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post #141 of 156
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Finally, I wanted to say this. At the root of this thread, and all the debates and discussions in the posts, is the fact that we, as mothers, are trying to navigate an imperfect social and economic system to parent and provide in the best way we know how. Motherhood is such an emotional and important occupation of our time, our hearts, and our minds, and to be constrained from doing what we see as best by the sometimes harshness of economics and other social conditions is a very frustrating thing.

I wanted to reiterate what I said above about mothers trying to do their best in an imperfect world. I think that gets to the heart of this discussion.

Also, I wanted to say that I generally respond to posts speaking in broad, overarching, and aggregate terms. Or, at least, that is the intent. I would not want to ever single out one person's post and use specific terms to argue or debate that person in particular. Hmmm...what am I trying to say here...I need to figure out how to say it better...I guess what I'm trying to say is I never want to single out one person, but rather raise the debate to a community level, if that makes sense. Even when quoting another post, I'm less responding to that specific person, and rather to the idea or theme of the post.

Macro rather than micro, or something like that. I hope that makes sense.
post #142 of 156
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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Macro rather than micro, or something like that. I hope that makes sense.
Okay, I think I get what you're saying.
post #143 of 156
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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
I dislike when mothers, or fathers for that matter, say their contribution is contributing to the next generation. If you have children, you should be raising them well anyway! No ifs, ands, or buts. It's not a contribution or anything extra. To me, it's standard. If you don't do that, you are doing a disserve to the world, and your children.
I think when mothers say their contribution is raising the next generation, it's often a response to criticism from some (though certainly not all) feminists, who happen to feel that SAHM's aren't making an adequate contribution to the feminist cause.

Sadly, there are some feminists who feel that it's wrong for women to follow their hearts and do whatever makes them happy -- unless what makes them happy happens to be building a career and destroying gender stereotypes.

The others -- especially those highly-educated women who could have lucrative careers, but instead choose to drop out of the workforce and stay home with their kids -- are seen as benefiting from the earlier feminists' trailblazing, but not doing their own part in furthering equal rights.
post #144 of 156
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I think when mothers say their contribution is raising the next generation, it's often a response to criticism from some (though certainly not all) feminists, who happen to feel that SAHM's aren't making an adequate contribution to the feminist cause.
I don't think it's a feminist issue or an issue of feminism.

I was speaking not as a feminist nor on behalf of feminism. I wasn't even thinking of this with feminism in mind.

I was speaking in neutral gender terms. As I said earlier, I see a parent saying their contribution is raising the next generation as paying off the resources they use now in their own generation by taking out credit, so to speak, for the anticipated or expected or hoped for contributions of their children.

It's kind of like parents resting on the laurels of their children.

I don't think our children should inherit our debt, both literally and figuratively. What our children contribute is their contribution alone, not ours. Yes, they may do things based on the way we raise them, but that is our job, our responsibility as parents.

There's a great line in the movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner between Sydney Poitier's character and his father's character that speaks to this.

To sum it up, I don't think saying this is dismissing what parents do, but I think that parents (mothers and fathers) need to contribute (and not just in a job sense, more than that) in real time terms in their own generation, not on the promise of what their brood may do in future generations.

If that makes sense...
post #145 of 156
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Sadly, there are some feminists who feel that it's wrong for women to follow their hearts and do whatever makes them happy -- unless what makes them happy happens to be building a career and destroying gender stereotypes.
Fortunately, I don't think that is something that can be attributed to feminists as a group. There will always be individuals who feel this way, just as much as there will be individuals who do not feel this way. Just as there will be some men who feel this way, and some who do not.

I've never seen anything in any feminist literature or policy stances of feminist organizations that supports that sentiment. In fact, I've seen the opposite.
post #146 of 156
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
The others -- especially those highly-educated women who could have lucrative careers, but instead choose to drop out of the workforce and stay home with their kids -- are seen as benefiting from the earlier feminists' trailblazing, but not doing their own part in furthering equal rights.
I have not experienced this as truth. In fact, my impression is quite the opposite.

