Category Archives: Fuck The Mommy Wars

Happy Birthday Kickass

If I ran the world this would be a national holiday: 

Today would be the 151st birthday of Elizabeth Cochran—the groundbreaking journalist better known as Nellie Bly. In 1885, Bly wrote a furious letter to a Pittsburgh newspaper denouncing a column entitled, “What Girls Are Good For” that described the working woman as a “monstrosity” and said that women were best suited for domestic chores.

Impressed by Bly’s letter, Pittsburgh Dispatch editor George Madden hired her as a full-time reporter under the pen name Nellie Bly.  She was a trailblazing journalist, an unwavering champion for women and the working poor, and a brilliant muckracker. One of her most famous assignments was for the the New York Worldwhere she posed as a mentally ill woman and exposed the horrors of a women’s asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

The song is my new anthem.

A.

Let’s You and Her Fight: The Mommy Wars

Ugh, you guys: 

Nearly 11 million children under age five in the United States were in some sort of childcare arrangement in 2014, according to the Childcare In America report, which is compiled annually and used by policymakers and program administrators to make decisions about care programs and costs. These discussions about childcare aren’t just involving a few dozen people. They’re involving millions of people, many of whom don’t have the option of staying home or easily cutting back their hours, and some who wouldn’t want to even if they could.

There’s nothing wrong with putting a child in daycare, and if you truly think it’s such an awful place, then do something to change it. Start fighting for more paid leave for parents, better care options, and higher safety standards to protect these kids you’re supposedly so worried about. Don’t write sanctimonious articles about how easy it was for you to walk out on your job and how much free time you have now. Not everyone wants that, not everyone can have that, and frankly, we’re all too busy making our own choices to watch you spend 20 paragraphs patting yourself on the back for yours.

I take Kick to a story group at the library every Monday. I have been doing it since she was five months old. Yesterday I mentioned to some of the other mothers that I would be picking up some extra work hours starting in May, so I might not be at the library as much.
I like these chicks, the ones at the storytime. We trade tips on what worked for our babies, commiserate about relatives and schedules, and they do things like assure me the dire haircut I gave the kid recently wasn’t a “baby mullet.”
“It looks a lot more like her prison pals cut it with a shank,” one said soothingly.

(Cutting a baby’s hair is hard. They’re squirmy.)

Three of them are stay at home moms, that I know of, and one of those is pregnant with her second. So when I mentioned I was gonna be working more, I sort of expected this chorus of judgment. I am conditioned to believe that those women would look down on me for working, let alone basically working full-time even if I do half of my hours from home while Kick cheerfully throws Legos at me.

Instead, they shrugged. We made plans to meet up at a park later in the week, since it was supposed to be warmer by Wednesday and our kids would likely be climbing the walls. Nobody said anything to my face, anyway, and I sincerely doubt they’re bored enough to gossip.

We spend so much time giving each other shit, women, that we are conditioned to think it is some kind of natural state. We spend so much time doing it in the pages of our magazines from Time to Family Circle. We do it on TV all damn day long. And while we are doing it, we are making less money than we should be, and nobody is paying for daycare or giving us maternity leave that makes sense, and everybody is lifing everybody else about how they have children and when they have children and how it all works after they have children.

Meanwhile so many children go to school hungry.

I’m so uninterested in it all. I don’t want you to work or stay home, I want you and your kids to have enough to eat and live how you want to live, and however that has to happen is how it has to happen. Some rich, educated mother not working (that whole “opt out” thing) is less of an affront to the ideal of feminism than lots of mothers not EATING, and I am so done elevating the anxiety of those of us with choices above the lives of those of us with none.

I think of my great-aunts when I read stories in HuffPo about the overwhelmingness of all the choices and how hard it is for female CEOs to feel certain ways and do certain things. I think about the woman who raised two children and took care of a severely disabled husband, about the woman who worked beside her husband in their business all her life, about the woman who went to nursing school and didn’t marry until late, and stayed home with the three children she had.

Those women didn’t bray sanctimonious crap about how they were superior people for having made the choices they made. They just made them and went on about their days. We’re all just doing what we have to do, and if we want other people to be able to live like we do, with choices and options, we need to do more than snipe at each other on the mommyblogs.

