Sh*tty moms unite!
That’s the new message giving mothers a good, collective laugh these days. And I confess, I have absolutely NOTHING against so-called “sh*tty moms.” I have plenty of sh*tty motherhood moments that I could regale you with and I can certainly laugh about plenty of them. But when we live in world that loves to label and marginalize mothers to suit their own purposes — soccer moms, Wal-mart moms, not having it all moms, Tiger moms, Chardonnay in sippy cup drinking moms, mamma grizzlies — should we really be celebrating our inner sh*tty moms in a crucial election year?
Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us, is the latest “hey, let’s compare how bad we all are at parenting and laugh about it!” book, the kind that usually makes us feel better that our houses don’t look like something out of Architectural Digest, that sometimes we actually let our children eat at McDonald’s and that we’ll never live up to the parenting advice the real experts make us feel guilty about.
But with a major election on the line in a few weeks, and so many campaigns and politicos reminding us that suburban moms are the ones that they want, adding “sh*tty mom” as the new shorthand for our demographic doesn’t exactly invite power players to treat women like the influencers they’ve become. Every now and then mothers get a glimmer of hope — remember all that mom love at the political nominating conventions? It was pretty short lived. Even as countless convention speakers were gushing about women who happen to mothers, others were implicitly suggesting that it’s sh*tty mom behavior to run for office if you’ve got young kids at home, but apparently not sh*tty political dad conduct.
So I can’t embrace the sh*tty mom way of life, at least until after this election. Because if I succumbed to my inner sh*tty mom now, I’d have to stop caring about where the presidential candidates stand on issues like women’s health, education and fair pay. I’d have to ignore the nauseous feelings I have about how the next four years are going to impact the life of my tween daughter. And I’d have to forget about the possibility of Paul Ryan becoming president if Mitt Romney is elected and something happens to him before 2016.
We’ve only got about six weeks to go before Election Day 2012 — when we’re going to decide whether we want to keep a president who might not be perfect but who’s trying to keep women’s reproductive health safe or whether we want the guy whose presidency would throw a monkey wrench into things that impact our daughters — like whether they can get birth control and whether we, as parents, have to explain things to them like vaginal probes, forcible rape and wire hangars.
At least for the next six weeks, I’m putting out a call for us to put our secret lives of being sh*tty moms on hold and focus on our inner Mothers of Intention.
I know that sounds a little scary, especially if even uttering the word “politics” sends chills down your spine. But there will be plenty of time to be a sh*tty mom again after November 6. So let’s all unite as non-sh*tty moms for a few more weeks and keep our focus on what’s at stake for our kids and families. After that, we can revisit our inner crappy moms, because we’ll all be ready for a good laugh then.
I’ll bring the Chardonnay.