I took a number of women's studies classes in college, and in my college years read quite a bit of "feminist" literature and gender role literature and I never came away with this impression.

Over the years, I've had a few opportunities to look at mission statements and policy agendas for the national feminist organizations (nothing lately, I admit and nothing academic, just cursory). I never saw anything that said or implied that kind of attitude towards SAHMs or mothers or parents. In fact, I think it's quite the opposite. I think feminists in general policy terms support better policies and laws for women and children.

I do think there are certain people in the media who have used extreme language and extreme cases to inflame and pit women against women. It's sad, but I think ultimately it's inaccurate.
post #147 of 156
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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
I was speaking not as a feminist nor on behalf of feminism. I wasn't even thinking of this with feminism in mind.
I wasn't assuming that you were. I was just responding to your dislike of hearing people say, "My contribution is raising the next generation" -- I was sharing one of the reasons why I think many people (or at least many mothers) say things like this.

I think it's a defense-mechanism -- and really no one should ever have to feel defensive about what they're doing or not doing. A lot of the defensiveness is brought on by the propensity of some people to judge other people, and to evaluate those others' contributions to society, and label them "freeloaders" or whatever. If we all just focused on living our own lives and making the best choices for ourselves and our families, there wouldn't be all this defensiveness that results in some people giving "annoying" rationalizations that they shouldn't feel a need to give in the first place.

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As I said earlier, I see a parent saying their contribution is raising the next generation as paying off the resources they use now in their own generation by taking out credit, so to speak, for the anticipated or expected or hoped for contributions of their children.
I've never perceived this attitude in any parent. When parents make the comment that you're criticizing, I don't think they're "resting on the laurels of their children" or expecting their children to pay off their debt to society. Again, I see parents who make this comment as "rationalizing" what they don't need to rationalize, and "defending" what they don't need to defend.

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To sum it up, I don't think saying this is dismissing what parents do, but I think that parents (mothers and fathers) need to contribute (and not just in a job sense, more than that) in real time terms in their own generation, not on the promise of what their brood may do in future generations.

If that makes sense...
You know, it makes perfect sense, and I honestly believe that practically person, in every situation, believes in contributing "in real time terms in their own generation."
post #148 of 156
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I think when mothers say their contribution is raising the next generation, it's often a response to criticism from some (though certainly not all) feminists, who happen to feel that SAHM's aren't making an adequate contribution to the feminist cause.
I liken it to a parallel with the Iroquois philosophy of the 7th generation. The Iroquois felt every decision in one's lifetime should take into account the impact on people who would live 7 generations later...their great great great great great grandchildren (I think I counted correctly )

The Iroquois thought about this in resource conservation, but other factors, too. I take it steps beyond that and make it broader...like I said it's a parallel.

The point is the Iroquois didn't disregard what they were doing in their own generation and think their children or grandchildren would figure things out.

They lived in the present, taking responsibility now, but with an eye on the future.

I think in many ways American society lives on credit. We don't think enough about what we're doing now and the impact later on. We leave our debts to be paid in our children's lifetimes (and our contributions to be paid by the promise of what our children might do, to me, is along those same lines).
post #149 of 156
I guess maybe I should add that when I said I was thinking in broader terms, one thing I was thinking of was carbon footprint, or human footprint...the footprint each human leaves on the planet.

How many resources we use, how we use them, what we save and preserve for the future (our own and the 7th generation)...

I was thinking in both personal and societal terms.

Right now, the carbon footprint of a newborn baby is quite high (I do know that many MDC newborns have ligthened carbon footprints by their parents savvy green behaviors! ) Still, the footprint of just one child is huge.

That child will need to do quite a bit in their lifetime to reduce their own footprint (i.e. make their own contributions).

So, that is the reason I said I dislike when parents say their (the parent's) contribution is raising the future generation.

