Defining Oneself: Time for a War on “Mommy”

16 Mar

Ok, I was surfing the internet instead of writing (something I’ve been known to do…) and came across this article on one of the message boards I frequent. Ironically it’s on the Wall Street Journal’s blog website.

For those who don’t want to read the article or can’t access the link…a quick summation would be that the author–a writer and mother–feels offended by the word “Mommy” when used by others in reference to her.

She feels it’s demeaning and childish.

I can understand part of her viewpoint. I don’t want strangers or even my family (other than my baby and husband, or my family when talking directly to Evie saying something like “You have your mommy’s eyes.” or something like that) calling me ‘mommy’.

But do I feel as the author Taffy Brodesser-Akner does? No. Not really.

I don’t think the word ‘mommy’ has a negative connotation, I don’t think it’s being used to condescend to the woman being referred to. I think the word ‘mommy’ being used for advertising purposes like described in the article is done because so many women themselves are referring to themselves as mommies, mamas, or mothers.

So what is wrong with that? A time existed in our not too distant past when women almost seemed to want to suppress the fact that they were mothers. Belief by many, many people was that a woman had to choose…either motherhood or a career. But a growing number of women have realized that the two do  not have to be mutually exclusive. The realization has come from many women and businesses that careers can also be had from the comfort of a woman’s home office, allowing that woman to be with her children during the so-called formative years.

How in Rumplestiltskin’s name of all that’s hole-ly is this realization a bad thing?

Society is now starting to tell women that it’s wonderful to be a mother while working on your career–and so many women are identifying with being mothers that advertising agencies have noticed–and the number of work-at-home mothers is growing by leaps. Women are starting to ‘have it all’ just like their male counterparts.

So if being called ‘mommy’ is anti-feministic like Brodesser-Akner is implying, I don’t want any part in her definition of feminism. I revel in being Evie’s mom. I obsess about the cute clothes I can put on her for various occasions and about the next absolutely adorable cloth diaper I will be buying her next. (OMG, how anti-feminist am I? I actually choose to wash my daughter’s diapers!)

I also obsess about my career, too. I plan my marketing campaign for upcoming releases, I work out kinks in my next novel’s plot and characters. I research crime procedure, ways to murder people that don’t involve guns, and Civil War prison camps in Indiana, April of 1865…

I am a career woman. A career many people think about and dream about. I have what I want and what I worked toward since I was in high school. I repeat…I knew what I wanted and I went after it. And got it.

While I was going after it I met a man I love and I married him and we made a child together. My career and my family are not two separate conflicting entities. They are who I am. Both are part of the straw hat I’ve woven for me to wear (other strands include wife, daughter, sister, aunt, granddaughter, cook, photographer, graphic designer and border collie wrangler and doggy door attendant) throughout my life.

I want to be called ‘mommy’ if that’s what it takes for society to recognize the dual roles I now occupy. I am a mommy. I am also a career woman who is educated in my profession. I just do my work from home, with my daughter sleeping in her boppy pillow beside me. The writing gets done. And the baby gets fed and changed. And Justice dog gets to go out 837 times each day.

baby and dog asleep on couch

Evie at work.

So go ahead and call me ‘Mommy of Evie’. You can also call me B.G. Lashbrooks, author of romance novels. They both refer to the same person.


Posted by on March 16, 2011 in baby, writing


2 responses to “Defining Oneself: Time for a War on “Mommy”

  1. Jen

    March 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    My mother abhors being called “Mommy” and will not allow it. She was a stay-at-home mom the entire time I was growing up and chose taking care of her infirm father and children over having her own life and career. Now she is an independent single parent and teacher. When I was growing up, she was that stereotypical non-career, laundry-washing mom and now she is pretty much the opposite, but we all call her “Mother.” To her, it is a sign of our respect for her and her decisions. She doesn’t mind other mothers who don’t mind being called “Mommy,” she just doesn’t like it for herself.

    • bglashbrooks2

      March 17, 2011 at 12:47 am

      “To her, it’s a sign of our respect…”
      That’s exactly what it is. The author of the blog post I quoted seems to devalue the other mothers’ right to be called ‘mommy’ if they chose. How is not respecting another woman’s choice a feminist ideal? That’s what I couldn’t figure out when I first read her post.


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