I can be obsessive, especially when something is bothering me. And the Scary Mommy Shame Articles are really bothering me. More so than they should, honestly, because I’ve visited the site a few times this week and I’ve found a great number of lovely articles and heartbreaking articles and insightful articles. So why 1) are so many of the douchy ones showing up on my FB feed and 2) for real, why am I so very bothered by them?
I think… I have discovered why.
It’s the Myth of the Super Woman. It’s the cultural expectation that we, as women, are only entitled to equal treatment if we can be all the things all the time to all the people. If you’re going to work in a male-dominated industry, you must be the smartest and contribute the most but you must do it without being too domineering. If you’re going to be an athlete, you must have the most skills and talent, enough to rival men, but you must look real good doing it. If you’re going to be a politician, you must be the perfect blend of strength and vulnerability, smiling when we want you to smile and being serious when we want you to be serious, having the perfect solution to every problem and never making any mistakes or missteps.
And if you’re going to be a mom, well… get ready. Because you can’t possible be a good mom if you disagree with the masses. You can’t possibly be a good mom if you work or if you don’t work, if you sleep train or if you don’t sleep train, if you breastfeed or if you don’t breastfeed (or if you do so publicly or hidden away in a bathroom stall). You must have all the skills of a traditional mom: sewing, cooking, cleaning. You must have all the skills of a modern mom: budgeting, scheduling, homework help/educational activity leading. And you must constantly, obsessively compare yourself with other good moms to make sure you’re keeping up.
It’s the Myth of the Super Woman that forces us to compare ourselves to others, find ourselves superior or inferior, and then write shitty blog posts and articles to justify our superiority or inferiority. I’m not a great cook so I have to crap all over people who make their own baby food. I can sew so I have to crap all over people who buy Halloween costumes (by the way, I don’t like to sew. I don’t make things. I already bought my son a costume from Target). I breastfed so I have to shame the nonbreastfeeders. I didn’t sleep train so I have to make excuses for why my son still doesn’t sleep through the night.
My God, people, can we just give it a freaking rest? Can we stop tattling on our neighbors for letting their kids stand in the doorway unsupervised? Can we let the people who bake well make the cookies and the people who schedule well plan the events? Can we accept our own choices as being valid and others’ choices as mostly being none of our damn business? Can we chill the frig out for 5 minutes and just live our own lives the best way we know how?
Nope. Apparently not. Because if it’s not one thing, it’s another. If it’s not Super Women in the workforce, it’s Super Women at home. If it’s not Super Women in politics, it’s Super Women in business. If it’s not breastfeeding and sleep training, it’s public school vs private school or soccer vs karate. Maybe it’s just the nature of people to be competitive or maybe it’s the reality of the society we live in that women in particular have to constantly be distracted by bullcrap to keep from rising up and taking over.
Either way, I’m out. I don’t want to play the comparison game anymore. I’ll be over here making the best informed decisions about parenting I can and voting for the only qualified candidate, despite her imperfections because frankly, she is a Super Woman. I challenge anyone to measure themselves against the standards she has been held up to and not come out looking like a hypocrite or an elitist or just a thoroughly imperfect person. At least she’s capable and qualified and dedicated, which is the best you can say for any mother these days. For any woman, actually. Most of us our doing more than our very best and all of us aren’t nearly enough no matter what we do. And none of that is going to change with That Man in office.