I’m Not a Mother First, Updated

Tried to re-blog this through the original post, but it doesn’t seem to be working.

Excellent blog post here commenting on an article from The Nation by Jessica Valenti regarding the rhetoric of motherhood here. Some really interesting comments and discussion.Reminds me a little of this post I wrote a while ago.

My favorite bit of the article: “Fathers are never expected to subsume their identity into parenthood the way that mothers are. If President Obama were to tell us that he is ’father-in-chief’ first, America would balk. How could a man be an effective president if he put the needs of his children above the needs of his country?

Yes, we are mothers and sisters and daughters and wives. We’re also much more. And declaring our individual importance as people and citizens does not diminish the depth of love we have for our children or the central role parenthood plays in our lives.

When we tout ourselves mothers first, women give those who would enshrine their dehumanization more firepower and assure that their domestic work will only ever be paid in thanks, not in policy or power. Until that changes, I’m a mother second.”

What do YOU think?

2 Responses to “I’m Not a Mother First, Updated”

  1. October 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    OK, I’m only a man so my views are less informed on this issue – I haven’t given birth to any children – but I reckon anyone who defines them self primarily in terms of one role is foolish at the very least. You’re a Mom and then your child dies and you can’t have another – is your life over? …or your child grows up and decides he/she doesn’t want to keep in touch any more – takes your mothering role away from you before you’re ready – where does that leave you? Very sad, I’d say. It’s just the same for a man who defines himself primarily in terms of his job, but then the economy goes bad and his company goes bust & he’s out of a job.
    There has to be much more to life than one role. We can be lots of roles and it’s only pragmatic to get the most out of all aspects of our life. It seems to me that the people who are emphasizing their “Mom” role are probably doing it because the micro-society (e.g. their church or political party or family) they live in isn’t considering any other role as legitimate.

    But as I said, I’m no expert on motherhood (or anything, for that matter).

    • October 9, 2012 at 8:08 am

      I agree with you completely about the dangers of defining ourselves in terms of one thing.

      I also find it interesting that you reflexively compared it to a man defining himself primarily in terms of his job. (And many would not think less of him for it. But if a woman defines herself primarily in terms of her job, or a man defines himself primarily in terms of being a father, most of society would think there was something SERIOUSLY wrong.)

      One of the things Jessica is trying address in her article, I think.

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