Ack! What’s going on? If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d be convinced we were in the midst of a well-coordinated, full-on assault against those who can’t or don’t have children.
You may recall the judgmental Orlando Sentinel Mom’s at Work blog I referenced in my last post. Who knew it was the tip of the iceberg?
This week Mika Brzezinski weighs in. Mika, Mika, Mika…I really expected more from you. We’re contemporaries. I watched you tackle tough topics as a reporter, saw you anchor the weekend national news. Did you really write not one but two posts all but arguing that children are essential to fulfillment?
“Women face enough pressures and challenges in a workplace that is still depressingly biased against a female’s success. Add to that, the fact that the very thing many women I know find most rewarding (having kids) is now frowned upon.”
Having kids is now frowned upon? Mika, you must be seriously distracted to have missed out of the whole mommy movement. Just check out Mom’s Rising or Mom 2.0 Summit or the Motherhood Project or Maria Shriver’s latest report, A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything. As Melanie Notkin points out in her editor’s note on Savvy Auntie the report weirdly overlooked the fact that not all women are mothers:
“The study, meant to change the way government policy and businesses modernize with the new standing of women in the economy – a change I completely support – interchanges the word “woman” with “mother” so often it’s as if all women are mothers.”
Bella DePaulo, a single woman with no children, takes the point further in a piece in Psychology Today:
“It is the year 2009. It is past time to accord single women and women who do not have children a place of recognition and respect in our society, our universities, our policies, our politics, our workplaces, our marketplaces, our media…”
Lori Bradley at BellaOnline shares another perspective after being called out a social event by a mother for not having children in her post “Living Childfree and Community Connected:”
“Do I know less about being human and living fully in our mysterious universe because I don’t have kids? No! I have less experience in some areas but more in others!”
Heck, even the FTC is looking into how moms are using their influence and growing share of voice. As the Los Angeles Times‘ story points out mommy bloggers are wooed hard and often by companies seeking their endorsement.
Mixing it up further, a woman’s studies professor noted in a recent email exchange, “Could be the mommy bloggers (and all the tabloid stories) are protesting a bit much on purpose to convince women that babies are the way to go. Not just to insist that everyone has to do the same thing, or the thing they do — but because there’s anxiety about women not doing that same thing – and not seeing why they should.”
Some women choose not to have children and others simply cannot due to a host of reasons, which I’ve talked about at length on this blog.
I’d like to raise a bigger question (which I included in my comment to Mika’s post). To all the moms espousing motherhood as the most valuable, rewarding position: What if your children are unable to have children? Are you setting them up for a sense failure if they can’t or don’t achieve parenthood?
Rather than reinforce a narrow point of view, why not add equal weight to other aspects of how one can derive a fulfilling life? Echoing Bella’s point, “how about transforming the world to work better for ALL of us? According to the U.S. Census, more than 38 million Americans live in non-family households.”