Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A blogger....who mothers

I know my blog isn't very big, impressive or widely read at all.  I know that in the big pond that is the "blogosphere," I am a very, very tiny little fish.  But I'm here and I'm writing posts and contemplating life and keeping long distance family and friends in tune with my family.  I certainly don't write for any sort of recognition because if I were.....I'm not being very successful.  I write and post because it's a creative outlet for me to reflect on my life and the world around me.  

In short - it makes me happy.

Happy to write and happy to get a peek into the lives of other women.

There's a little voyeur in all of us, isn't there?  That's what blogging is all about.  The grown-up and socially acceptable way to be a "peeping Tom."

But in all seriousness, there is a infographic going around out there on the interwebs that tries to break down the power structure of the so-called "Mommy Bloggers."  Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress wrote her own response regarding the compartmentalizing of women when you refer to a woman as simply a "mommy blogger."

Now.  I don't really feel qualified to weigh in with the heavyweight bloggers about the misuse of the term "mommy blogger" but I do have some thoughts as to why the phrase makes me twitch.

The term "mommy blogger" does tend to put women in THAT corner.  It seems to feed into the ideal that once a woman becomes a mother, the rest of their life, being and soul ceases to exist.  That their sole focus in everything that they do must be centered around that child and nothing else. 

To me, that notion is suffocating.

Awhile back during the weeks that I was involved in a Bible Study, the idea of feminism came up and one woman in particular was very angry at feminists in general because she believed that through their social movement, more pressure was placed on women to be anything and everything to every person in their life.  Not only do women now have to be the main caregiver to the children, but also be independent and work outside the home to contribute financially to the family.  


This caused me a little bit of pause.  I was raised in a home where I was taught that I could do everything my two older brothers could do which included mowing the lawn and changing the oil in my car.  There were no set of different expectations placed on my simply because I was female.  Was my mother a secret feminist trying to breed and groom a young woman to believe she could do anything or be everything she desired but yet ultimately setting her up for disappointment because the expectations were too great for any person to effectively manage?  I don't think so.  I think my mother saw me the same as she saw my brothers - as a strong, capable young adult who can accomplish great things.  Whether it was mowing the lawn, cooking dinner, educating students, or throwing a fabulous party - my mother has confidence in my God given abilities.

I don't think the true feminists are insisting that we all break the mold and get every young woman into the corporate office to smash that glass ceiling, while simultaneously whipping up healthy and gourmet meals served on silver platters every night.  I think the feminists were like my mother - just wanting to see and be seen as capable adults who can achieve great things whether it is in the classroom, the office building or in the home.  It's not about making women live their lives THIS way or THAT way but instead YOUR way - a way that is fulfilling to you.

So how do I see my idea of "feminism" and my problem with the term "mommy blogger" relating to each other?  I guess it's all wrapped up in placing a person in a box and putting a label on it.  You have a blog. You are a mother.  And that's the end of the story.  I think feminists want women to be seen as more than the sum of their parts.  Sure we are mothers or wives or teachers.....but above all that - we are capable adults who are putting our thoughts out there into the world, hoping to inspire someone, providing support to a friend in need and always dealing out a healthy dose of humor when necessary.

So in closing.......

I am a mother.  Not because I simply conceived a child or gave birth a little more than a year ago, but because I am Natalie's source of comfort, giggles, joy and the guardian who makes important life decisions for her well-being at this point in time.  Even though she's not real consistent using the word quite yet.....she knows me as ""  

I am a blogger.  Even though I have only nine followers, every day....uh....WEEK I am putting my thoughts into somewhat cohesive sentences and hitting PUBLISH and sending my voice out into the universe.  I write about my struggle with PPD, anxiety and OCD.  I write about something funny that happened at work.  I write about my personal challenges and the difficulties I've faced in my life.  I write about the ups and downs of being married.  And yes....I write about parenting and my daughter.

But of all those things that I write about, not ONE of them defines and encompasses everything that I am.

I am not just an anxious, over-analyzing, always organizing hot mess.

I am not just a teacher.

I am not just my past, my present or my future.

I am not just Craig's wife.

And I am not simply Natalie's mother.

I am just Laura......a woman living her life who happens to write and blog.


Erin said...

I love every single last word of this post and I'm glad you continue to blog and share your life. I've not yet hear of this mommy blogger info graphic but I'd guess I better check it out.

Happy Wednesday, friend!

Chelsea said...

Well said Laura! I agree and even consider myself as a feminist. But for me, I view feminism as wanting every woman to be exactly what she wants to be no matter what that is and for women to not judge other women for those decisions, but to give support in this world that can be very male dominated. Love your blog and read it every day via Google Reader, but now I'm an official follower...10 followers now baby!

Sarah @ It's a Vol said...

Way to go and well put! I was thinking the other day about all those things that I am that do not define me -- and you jsut put that into words. Great post! I'm not sure how I found your blog, but I read all of your posts -- I just need to comment more!

Laura said...

Hurray! Breaking into the double digits. You wrote it much more elegantly than I did Chelsea. Feminism isn't about doing it THIS way or THAT way but doing it YOUR way so that your life is fulfilling.

Anonymous said...

Very well written, Laura! You have always expressed your ideas in a fine manner! Your Senior PEAK teacher would be proud of all your Blogs!!
Thanks for the shout out about our trying to raise you and your brothers to do all sorts of work, not gender specific!
Baci & Hugs!!
PS Gretchen LOVED the photos of Natalie!!

annajanine said...

Preach it!