What's Wrong With "Mom"?

So… who decided “mother” = the death of all things stylish or current? It seems to be the general consensus.

I mean, really. It’s bullshit.

Our own beloved Jess wrote a rebuttal to the idiotic NYT piece about “mom hair” and it is genius. Genius. Go read it and nod wildly like I did.

But I want to get to the (mom)butt of the problem. We have somehow associated the word “mom” with hideously uncool. Mom = unattractive. Mama = haggard. Mommy = drab.

Now. I should fully admit here that I’ve used the word “mumsy” when being worried about the dated, boring haircut I’ve received against my explicit instructions (Every. Damn. Time.), or when asking about whether my dress was dowdy. I have used the phrase “mom hair” when looking at the dated Rachel haircut I am invariably given no matter what I ask for. I am at fault, too.

And why do we do this? Why does mom suddenly equal worthless?

I am a mom. I don’t consider myself worthless because of my motherhood. In fact, as much as I complain about how hard it is to be a parent (AND IT IS OH MY GOD, but that’s not what we’re talking about here), I think that becoming a mother has made me a much more interesting person.

Rufi Thorpe wrote much more eloquently about this than I will here, but the point, ultimately is this: Motherhood gave me MORE worth. I began writing in earnest again as soon as I got pregnant. I had more to say. More to talk about. More to contribute. I became more involved in the world, more invested in my friendships, and I appreciated things more (Like sleep. I love sleep so much). There was suddenly another layer to life. A deep, substantial, incredibly complex layer. I see and feel and experience so much more now because I am a mother.

Do I sometimes run out of time to shower? Sure. Do I sometimes wear ill-fitting hoodies and inside pants in public? Yeah. Does my hair sometimes lack an edgy cut? Yu-huh. But none of this is because I am a mother. All of this was just as likely to happen pre-motherhood. I had more time then (that I WASTED LIKE AN IDIOT), and I had more resources then (that I WASTED LIKE AN IDIOT), but I was still a human who sometimes got tired or sometimes didn’t give a fuck.

We’ve all heard that old-timey patriarchal bullshit about how women really “let themselves go” after marriage or after babies. This idea that women are to maintain themselves—like a car?—in order to maintain their worth.

Bullshit. I call bullshit. My worth does not come from my hair. My worth does not come from my pants. My worth does not come from my ability to shower daily. (Which you’re not even supposed to do because it’s unnecessary and kind of bad for your body and the planet SO THERE.)

But here’s the thing. I have mom hair. I wear mom jeans. I have a mom body and mom thoughts and mom feelings and have mom sex. BECAUSE I AM A MOM. But my mom-ness does not diminish me. It enhances me. It amplifies me. It strengthens who I am.

This is not to say that mothers are better than others. One does not have to be a parent to be a fully-formed, wonderful human. But, it is an experience—like other experiences—that adds depth. Experience—of many kinds—adds gravity and wisdom and strength to our lives and to our selves. Yet this experience, this profound and life-changing undertaking, is devalued and deemed undesirable. And I call bullshit of the old-timey patriarchal variety.

There is more to me now that I am a mother. I’m more interesting than I once was. So to those who would deem me less-than simply because I am a mother, I say: Piss off. And my hair and jeans are just fine, thank you.

Check out my mom hair and my mom mug filled with mom coffee. Hot, right? THAT'S RIGHT.

About Shannon

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