After walking The Boy, The Girl, and The Tot (Who’s Not) to school this morning, I returned home to find this comment, a response by Handmaiden to the Lord, to this post in my email box: “Well unlike you, I LOVE being a stay at home mom. Unlike you, I don’t need a babysitter for my kids…. I LOVE my children.”
In my head, I was both amused by the assumptions in her comment, and defensive of these attempted negative assignations to my character as a mother.
But then I got mad. The kind of anger fueled by a profound sadness at the way women continue to be cast as the lesser sex–by men, but also by ourselves. I find my own words inadequate, but Emily Hauser, who wrote recently about the GOP, captured my sense of frustration perfectly: “There is a purely incandescent rage that comes over me now on a nearly daily basis over the blatant dehumanization of women that is currently sweeping the nation.”
It’s not just the notion that behaving a certain way or having interests outside of motherhood makes me an inadequate mother in the eyes of readers, but that even talking about our struggles is not allowed. When The Dad became a father, he wasn’t expected to give up his job, interests, or hobbies because he became a father. That’s different, you say. Fathers are wired differently. First, hog-wash. And second, I’m not buying that. I don’t believe for a second that blogging about the struggle I have with work, home, children, and daily life in any way indicates that I want to cast off my children, or that I don’t enjoy motherhood, or that I don’t love them and enjoy them as little people in their own right.
Forgive me another Mad Men reference, but office stick-in-the-mud Peggy Olson summed it up best when she said, at the end of last season: “I signed the first new business since Lucky Strike left…but it’s not as important as getting married.”
This is not about men subjugating women, although that certainly happens a lot on Mad Men and within the GOP. But what Handmaiden’s comment is really about is women subjugating women.