I am not Mommy, I am a grown woman

Dear Mommy Blogger ~

I’d like to introduce you to blah blah; blah blah is a great product that will enhance your life as a mommy, please share news about blah blah product with your readers, followers, friends and whoever else. If you need high resolution photos or more information, please contact the Blah Blah PR firm.

Sincerely,

Blah Blah Blah

PR Rep

Every single day, my inbox is filled with some variation of the above “letter”, someone asking me to take my time (which is in short supply) and promote their product. Apparently the fact that I have birthed humans and I write on this thing we call a blog puts me in a certain demographic…and I am sick and tired of it.

First off, yes I am considered a “mommy blogger” but considering that my eldest kid is now able to go out and legally buy himself a cold brew, calling me a “mommy” sounds a bit silly if you ask me. Hell, even the seven year old is moving away from “mommy”.

More importantly though, now that the act of mothering has become “commercialized” it offends my personal sensibilities that my primary identity as seen through the eyes of marketers and public relations folks has been reduced to “mothering”. Make no mistake, having become a mother at 19, the backdrop of mothering has always been a very important part of my life but just as I don’t solely base my identity on being a non-profit administrator nor is my identity based on being a mother.

Rather it is my belief that all humans play various roles at various seasons in our lives and part of being healthy is recognizing that all of these roles are part of who we are as a whole. In my case, I am a mother, partner, lover, worker, boss, sister, daughter, friend, writer and the list goes on. Sometimes I wear all these hats at one time and sometimes, I wear them as needed.

Lately, my mothering hat has had a little less wear as I navigate the world of my son coming into his own as a young man. He is involved in his first serious adult relationship (he is bringing her home to meet me soon), he moved out of his dorm and into his first apartment, he is going on tour and will even being doing a showcase at South by Southwest in a few weeks. Yet the last string that connected us in a mom-child relationship was severed when he told me to use the money he receives to live on to instead help my ailing Dad who is currently without an income. That means at 21 he is truly on his own and off the family payroll as I call it. As a mother and parent that is a huge milestone, one that is both joyous and bittersweet. Yet it is part of raising kids, they need to stand on their own and our relationship will continue to evolve as it should into an adult child and parent relationship, but it is clear our mommy relationship is over. It was a good run.

While I can’t officially hang up my mommy hat just yet, it’s clear that even at seven and a half, I am seeing the sign of change as the girl child spends more time in her lair creating art and less time hanging onto me. My, we have even started being able to sleep in, this morning I slept until 10am and this is becoming more common as Seven wakes up and occupies herself until the Man Unit and I get up.

Then again now that I am no longer playing the role of Mommy full time, all the time with no break, I can now take time for myself…to dream, to play…to just be. To find myself and to see who I have become over the years and to wear whatever hat best suits me at any given time. So, please don’t reduce me to just Mommy because Mommy is me but she is only part of me… I am a full on grown woman with a variety of interests and tastes and taking care of me as a whole is my first priority, so what products do you have for me now?

 

When Mommy Bloggers Fail, and Babble is just Bad

As a woman who happens to be a mother and also a blogger, I rarely refer to myself as a mom blogger and suggest if you want to stay on my good side you never refer to me as a Mom blogger either. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against so called mom bloggers, there are some good ones out there. Back in late 2004 when I found myself pregnant right before my son’s 13th birthday, it was sites like mothering, and many of the mom blogs that helped refreshed my memory on what pregnancy and babyhood would be like. Since when you find yourself pregnant when your only other child is entering his teen years, the reality is you need to relearn all that baby stuff over and boy did I have a lot to learn!

Pregnancy and motherhood was pretty simple back when I did it the first time in 1991-92, thankfully I did not have the internet telling what to do or not to do. All I had were a few books and second hand stories from other women who had survived the process. That said, knowledge is key and in 2004-05 it was the internet along with a persistent midwife that made me give breastfeeding a shot. As I have shared on this blog before, with my eldest there was no discussion of how he would be fed, he got Enfamil and survived but by 2004 I knew I had to make a decision. In the end I went from being a reluctant breast feeder to nursing my daughter three and a half years! Considering that as a whole Black women have lower rates than other races when it comes to breastfeeding I admit I take pride in that decision. I still smile when my now 6 year old looks back fondly on how wonderfully sweet my bickie milk was but at the same time am very firm when she asks is there anymore left. Sorry love, that train left the station.

While I won’t ever call myself a lactivist or any other type of activist on parenting issues instead saving my activism for the economic ignorance and disparities that exist in this country it does not mean I don’t get pissed off when it comes to certain issues. I must admit that the state of online parenting advice and so called mommy blogs disappoints me greatly. Now that the monetization of parenthood has started it seems that gone is the great advice of only a few short years ago. Instead we share our stories in hopes of earning the most page views since high page views and many followers on places like Twitter and Facebook often mean cold hard cash, which of course means we go for controversy. I realized that today as I ran across this piece on my twitter feed.

Sites like Babble seem designed to create controversy and are only one reason that I feel maybe it is time for mommy blogs to die. I know some of my readers will read this and seethe and that’s okay. But it seems almost irresponsible to promote ass-backwards views under the guise of sharing which is what that piece does, I am also tired of reading pieces written by women in most instances who have been parenting a hot minute trying to suggest they are authorities on parenting. Look, I have a kid in college and I will be the first to tell you I know jack shit, my six year old made sure of that. I am not saying you must have fully grown kids in order to try to give parenting advice but someone sharing their “should” on an issue when they really are not fully versed in a topic makes no sense. If you have been parenting a grand total of less than 5 years are you really an expert? Hell, you don’t even know yet if the choices you made while your snowflake was a baby really are going to have an impact on the kid, let the kid grow up before you start telling us how we should parent!

In the Babble piece we have the writer suggesting it’s easy to throw a towel over the kid so no one sees a boob while nursing…oh Mama! Wait until you hit that 12-13 month stage where they just pop off and want to show your boob to the world. Believe me, my daughter went through a phase where I knew if she needed to eat outside discretion was not going to happen. So that meant there were times my breasts were on display and ya know what? So what? Breasts are to feed babies and if anyone has an issue that’s their issue, not mine. I have an issue with an organization that markets itself as a place for a new generation playing into these same tired shaming thoughts when it comes to nursing. I just do.

So in the future I will make sure the next time a Babble link comes across my path to avoid it which is a shame since there are a couple of bloggers I enjoy that do write for them but as a whole, sorry Babble you are not a new generation of parents. Just more of the same old shit dressed up.