The parents need to reduce/improve their own footprint (not just carbon) and they should also try to offset the footprint of their children's since they decided to bring them into the world. The children then can go on and make their own contributions (and hopefully will).

post #150 of 156
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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
I do think there are certain people in the media who have used extreme language and extreme cases to inflame and pit women against women. It's sad, but I think ultimately it's inaccurate.
Well, I've never taken any women's-studies courses, so I guess I've gleaned this impression through stuff in the media. Many people are (probably inappropriately) affected by what they hear in the media -- so some of this inflammatory stuff may be partially causing the propensity for some SAHM's to get on the defensive and talk about how their contribution to society is raising their kids.
post #151 of 156
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Well, I've never taken any women's-studies courses, so I guess I've gleaned this impression through stuff in the media. Many people are (probably inappropriately) affected by what they hear in the media -- so some of this inflammatory stuff may be partially causing the propensity for some SAHM's to get on the defensive and talk about how their contribution to society is raising their kids.
Yes! I totally agree. I think there are some trusted and balanced journalists out there, but the bulk of them (very unfortunately) seem to care more about sales of their newspaper, magazine, or tv advertising than even and accurate reporting.

I do think that the portrayal of feminists in the media is often sensationalized. Sensational reporting sells, right?

I honestly think the so called "mommy wars" are made up to sell news.

I have to say again, in all the women's studies classes I took, in the feminist literature I read, and the few times I've gotten to see high profile feminist speakers (let's see I think I saw Gloria Steinem, Patricia Ireland (was that her name...I can't remember), Naomi Wolf, and Susan Faludi) I never once got the impression that feminists were anti-motherhood, anti-SAHM, or anything along those lines. Never once.

I walked away from those speeches feeling united, and in solidarity with all women!

I am a SAHM, and I have never once felt feminists would no longer welcome me as one of them.
post #152 of 156
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Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
I think in many ways American society lives on credit. We don't think enough about what we're doing now and the impact later on. We leave our debts to be paid in our children's lifetimes (and our contributions to be paid by the promise of what our children might do, to me, is along those same lines).
I do think our society tends to live on credit.

However, I disagree with the idea that many parents leave their "contributions to be paid by the promise of what their children might do." I don't think that's the intent of most parents who say their "contribution is raising the next generation."

I'll say it again: I think that statement is predominantly a defense-mechanism, because so many SAHP's feel that they (we) are under intense criticism and scrutiny (and we often are).
post #153 of 156
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

I'll say it again: I think that statement is predominantly a defense-mechanism, because so many SAHP's feel that they (we) are under intense criticism and scrutiny (and we often are).
That may be, and if that is the case, it's really sad and unfortunate. I say that because I think saying the statement might appear to further the negative stereotype and negative impression held about SAHPs, and even parents in general, by some.

That statement really irritates me. It honestly does. I don't agree with it for all the reasons in my previous posts, and I don't agree with on a tertiary level because I think it might solidify some of the negativity.

I don't know...I don't see a lot of intense criticism and scrutiny of SAHPs. That is how it's sometimes portrayed in the media. Yes, there is criticism and scrutiny...I've felt it from time to time, but I wouldn't call it intense. It's not so intense and defining that I've changed my course. It's just kind of annoying from time to time.

I think the "intensity" of the criticism is manufactured by the media reports on the so called mommy wars. I have seen so many posts on MDC where people say they've never encountered mommy-war type criticism as talked about in the media in real life.
post #154 of 156
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I
Sadly, there are some feminists who feel that it's wrong for women to follow their hearts and do whatever makes them happy -- unless what makes them happy happens to be building a career and destroying gender stereotypes.
Can I point you to a resource that I have found invaluable?

www.yorku.ca/arm/
post #155 of 156
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Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
Can I point you to a resource that I have found invaluable?

www.yorku.ca/arm/
That looks really interesting, thanks for pointing me to it.

I'll stop discussing this stuff here, now that I've learned that what I've been saying isn't within the scope of the SAHM forum -- don't want to get this thread locked down.

So, you guys carry on!
post #156 of 156
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Interesting article. I definitely don't think my kids would be happier if I worked. My mom would be, though.


My kids would be miserable. I've had to have them in daycare to take classes before. My MIL would be thrilled, though...
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