A.

All of It

Thiiiiiis: 

Men with big careers don’t spend much time with their kids, either. This should be obvious by now, but there still seems to be a strong strain of “you can do everything if you just try hard enough” in the culture.

So, yes, Tuttle is right when she says we need to shake off the second-wave feminist baggage and elevate the work we all do at home. But I don’t think reclaiming the word housewife will be enough to make caregiving a more respected occupation. Tuttle talks about the hit her 401(k) will be taking in her caregiving years and the difficult financial spot her own mother was in when she got divorced. If we really value the work that goes into raising a family and maintaining a home, we need policies to reflect that.

Because YES. The Mommy Wars are not about who FEELS respected and valued. They're about who IS respected and valued. They're not about who gets a goddamn parade. 

The Mommy Wars are about money, because money (as is known by everyone who doesn't have Mitt Romney's kind of cash) is power, and money is legitimacy, and money is achievement, and money is respect. Money throws the parade. Money is the parade. Acting like parenthood is somehow only good if it comes at crippling financial cost to one or both people in the relationship is condescending and ridiculous and stupid and most of all unnecessary

Sensible models for how to truly value parents and their work potential exist on every damn continent. It's not like we lack good examples. What we lack is the wherewithal to make anything happen because in the meantime we can debate the inherent nobility of the word "housewife" and pretend this is all about the terminology and not the tithe. 

A. 

Guns for Ladies

Oh CHRIST:

Watts’ report focused on the NRA’s growing political radicalism, but the gender shift is leaving pink streaks that are also unlike anything in the group’s history. Few were the exhibits on the gun show floor that did not feature products catering to women. We are now well past the novelty of a pink AR-15 here, a sparkled pistol there. Today’s woman has holsters and targets of her own. In Indy, the Law Enforcement Targets booth had already sold out of its bestselling pink shooting target, sales of which benefit not the NRA’s “round-up” program, but breast cancer research and awareness. “Our new line of female targets is selling like crazy,” said a company rep. Down the aisle, the first company to market exclusively to the woman shooter, the Ontario-based Packing In Pink, likewise did a brisk trade.

First of all, a woman wants to own a gun, why does it have to be made pink and sparkly for her? Why can’t she buy the same gun every other person gets? So obnoxious. I also love how the only issue benefitted by sales for charity was breast cancer awareness, since women’s issues are just, you know, their boobs.

A.

Guns for Ladies

Oh CHRIST:

Watts’ report focused on the NRA’s growing political radicalism, but the gender shift is leaving pink streaks that are also unlike anything in the group’s history. Few were the exhibits on the gun show floor that did not feature products catering to women. We are now well past the novelty of a pink AR-15 here, a sparkled pistol there. Today’s woman has holsters and targets of her own. In Indy, the Law Enforcement Targets booth had already sold out of its bestselling pink shooting target, sales of which benefit not the NRA’s “round-up” program, but breast cancer research and awareness. “Our new line of female targets is selling like crazy,” said a company rep. Down the aisle, the first company to market exclusively to the woman shooter, the Ontario-based Packing In Pink, likewise did a brisk trade.

First of all, a woman wants to own a gun, why does it have to be made pink and sparkly for her? Why can’t she buy the same gun every other person gets? So obnoxious. I also love how the only issue benefitted by sales for charity was breast cancer awareness, since women’s issues are just, you know, their boobs.

A.

Guns for Ladies

Oh CHRIST:

Watts’ report focused on the NRA’s growing political radicalism, but the gender shift is leaving pink streaks that are also unlike anything in the group’s history. Few were the exhibits on the gun show floor that did not feature products catering to women. We are now well past the novelty of a pink AR-15 here, a sparkled pistol there. Today’s woman has holsters and targets of her own. In Indy, the Law Enforcement Targets booth had already sold out of its bestselling pink shooting target, sales of which benefit not the NRA’s “round-up” program, but breast cancer research and awareness. “Our new line of female targets is selling like crazy,” said a company rep. Down the aisle, the first company to market exclusively to the woman shooter, the Ontario-based Packing In Pink, likewise did a brisk trade.

