High profile mommies like Michelle are not just advocates for our issues, they are examples of how empowering, fun, relevant and simply ‘cool’ it is to be a mommy.
(Note: ReclaimingPink is a non-partisan blog but that doesn’t mean we don’t have opinions…)
Sleep deprived, barefoot, kitchen-sink chained – is this what you think modern mommyhood is going to be?
Well, enter the most high-profile mommy in North America. Michelle Obama:
All across North America there are mommies. Some are working parents putting their kids in 12 hour day-care, some are stay-at-home moms trying to make it work on one income from their spouse and some are single parents. Mommies are educated with doctorates and mommies are 16 year olds that dropped out when they found out they were pregnant. Mommies have never, in history, been such a diverse group.
With the youngest family since the Kennedy’s living in the White House, we here at ReclaimingPink, think that Michelle can, and does play a major role in making the lives of all mommies and their kids better.
Mommyhood has lived a public relations nightmare since second wave feminism hit the scene. Blamed as the cause of the woes of women and framed as a method of ‘patriarchal oppression’, being a mommy became ‘uncool’. Despite the fact that 81% of American women become mothers in their lifetime, that’s a lot of ‘uncoolness’ right there.
While many things impact economic policy – could this ‘uncoolness’ factor have any bearing on the level of practical support that society is willing to give to mommies? In the last decade we have seen a massive increase in ‘Get Back To Work’ programs. Governments are offering schooling for free at a younger and younger age in addition to subsidized daycare for our tiniest tots. Going back to work or contracting out your kid’s infancy to others is no longer a choice for most women, it’s a necessity. Single income living in order to be a full-time mommy is simply impossible. (ps. America is the only first world country
Many women do want to get back to work. Some, like Melissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, returned almost immediately. I personally would go bananas if I didn’t also work. However, when we return to work, we lack flexible workplaces and spaces that can accommodate our mommy identity. Women returning to top-flight high-income jobs are expected in the office all hours of the day and night. Even women returning to some of the lowest paid jobs in our workforce are struggling with their employers attitudes and practices.
While we must tackle all these issues, perhaps there is a ‘sea-change’ opportunity to make an impact just like second-wave feminism did.
Mommyhood isn’t about the cleaning, sleep-depravation and complete lack of footwear. It is about so much more than that. A great example of this is one program launching here in Canada this week, MOMMYTalks – professionally produced “mommy development” and, honestly, it looks really ‘cool’. Qudos to AwesomeMommy creator Jane Farkas and her partner in crime, Ally Lander.