A friend of mine betrothed her handsome fiance this fall and to celebrate, we, a group of reckless young ladies, went dancing. The Pyramid Scheme — a venue frequented by Jazz and I due to the plethora of Short’s Brewery on draft and a well curated, obscure music scene– was buzzing that night. In honor of the bride we dressed in 1920’s, pin up girl attire, because she is fun and classy like that.
The vibe on the dance floor was electric, highly hipster. The music the DJ was producing was fun; maybe a little too many appearances from Yeesus, but highly dance-able. Between that and a couple really fantastic Manhattans, it was a recipe for a really fun night. And it was fun. Really fun.
But all night long I knew I didn’t belong, because the truth is, I was a fraud.
Not that said experience wasn’t something I had been to a handful of times before. Not that I didn’t know the words to almost every song. Not that I didn’t know people who were there and had hung out with them in years past. Because I have.
But now, I am a m*m. Yes, you read it right, I used that dirty, three-letter-word.
The “M” word, a m*m.
To the young people of our culture, the millennials, the yuppies, a m*m is synonymous with women who wear high-waist pants (no, not those urban outfitters jeans, but not far off), listen to Bon Jovi and are overbearing, mini van driving, house wives. If you google mom and urban dictionary you will run into all kinds of derogatory uses of the name mom: soccer mom, facebook mom, mom rock (my favorite is mombie).
This commercial gives the perfect example of how I felt on the dance floor:
But if you ask most young women if they plan on being a m*m someday, the majority of them will say “yes”! In fact, they would be devastated if for some reason they were not able to ever have children. Some girls have their children’s names picked out before they even meet a partner (along with their entire wedding).
I call this the “already/not yet” syndrome. A culture so quick to make fun of the idea of “m*m” but would be heart broken to never be one; and I had a fierce case of the “already/not yet” syndrome. And then I got pregnant.
So now I’m a m*m, forever branded by maternal responsibility and new stretch marks, a sort of “Scarlet Letter” on my arse. And what have I learned? Listen, I’m not arguing that anyone should have children before they’re “ready” [a delusion marked by the childless], or that anyone and everyone should have children. What I have learned is that we as a culture do not respect m*ms. Because in reality, m*ms are the same beautiful, talented, intelligent women they were before they inflated and gave birth. Sure, it is something that will change you in deep ways and grounds you (in more ways than one). A child will steal your heart, but they don’t steal your identity.
So go out, go dancing, write books, take vacations, make new scientific discoveries, and philosophize. Do so as women , mom or not, and never let anyone (including yourself) think that your maternal status is somehow reciprocal to your social status. Because mom is not a dirty word.
Keeping Willow by Stacy Feyer-Salo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.