Monday, Suburban Correspondent weighed in with her very smart response to the Matron's post about housecleaning. And who does more. Which would be the Matron.
One of the best things Suburban said was this: "most of us do not believe that women who take care of their homes and their children full-time already have a job."
Hot dang, clanged the Matron! This is righteous feminism, the good stuff rolling in 'round the middle of the last century when women pointed out the fact that raising children, cooking, cleaning, managing the extended family, shopping, and tending to all the tender psyches within a ten mile radius actually constituted legitimate labor.
Motherhood and household management create a full-time job --one we all share.
Now, Suburban also used the phrase "the Mommy wars," noting that she this was one flame she did not intend to fuel. The Matron understands that dear Suburban did not invent this term, simply deployed it, as many of us do.
But who is waging this battle? The Mommy wars?
First, let us cringe at the phrase itself. The use of the phrase "the Mommy wars" immediately diminishes any legitimate issue at hand. The Matron does not allow pediatricians or nurses to refer to her as "mom" and she does not think that the larger social issues wrapped up in a woman's choices (or lack thereof) regarding work and child-rearing should be linked to the word "mommy." We are women. Women. But that's a harder, scarier word with different, less necessarily nurturing, connotations.
The Mommy wars also has a back-fence feel, a cat fight around the corner, the plight of the individual woman at hand as opposed to a complex set of social, economic and political forces that engage us all.
In her book, Perfect Madness, (okay, the Matron linked that book to her own review rather than the book itself!) Judith Warner tracked how the American impulse toward, and reverence for, individualism affects mothers. We feel all alone out here, and we are. There's no universal daycare, no social security or salary for full-time mothers, no certainty that public education is adequate and safe.
In sum, to the Matronly mind, "The Mommy wars" diminishes and individualizes complex social issues regarding work and child-rearing. But let's step away from the phrase itself and explore the content: the 'war' women are waging as mothers.
Sniff, sniff? The Matron smells no gun powder.
While The New York Time Magazine discusses Emily Gould and the snarky world of Gawker, the little world of women blogging about motherhood, work, and life is an entirely different, completely pleasant planet.
Comments are all: "you are so wonderful" and "I'm sorry you had a bad day: if I was there I'd make you a cup of tea" or "Let me tell you what I did when my three year old punched his preschool teacher, maybe that will help?"
Indeed, so strong is this culture, so powerful, that the Matron hesitated over Suburban, was sure to remove this woman from any critique of the phrase itself, to not in any way wag her finger at her bloggy friend for using the phrase. Because the Matron? She did not want to hurt anyone's feelings.
Cheri at Blog this Mom is a good example of this culture. In two years, her blog has gotten ONE mean-spirited comment! Even the edgier, institutionalized and commercially-inclined Dooce and Her Bad Mother brim with girlfriend, Mama-Love! We women online mail free gifts to strangers, routinely, with various blog give-aways; we heart blogs and women we love. Nobody is fighting. In fact, we are all running over to Mrs. G's Women's Colony.
Indeed, at first this puzzled the Matron! Trained as a literary critic, she wanted to seize and pounce, to deconstruct one post and laud another. But she soon saw that the glue that bound the blogosphere was not one of witty word or being more clever than someone else, but of real women (mostly) and feeling-- of support and sharing, not ripping apart like an academic article or book review. (even though she still sometimes gets competitive and grumpy when she compares her prose to some of the very famous and thinks that her words have verve, snap and sparkle and shine just as much and maybe sometimes little bit more but she's not supposed to notice and point this out, which she just did anyway, rebel!)
Mommy wars? Not in this blogosphere.