Thursday, February 17, 2005

Mad Moms, Money, and More

Alliteration is great, isn't it? I've been thinking a bit more about the mommy madness thing and reading a few posts here and there and of course, haven't come to any grand conclusions. Something Purple Elephant raised was the class issue and I think that's a big one. Elizabeth at Half-Changed World also raises the issue of the difference between the women who are struggling to just get the basics done and those who are trying to cram in way too much (whether at home or working). The Newsweek article in particular focuses on women who are decidedly upper middle class. Though specifics about the spouses combined incomes and work schedules were left out, one got the distinct impression that their combined incomes were above that magic $200,000 level. One woman was a tv news anchor; that's gotta pay pretty well.

What's interesting to me are the people who react to the article so negatively (there are more but I can't find them right now) and say that we can't expect "society" to fix this and that it has nothing to do with culture. While I think they have a point in that the article obviously focuses on a group of women who may be creating this situtation through their own sense of perfectionism, there are an awful lot of women out there who are disappointed with the culture that makes raising children more difficult.

No one seems to be looking at the way tv, print media, and movies shape what we think mothers should be. What about all those laundry and cleaning product commercials where they never show men cleaning? What about the sitcoms where the dumpy man sits in the recliner drinking beer while his svelte wife deals with the kids, cooks dinner, and folds laundry and she's been at work all day? Isn't this a way of sending women a message?

I'll agree that maybe there isn't a government program that's going to save us from this problem (if it is a problem), but I think we need to question the values that are being pushed at us from all directions. So maybe the upper classes have Martha Stewart in mind, but I guarantee you that those who can't afford everything she has are trying to or they try to create that same perfection with less.

And all that family values talk that comes around all the time. There's always a message in there that women should be doing something different--not working usually or homeschooling or something. It's never good enough.

I'm not sure we can say that it's society's fault, but as someone who believes that we are shaped by subconscious cues given to us by society, I have to believe that society/culture has played a role.

I have a long post about money but I've rambled on long enough, so I'll post that one later.

Here's the More: Everything on my list, I got done. Did the thing for the prof. Had a good wine and cheese (over 30 people showed up!). Good off-campus meeting. I'm feeling much less like an indentured servant after having some really good conversations with faculty at the reception. Hugged and kissed the kids, who decided to put themselves to bed tonight. And tomorrow's Friday!