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the ideal society / culture in which to be a mother?

(115 Posts)
curryeater Tue 25-Jun-13 10:59:32

I follow a few Mormon Mommy blogs like this:

I also woh full time and argue passionately that women need and deserve full material status in society with equivalent freedoms to men.

I am confused about the tension between two theoretical positions and would like to work out if there could ever be a practical - real life - synthesis of them, in a form that would be a society that is perfect for mothers.

Position a: motherhood is glorious and should be supported for what it is, rather than demanding that mothers do other things at the same time, like earn money, as if motherhood were some kind of "not really a job" type thing. It is best done by intelligent, supported, healthy, creative women who are honoured for what they do. And that means we don't have to ask them to do anything else. Society should channel its resources into them. Breastfeeding is exhausting, home made food and beautiful homes are very demanding of those who make them, and they are enormous gifts to children, families, and wider society. [downsides in practice, if not in theory: women who don't become mothers are scorned; women who want to do other things are not allowed to, or are only accorded second class status; women do not have independent access to money and are basically stuck with a man like a possession, no matter what, which is an abusers' charter]

Position b: women, including mothers, are full complete rounded human beings with the same faculties and rights as men. they can and should take full part in all of human life including varied, interesting, and financially rewarding work. Having children is just one of the things they might do and does not define them. [downsides in practice if not in theory: exhaustion, because mothering is actually a full time job even with help; down playing maternal achievements and lowering status of mothers relative to male indexes of external success; a sense of individual isolation, that if it is not working it is your fault, and it should all be possible; short cuts like formula and ready meals become necessities instead of options, because maternal resources are scarce]

I suppose I like blogs like Taza because I like that she makes mothering look glamorous and aspirational, as opposed to the use of "mumsy" in a fasion sense as being second class and ugly (which I loathe). But it is all firmly grounded within a conservative Mormon ethos in which the woman's place is in the home, and it makes my teeth itch.

So what would an ideal society for mothers look like? Because you can't have position a unless supported by society; which then becomes compulsion. but position b is so lonely and hard sometimes. And I worry that I am honestly not doing mothering as well as I could if I had nothing else to to.


scottishmummy Fri 28-Jun-13 19:25:51

Yes new fathers do get elevated prolactin,lowered testosterone immediate after birth
These hormonal changes return to Normal level@ 6 month after birth
The male hormones don't remain changed

Dervel Sat 29-Jun-13 11:23:23

Absolutely! Therefore it's essential that bonding and care is established as early as possible.

78bunion Sun 30-Jun-13 09:49:06

It is only in sexist homes and cultures that men are regarded as incompetent at home. That is not the experience of most women.

curryeater Sun 30-Jun-13 11:35:25

Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat. Its original metaphorical meaning, within the Yiddish culture and language in which it is at home, is a lucky person - to fall into the schmalz pot is to luck out. Only within American English language and culture did it come to mean corny.

Scottishmummy, I am picking up on your repeated use of Schmaltzy to mean tasteless and sentimental because I think it is interesting that what in some contexts is regarded as rich, joyful and fortunate is regarded as overdone and tasteless in others.

Don't forget we need fat. It has been fashionable to regard low-fat as healthy - a rational diet - but it has caused a lot of health problems. Bring on the schmaltz, I say. Bring on the mother -love.

I also find it confusing that you are so angry when the status quo suits you so well. No one is actually threatening it, by the way. And the conventional haughty false dichotomy between reason and feelings is misguided and shallow.

Also (everyone), why go on about fathers? In a thread about mothers? No one is discrediting them or the work they do by thinking about mothers for 5 minutes. Every time you see someone collecting for the life boats, do you go up to them and shout "WHAT ABOUT THE FIREFIGHTERS, THEY DO A BLOODY MARVELLOUS JOB?"

scottishmummy Sun 30-Jun-13 18:22:37

You're a one woman clintons cards experience with all your quips
I think you understand exactly what I mean by schmaltz,and you exhibit it in buckets
Mother love?yes I believe you can get treatment for that affliction.if one were to bring it one,as you say

curryeater Sun 30-Jun-13 19:39:07

scottishmummy, of course I understand what you mean. I completely understand it. The thing is, you don't understand what I mean. It's ironic that you are talking about rationality, etc, but being very irrational in your intensely emotional attachment to a very limited and unnuanced schema: intensely emotional, in which the primary emotions seem to be anger and bitterness, which tell a different story from your expression of deep satisfaction with a collection of 80s cliches.

