9/13/12

The New Yorker's "I'm a Mom" By Jenny Allen

I just finished reading Jenny Allen's hilarious article titled, "I'm a Mom".  When I started reading it, I was confused. Is this for real? She writes: 
When Michelle Obama calls herself Mom-In-Chief, I am, like, "Amen, sister!," because Mrs. Obama knows what we all know: your husband may be a very important person, but who runs the show at home? Not Dad. Mom. But I think Ann Romney carries the day here. Unlike Mrs. Obama, when Mrs. Romney talks so movingly to the women of America, she leaves out the childless gals . . . Because, if you're not a mom, you may not be a bad person, but you are an extraneous person." 
Then, I knew this article was a satire. And loved each word of it. It's this kind of banter that I hear at the playground sometimes and find on mommy blogs all the time.  It drives me bonkers when I here stuff like this (from the article):
No one ever thanks us [moms] for anything, and we moms learn to be fine with it, learn that our children's smiling faces . . . are thanks enough.  
The single gals, the gals who haven't had children, don't understand that. They expect to be thanked for things. . . Giving is our job. You [single gals] may understand expensive shoes . . .but you don't understand that it's all about the giving.
Hahaha. I hate that I've actually heard similar conversations. I've probably even been guilty of participating in conversations like that in my early months of motherhood.  Not anymore though! I'm much too wise to do something that repulsive now.

I'm so glad someone wrote the article. It long over due. I just hope it gets read by the right people! And they pick up on the sarcasm. Especially the Ann Romney/Snooki BFF part. It's just like the time Tori Spelling and I laughed together in solidarity and were bonded for life thanks to motherhood! Isn't it grand.


28 comments:

  1. I want to get Tori's new book!! It looks fantastic!

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  2. Ouch. Moms actually DO work hard, and most moms, in fact, don't sit around at the playground and complain or write on their mommy blogs how hard it is to be a mom, how no one thanks them, how they are superior, blah blah blah blah. I think as a blogger you must think the majority of mothers are self-absorbed, better-than-thou-art types who feel that childless women are somehow beneath them. Um, no. Please don't group all mothers into that camp. It's offensive and tiresome reading articles and posts like that. Unfollowing...

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    1. I wish I was kidding, but I was taking a nap when you wrote this comment! The ring from my husband's text, "Did you see that comment on your blog?" woke me up.

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    2. I didn't see where it said anywhere that moms don't work hard. That said, most moms are moms by choice and know there is no pay involved. If people want thanks, they should send flowers to someone. Raising the kids that you created is pretty much along the lines of standard expectations. Why would you be thanked for that? Who exactly are people hoping will thank them? Society? Ha! Personally, I can't deal with those types of mothers OR the types of mothers who say everything about parenthood is just UHMAZING! Yeah, right. Everything in life is about balance- especially parenting- and I'm not sure how it is in "middle America", but here in NYC, we're all about extremes, which means we have a whole bunch of these over-the-top parents everywhere. It's annoying.

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    3. I assume all moms have a time where they feel 'better than you' jut like they sometimes feel like 'a bad mom', 'the best mom', etc.. people have emotions and crankiness that come and go. I'm not a mom but I do think if I had a child and the moment I felt like I had a good groove going hell yeah I'd feel better than certain people but eventually I'd come down from that high and realize I burnt the waffles or something.

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    4. hahaa very true, saltlake...

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  3. Yikes, while I love you to bits Sharon, I agree with Leigh that that article was a but much. Unless the writer really is a mom, it came across as super bitter and judemental. I'm of coarse not going to unfollow you, but this one gets a thumbs down from me too. :(

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    1. "Unless the writer really is a mom, it came across as super bitter and judemental"

      Right. Because non-parents are bitter and judgemental when it comes to family and political issues, while parents are super objective and happy.

      I really liked the article, I was just surprised that it focuses - as well as the comment here- on mothers only. Are fathers non-existant in the US?

      Blandine

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  4. I think a few readers may have missed the satire.

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    1. I got the satire, but the writer just kept going on and on. I think if she left it at a few paragraphs her point would've come across better and it would've been funny, not bitter.

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    2. I'm not sure if the author's a mom, but I thought the point was to go on & on, the way Mrs. Romney did....

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  5. I think this was hilarious! The truth hurts, hahahahaha!

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    1. Can I also clarify, as a non-mom, its not that we mind when our friends talk about their kids- we love our friends kids! Its when my mom-friends say things like, "when you have kids, you'll see," as though becoming a mother suddenly reveals insights into the universe the rest of us just can't comprehend. And, us non-moms are not so dumb that we lump all moms into the same category. My favorite mom-friends are the ones who say things like, "when you have kids, you'll see... that you have even less of a clue as to what the hell you are doing."

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  6. I liked it. A lot of the political convention speeches subtext were "If you're not a mom, then you don't really understand the problems of this country". It was a satirical article (it being in the Shouts & Murmurs section of the NYer should have tipped you off). As a non mom, I felt that most political wives try to bond with the majority of the country who are parents through their kids. It's not wrong, but they should appeal to ALL citizens, not just those who decided to procreate for their own reasons.