First of all, a woman wants to own a gun, why does it have to be made pink and sparkly for her? Why can’t she buy the same gun every other person gets? So obnoxious. I also love how the only issue benefitted by sales for charity was breast cancer awareness, since women’s issues are just, you know, their boobs.

A.

Guns for Ladies

Oh CHRIST:

Watts’ report focused on the NRA’s growing political radicalism, but the gender shift is leaving pink streaks that are also unlike anything in the group’s history. Few were the exhibits on the gun show floor that did not feature products catering to women. We are now well past the novelty of a pink AR-15 here, a sparkled pistol there. Today’s woman has holsters and targets of her own. In Indy, the Law Enforcement Targets booth had already sold out of its bestselling pink shooting target, sales of which benefit not the NRA’s “round-up” program, but breast cancer research and awareness. “Our new line of female targets is selling like crazy,” said a company rep. Down the aisle, the first company to market exclusively to the woman shooter, the Ontario-based Packing In Pink, likewise did a brisk trade.

First of all, a woman wants to own a gun, why does it have to be made pink and sparkly for her? Why can’t she buy the same gun every other person gets? So obnoxious. I also love how the only issue benefitted by sales for charity was breast cancer awareness, since women’s issues are just, you know, their boobs.

A.

Guns for Ladies

Oh CHRIST:

Watts’ report focused on the NRA’s growing political radicalism, but the gender shift is leaving pink streaks that are also unlike anything in the group’s history. Few were the exhibits on the gun show floor that did not feature products catering to women. We are now well past the novelty of a pink AR-15 here, a sparkled pistol there. Today’s woman has holsters and targets of her own. In Indy, the Law Enforcement Targets booth had already sold out of its bestselling pink shooting target, sales of which benefit not the NRA’s “round-up” program, but breast cancer research and awareness. “Our new line of female targets is selling like crazy,” said a company rep. Down the aisle, the first company to market exclusively to the woman shooter, the Ontario-based Packing In Pink, likewise did a brisk trade.

First of all, a woman wants to own a gun, why does it have to be made pink and sparkly for her? Why can’t she buy the same gun every other person gets? So obnoxious. I also love how the only issue benefitted by sales for charity was breast cancer awareness, since women’s issues are just, you know, their boobs.

A.

Guns for Ladies

Oh CHRIST:

Watts’ report focused on the NRA’s growing political radicalism, but the gender shift is leaving pink streaks that are also unlike anything in the group’s history. Few were the exhibits on the gun show floor that did not feature products catering to women. We are now well past the novelty of a pink AR-15 here, a sparkled pistol there. Today’s woman has holsters and targets of her own. In Indy, the Law Enforcement Targets booth had already sold out of its bestselling pink shooting target, sales of which benefit not the NRA’s “round-up” program, but breast cancer research and awareness. “Our new line of female targets is selling like crazy,” said a company rep. Down the aisle, the first company to market exclusively to the woman shooter, the Ontario-based Packing In Pink, likewise did a brisk trade.

First of all, a woman wants to own a gun, why does it have to be made pink and sparkly for her? Why can’t she buy the same gun every other person gets? So obnoxious. I also love how the only issue benefitted by sales for charity was breast cancer awareness, since women’s issues are just, you know, their boobs.

A.

Guns for Ladies

Oh CHRIST:

Watts’ report focused on the NRA’s growing political radicalism, but the gender shift is leaving pink streaks that are also unlike anything in the group’s history. Few were the exhibits on the gun show floor that did not feature products catering to women. We are now well past the novelty of a pink AR-15 here, a sparkled pistol there. Today’s woman has holsters and targets of her own. In Indy, the Law Enforcement Targets booth had already sold out of its bestselling pink shooting target, sales of which benefit not the NRA’s “round-up” program, but breast cancer research and awareness. “Our new line of female targets is selling like crazy,” said a company rep. Down the aisle, the first company to market exclusively to the woman shooter, the Ontario-based Packing In Pink, likewise did a brisk trade.

