. I had to learn a lot with my own pregnancies and children. I had to learn to find and trust my own mothering heart and to trust my husband to provide for the family while I nurture and care for the kids and home, respectively.

I am much more comfortable as a career woman. But I personally couldn't find a way where I could do both. I would have given 150% to work and outsourced mothering. SO I chose to stay home and figure out how I am to mother and love these children. I am glad that I did. I have worked through a lot and learned about myself and I am a really awesome mother that I never thought I could be. But I still feel a pull to work because I like the reward. One day, I am sure when my kids are in college, I'll be working 3 jobs again.

We have choices and we are not better than others because of our choices.

I met a woman last night who introduced herself by her career and it made me feel awkward. But she was just trying to connect with me so I took no offense but I didn't tell her I stayed home because I don't title myself as a "stay at home mom".

I have met groups of women who work who really look down on me for not working. I have also met groups of women who stay home and are so exclusive they have assumed that I work. People can be silly.
post #34 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeIsBeautiful View Post
Has the feminist movement preached so much about equality to men, that we are begininng to lose our identity as primarily maternal figures?
First of all, I do not believe that women are primarily maternal figures. For many women, that facet of our identity takes center stage for a time, but even for most SAHMs there are many, many other facets that are equally important.

And the part that I view as truly "maternal" -- only lasts a short time in a woman's life. My 78 year old mother, for example, while she still provides me with friendship and support, is not maternal to me in the way that she was when I was 8. The maternal part of her life lasted 20 years. In your view, what has she been for the other 58 years of her life?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeIsBeautiful View Post
How come society views a woman who is career oriented, driven and financialy succesful different and maybe even better than a woman that is maternal, feminine and natural?
The way you juxtapose the descriptions of these two women, it is hard to read that you mean this in any other way than being career oriented is opposed to being maternal, feminine and natural. I will trust your later replies that indeed was not your meaning, and will try not to take offense.

In my mind it in feminism which is the cause of women having the ability to choose their own path -- be it marriage, motherhood, career or whatever.

While it is my experience that it is true that SAHMs are valued less than WOHMs, I don't believe feminism is to blame. It's what's allowed women to choose their paths for themselves.

Oh, and it was Enjoli perfume. I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, never let you forget you're a man, cuz I'm a woman.... Enjoli. Geesh, that will be stuck in my head all day now.
post #35 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by GooeyRN View Post
Since there is now a ton of daycare centers it seems like we are expected to drop off the kids, make $, pick them up, make dinner, and have some family time, and put the kids to bed so mom and dad can have free time together. It seems so simple when you write it out. Since it all looks so pretty on paper, I think it makes us SAHM'S look lazy to society. We aren't contributing financially, so we have less worth. Some women do well with the balancing act. But it cant be easy. How are you supposed to do the shopping, get the house cleaned, laundry done, dr's appts, and have time left to really play with your kids? How does mom get ANY time to herself? It seems like we are expected to drop them at daycare so they can do their playing and learning there. (I am so not bashing daycare at all, it is a great thing for many children IMO) I guess society thinks that anyone can play with, teach, and care for children. So, why not pay to have someone do those things for you while mom can go work and also contribute financially. It seems like $ is so important to society now a days. Yes, money is needed for housing, good, clothing, etc but I am talking about the whole keeping up with the Joneses. So send mom to work so you can get the large plasma tv, new ipod, laptops for each family member, new or lightly used cars, etc. The idea that stuff is more important than children being with their mom.

People look at me like I am nuts b/c I choose to stay home. I have decent earning power and many think I am doing wrong by not working to give my kids more stuff.

i feel the same way. as for having it all, oprah once said (when discussing this issue), "you can have it all. you just cant have it all at once."
post #36 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by l_olive View Post

Oh, and it was Enjoli perfume. I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, never let you forget you're a man, cuz I'm a woman.... Enjoli. Geesh, that will be stuck in my head all day now.
I couldn't remember, though I could remember the silly song! Thanks for filling in that tidbit of trivia. Very funny. . . (if the underlying message weren't so irritating)
post #37 of 166
I have to reiterate the idea that women, as a group, have rarely, if ever, been truly valued, no matter what their assigned or chosen role(s) in society. Children, as a group, have rarely been truly valued. Both groups have been used extensively to further the goals of the society as a whole.

I think that one reason women in this society begin to feel quite undervalued as soon as they have a child is due to the fact that we are a VERY child/family unfriendly nation. Our primary concerns as a society are making money and having fun. We enjoy the idea of children and supporting them as long as they don't actually interfere with our lives, which are supposed to look like our college days (with more money) as much as possible.

I do find the idea of preparing a woman for a particular, natural role in society frightening and an unfortunate step into the past. Of course, I find anything other than supporting each person's right to find her/his own path in the world dangerous.
post #38 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by theatermom View Post
I have to reiterate the idea that women, as a group, have rarely, if ever, been truly valued, no matter what their assigned or chosen role(s) in society. Children, as a group, have rarely been truly valued. Both groups have been used extensively to further the goals of the society as a whole.

I think that one reason women in this society begin to feel quite undervalued as soon as they have a child is due to the fact that we are a VERY child/family unfriendly nation. Our primary concerns as a society are making money and having fun. We enjoy the idea of children and supporting them as long as they don't actually interfere with our lives, which are supposed to look like our college days (with more money) as much as possible.

I do find the idea of preparing a woman for a particular, natural role in society frightening and an unfortunate step into the past. Of course, I find anything other than supporting each person's right to find her/his own path in the world dangerous.

Great post.

My only disagreement would be that I personally wish I had been taught more about mothering during my educational years k-12 and beyond. But perhaps that is not the role of education.
post #39 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotmamacita View Post
Great post.

My only disagreement would be that I personally wish I had been taught more about mothering during my educational years k-12 and beyond. But perhaps that is not the role of education.
I'm not sure if it's the role of education, per say, but if every aspect of life as we know it were valued and appreciated, then I would guess that you would have had the opportunity to learn more about parenting at an earlier age. Either through examples in the community (most of our parenting as a society is hidden away from kids and teenagers), or through your own parents, or through having parenting/child development/nutrition classes available from childhood on. We're so afraid that people might think about marriage and children before society wants them to do so, that we deny them the tools and information that are really a birthright.
post #40 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by theatermom View Post
I'm not sure if it's the role of education, per say, but if every aspect of life as we know it were valued and appreciated, then I would guess that you would have had the opportunity to learn more about parenting at an earlier age. Either through examples in the community (most of our parenting as a society is hidden away from kids and teenagers), or through your own parents, or through having parenting/child development/nutrition classes available from childhood on. We're so afraid that people might think about marriage and children before society wants them to do so, that we deny them the tools and information that are really a birthright.
Well said!
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