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    1. Excellent comment! In fact after waking up from my nap (see my comment above), I texted my husband back: Do u think she watched the republican and democratic convention speeches this article is mocking?! they couldn't have.

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  8. thanks for the link to the article. hilarious! it's a perfect nod to the convention mom speeches. some of your readers need to get a sense of humor!

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  9. I am a fairly new mom (my daughter is 9 months old). Before becoming a mother I was really annoyed with moms who could only talk about mom things. Now that I am a mother, it is all I seem to want to talk about. :/ I do agree with the sentiment in the essay that it is ridiculous to talk about non-mothers like they are unimportant and just don't get it. However, I am also a little sensitive to this topic because I have become "that mom." Sometimes as a working mother I feel a bit lonely. My female friends at work don't like it when I talk too much about my baby and all my other mom friends are SAHMs that just don't get some of the issues that I go through as a working mother. I think as women the best thing we can do is just support each other (whatever stage of our life we are in... mother or not). I love your blog Sharon, and your willingness to be open and honest! xoxo

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  10. Mom-in-chief? Sounds like something a mom from the 1980's would have written across her shirt in bubble paint. It's awful. Mommy blogger? Even worse.

    -Margaret

    PS I'm still following you....

    like right now...


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  11. As a non-mom, but an appreciator of moms and a long-time nanny (so, I get some -- if not all -- of it!), and as a reasonable human being, I also appreciate this satire. And, even more so, I appreciate your willingness to bring it up on apparently the most controversial platform of all! :)

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  12. As a working mom I loved your satire... and I must admit that sometimes when I listen to my non-mom girlfriends complaint about how hard they work or how exhausted they are I think to myself "wait until you have kids", hahahah I might be the mom depicted in the article.

    Love that you posted this because it allows us moms to laugh about ourselves sometimes...

    Tina

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  13. I really liked it. Of course it was over the top...but, correct me if I'm wrong, isn't that the whole point of satire? Over the top and extreme to prove a point? I don't expect a medal every time I wipe my kid's runny nose. It's part of the job I SIGNED UP FOR. Thanks for sharing this article, Sharon!

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  14. I also liked the article, thanks for linking to something intelligent and thought-provoking instead of just recipes (although I like those too ;) This is something I grapple with as a blogger, when to post things that make people think and when to just make them go "AWWWW" So bravo, for stepping out of the box a bit! I hadn't read the piece before this and thought it was very appropriate to the time lately. When we have articles in Time and The Atlantic telling us that moms sacrifice so much, and this is the way to do it, it's nice for someone else to see the absurdity in it all.

    Also she nailed the Ann Romney bit. The satire is in the fact that Romney (who hasn't had to worry about money at all, probably had nannies, and still claims the 'mother martyr' status) tries to appeal to all those 'regular' moms all the time. Uhhh, not working. I have more respect for Michelle Obama, but then why are we being singled out as moms in politics anyway? Why can't we just be women, or god forbid, PEOPLE?

    Anyway, sorry for the rant, but excellent piece :)

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  15. Sometimes I would like to know why bloggers post certain pieces. Timing is everything. Just wondering what inspired you to post this piece at this time? Were you trying to prove a point to a certain reader/blogger? Just curious. I can see both sides of why people would and would not like this article/posting.
    ~C

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  16. I really liked the article. It did a great job of highlighting some things that can be tricky to talk about regarding motherhood. There is this prevalent idea that when a woman becomes a mom, she naturally develops a specific set of ideal skills and abilities that set her apart from other groups of people (namely men and women without kids). It's a tricky thing to discuss because there are truths to what are seen as merits and virtues of moms and motherhood-moms can juggle a lot at once, they do have an emotive ability to comfort their children, and being a mother really does require a lot of sacrifice.

    However, claiming the above as specific characteristic exclusive to moms (which, occasionally can dip into a sense of righteousness)detracts from everyone. Not only are men who successfully tend the household and provide emotionally comfort to their kids looked over, but such claims about motherhood places an unequal expectation on women while letting men off the hook. These ideas are problematic in themselves, but are extra distasteful when public officials tap into them and attempt to construct and manipulate a sense of solidarity.

    Anyways, whether one likes the article of not, it is important to take it within the context of its publication. It is an overt piece of political satire with a very specific point regarding the role of motherhood within the current political environment. It's not meant to make a blanket statement about motherhood, but is rather pointing out that blanket statements about motherhood are kinda crappy and shouldn't be manipulated to garner votes.

    p.s. Yes, I'm a momma to a 4 year old. Sometimes, I catch myself saying things like, "Dammit, my husband is a better mom then I am," proving that I'm not immune to the idea that I should have these amazing mom powers by virtue of being a mom.

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  17. I understood the satire, I just didn't think the article was funny. For better or for worse, I think that once you have children, being a parent defines a large part of you. Personally, I thought I understood parenthood when my mom friends talked about it before I had children. I thought they were being smug. I was wrong. It is what it is. It isn't necessary to carry on about or expect to be thanked, it just is what it is.

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