First of all, a woman wants to own a gun, why does it have to be made pink and sparkly for her? Why can’t she buy the same gun every other person gets? So obnoxious. I also love how the only issue benefitted by sales for charity was breast cancer awareness, since women’s issues are just, you know, their boobs.

A.

My Husband Desires My Fertility

I can't. I CAAAAAANNNNN'TTTTT:

Perhaps I could have shared my own experience. You see, I don’t know what condom-sex feels like, but I can’t imagine it’s better than the au natural.

I only know what it is like to have sex with my husband without any barriers between us. By God’s grace I have been blessed to experience what it is to have a man cherish me for all I am and relish in the joy of conceiving child after child with me, and who desires all of me, including my fertility, in a passionate way.

My question to you, my dear, is this: isn’t that something you want for yourself? 

What in the seventh blue hell. Do you genuinely think that's a good argument to start with, when confronting a 20-something woman buying condoms? Child after child? Your man desires your fertility? Okay, until he doesn't anymore and CUTS OFF YOUR HEAD AND MARRIES SOMEONE ELSE when you get too old to keep having litters or whatever this is on about. 

A. 

It’s Not About You

This nails it, almost: 

But what all these issues, no matter how gigantically separated an Esquire puff piece and a Tennessee mother’s jailing for meth may seem, reflect back at us: How, in this country, every barometer by which female worth is measured—from the superficial to the life-altering, the appreciative to the punitive—has long been calibrated to “dude,” whether or not those measurements are actually being taken by dudes. Men still run, or at bare minimum have shaped and codified the attitudes of, the churches, the courts, the universities, the police departments, the corporations that so freely determine women’s worth. As Beyoncé observed last year, “Money gives men power to run the show. It gives men the power to define value. They define what’s sexy. And men define what’s feminine. It’s ridiculous.” 

Because it's not even that assessments of women's lives are up to men. It's that they're up to everybody else. Men, other women, politicians, courts, everybody. Everybody else. 

We think it's up to us whether another woman's child can play alone in a park. We think it's up to us whether another woman should stay home or go to work. We think it's up to us whether another woman should have an abortion, whether somebody should buy a particular brand of cereal with food stamps, whether somebody should drink or swear or dance or date or get married or not get married or bone another dude or adopt some kids or not adopt any kids. 

We think we should have the right to an opinion about our neighbor, about the man who runs the church choir, about Octomom and Casey Anthony and every other goddamn thing. We think we should get to comment on it. We think we should get to talk about it. We think this is what passes for being involved in the world and engaged in society.  

When it's not about you, #notallmen. It's not about you, MRAs. It's not about you, Princeton Mom. It's not about you, Hobby Lobby. It's not about you, Katie Couric and NANCY FUCKING GRACE. If it's not about you then it's not about you, how we act and how we dress and who we see and who we screw and where we work.

And don't get in my face about your tax dollars because if you can't see how this protects you more than it endangers you I got nothin' for you and head back to camp. It's not about you at all. You don't need to be here for this meeting. You're not on the agenda and your advice is not being solicited. Leave now, and on your way out take a long deep drink at the fountain of shut the fuck up. 

A. 

Old Spice Just Hates People

I honestly don’t know who in this story I feel worse for:

Fellas, your greatest achievement in life is detaching yourself from your horrible hag of a mom! You can’t have a healthy relationship with her while living a normal adult life, like a person! You must escape her clutches, and take no notice of her dragging behind you, an old tight-permed biddy who just folds laundry and knits and hates your friends.

Ladies, your child’s most significant relationship in life should be with you alone, and any part of growing up that threatens your ability to think of him as an infant is evil and must be eliminated. His independence and social skills are not a sign that you raised him well. They’re a direct affront to you and you should cling to him by any means necessary. That way your son will be a miserable shut-in who speaks only to you, and you can own him forever!

Fathers apparently don’t exist at all in this world, because there’s no room for Dad in between Mom and Her Precious Boy. Is there a single thing about this that isn’t creepy? It makes me ashamed to be a mammal. Anybody who’s ever watched a horror film knows how these relationships end, and it’s SPOILER ALERT NOT WELL.

A.