Monday, May 25, 2009

Just Call Me Mom

I recently read an essay in which the author attempts to convince her reader that women who post pictures of her children on Facebook as their avatars (Mom, an avatar is a picture which represents someone, kind of a photographic nametag) rather than pictures of themselves are hiding behind their children and are, as a result, offensive to the feminist movement. She argues that women are returning to a 1950s role and are in danger of becoming Mrs. John Smith. Her point is that we should be spending more time bragging about who WE are, rather than always talking about who are children are. Because I was engaged in the argument, I read the comments to the essay as well. There seemed to be a very clear divide between those who agreed and those who did not. The commonality? Those who agreed were childless and those who disagreed had children.

I have 3 beautiful children, and one on the way. I am educated, was once very good at my job, won a number of awards based on academic and literary merit, and have traveled quite a bit. My Facebook avatar is a picture of my children.

To some degree, I completely agree with what this author wrote. My children are the center of my world. I talk about them infinitely more than I talk about my own accomplishments. I spend my days shuffling from cello lessons to karate practice and making sure that they understand about vowel sounds and being nice. It's dizzying how much energy it takes to raise a child, let alone 4 children. What I don't agree with, however, is her argument that we should somehow feel guilty for all of this and change or risk losing ourselves to motherhood. Mothers have enough to feel guilty about. I lost my temper with my children. I made chicken nuggets for lunch--again. I haven't washed their sheets in 3 weeks. I let them play a computer game rather than reading a story which would enrich their lives. But at the end of the day, my children know that I love them very much. They love God and know important Bible truths. They are secure, confident, happy children. I did that (well, my family and I did that). I think moms who sacrifice parts of themselves in order to bring up healthy children deserve an award much more prestigious than a certificate from an academic society. These children are my life's work. They are my greatest accomplishment.

So, if I bore you at dinner parties (which I think is a hilarious argument, because how many moms do you know who regularly attend dinner parties??) with stories of my children, I apologize. My observations today tell me that if this is true, you probably do not have children of your own. If you never have children, perhaps you will never understand what I mean. If you do, however, you'll get it. You'll take down all the expensive art in your home and replace it with photos of your children with cheesy smiles. You'll start answering to "Aaron's Mom" without minding a bit. You'll wake up in the morning with a prayer on your lips for the tiny people who make up your world. You'll pass up a chance to go out with the girls for a chance to go to the park with the kids. You'll put a picture of your children on Facebook as your avatar. And you won't feel a bit lost in the process.


R and K Marsh said...

Your children are beautiful, and it's a joy to see them! Speaking as someone without children (yet), I say keep them as your avatar, and stay 'out' as a committed, involved, and proud (if exhausted) Mom!!

P.S. Does the writer say anything about Dads whose avatar is their children?

Sadie said...

I read an article before like that- and yes it is usually the non-moms who don't "get it". I am proud to show off my kids, and talk about them, and while we shouldn't lose ourselves completely in them- you are right when you say that they are your life's work and your greatest accomplishment. It shouldn't be looked down upon because it isn't as tangible as a diploma, award, prize or a high paying job.

Becca73180 said...

Hey now, I'm a non-mom and my facebook pic is of me with one of your children....does this mean I'm hiding behind your accomplishments? Well, dang :)

You should do what makes you happy and ignore all the nay-sayers. I often wish that people would just leave other peoples decisions alone- we'd all think a lot less about what everyone else thinks!