So, everywhere on Facebook there is this video going around that pings my buttons. It’s all about how mothers are so amazing and stay-at-home mothers even more so. It’s all about this glorification of motherhood that gets under my skin.
Why does it get under my skin? Because, guess what? No matter what my kid thinks, I am not an angel.
I’m a really good mother. I work outside the home and I have a second job writing books, but my daughter gets so much attention and love from me that she doesn’t know what to do with it all. But? I am not an angel. I’m a flesh-and-blood human being who exists to do a hell of a lot more than wipe my child’s nose when she’s sick (though I do that) and to rock her to sleep (though I do that) and to help her learn to ride a bike (though I do that) and to give her a bath (though I do that) and teach her about the world (though I do that).
And I’m more than the woman who helps her with her homework (though I do that) and does the grocery shopping (though I do that–along with my husband) and cleans up the house (though I do that–along with my husband) and who helps with art projects (though I do that). And I read my daughter books and I kiss her goodnight and I’ve been up ALL DAY LONG, but I AM NOT AN ANGEL.
Yes, I admit my eyes teared up watching this video, in part because of the music with the tender scenes, in part because of the voice over, and I definitely teared up when the child said, “My mom’s an angel” and my daughter grabbed my arm and said, “Mine, too.” It touched me and I am so honored that she can see me that way on one level.
But on another level, I want her to see me as a WOMAN because I want her to grow up to be a WOMAN. I don’t want her to grow up to be an angel. She deserves to be fully expressed in her wonderfulness, just as I do, and just as every other mother does.
This cult of glorifying motherhood is another step along the path of cutting options off from women. Because, hey, to be an angel, you need to stay home with the kids and do all the above listed things with the full power of your mind, heart, and soul, leaving nothing for yourself. You’re tired. After all, you’ve been up all day, doing everything your kids need and nothing else. Now sleep, angel. Sleep and wake up to another day of self-negation.
Back in the 1800s a dude wrote a poem called The Angel in the House and feminists have long railed against it. The idea of the Angel in the House has long been used to confine women. The Story wrote a song about it, too.