I am happy if the modus operandi that was available to you did actually work for you as perfectly as you say. But I am confused that you are so annoyed that others might be interested in asking questions about how the lots of other mothers might be improved.

It is something I have often seen on here and it confuses me. People ask: what can we do about x? And a poster insists, frothily, angrily, that x is fine, so completely fine, that anyone who wants to change it is somehow mentally deficient. But don't you see the illogic of that? you can say: x is fine for me. you haven't offered any reasonable argument as to why that means it cannot possibly be anything but fine for anyone else. It's like saying to someone who is trying to invent cling film that there is something wrong with them because you have always been happy with aluminium foil. And getting very angry about it.

78bunion Sun 30-Jun-13 19:43:04

The lot of mothers is improved when they insist on lack of sexism at home and only marry non sexist men. It's very simple. Many women share child care 50/50 with men and work full time and that is the best option for many.

scottishmummy Sun 30-Jun-13 19:51:51

Oh dear,you're précis is well flawed invent a summary to suit yourself
In 9posts I say schmaltz twice.that is hardly repeated use or emphasis
I see you did same purposefully misconstrue posts trick further back too.its lame and obvious

scottishmummy Sun 30-Jun-13 20:01:42

You've constructed a summary of my posts to suit yourself
You assert I'm angry,I'm not. But well that doesn't fit in with your posts
By all means don't let fact get in way of your interpretation of my posts

lilystem Sun 30-Jun-13 20:19:03

Really interesting discussion.

I'm a new mum and feel I have a great life - therefore I would say that the best culture/society to mother in would be just like mine. Of course I would, I'm happy, it suits me and my family. But it's very different to what some other mums might see as ideal - and there lies the rub, one mans heaven is another mans hell.

Fwiw the good things that I think are;
- family business' run from home or close by. Then the whole family can be involved in working or raising kids e.g my parents have picked up the slack again after a few years of semi retirement and will do so until the kids are at school. Equally, I still have a valued role in the business that suits me and my skills.

- I have a lot of family support nearby. I think parents who raise kids without family support deserve a medal - I'd find it so hard.

I guess my overall point is that I believe in the saying it takes a village to raise a child and I think the extended family and community are really important in supporting mums.

curryeater Mon 01-Jul-13 12:03:33

Right, lilystem - it kind of feels like whether you have that unpaid support around comes down to a lottery (can you make a living near your family? I can't) or popularity contest (do people flock round you, or not like you much?) It is the latter that bothers me most - I am uneasy with unpaid, informal structures of help in general - as with charities, some are considered sexy, some are not. And I am uneasy with the traditional glorification of motherhood being tied up with an idea of celebrating virtue, and the pretty, glamorous, well liked benefiting from their attractiveness translating into a willingness to help, while the depressive or just introverted and uncommunicative being left to their own devices.

78bunion Mon 01-Jul-13 15:33:21

However, surely you reap what you sow? Be a nice person everyone wants to be around and you tend to get help. Be Mrs Misery Guts and no one will want to help you. It's just human nature.

scottishmummy Mon 01-Jul-13 18:50:45

Unpaid informal help occurs in friendship/family groups and sometimes faith groups
In the way we gravitate to,and help out those whom we like or have something in common with
Theres huge paid for childcare industry self-employed cm,nursery,nanny.paid for is highly regulated

betterthanever Mon 01-Jul-13 23:36:58

78 I really wish some people well just one really I know would reap what they sow but somehow they manage to sow very little and keep reaping... I am keeping the faith that this will change.
curry I feel similar, in that to have that as an ideal for me would fail so many who can't have it for many reasons and who should not feel any less of a person/mother or friend as a result. In fact it tends to be those who don't have that support and strive on with love that I admire the most.

qumquat Tue 09-Jul-13 19:17:48

Only read the first page, but wanted to say (VERY LOUDLY) that my dad was equally good at 'mothering' and better at housekeeping than my mum, and my DP is MUCH better at housekeeping than me (will let you know on the mothering in a few months time, but we are sharing m/paternity leave equally so that will be a good start!).

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