Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Today's Oprah discussion on Motherhood has my head spinning


Today's Oprah spent the whole hour talking about motherhood--shades of the "What Your Mother Never Told You About Motherhood"/"What Mothers Honestly Think About Motherhood" episodes Naomi Wolf in 2002 that were part of the impetus for writing Mojo Mom!

There is so much to consider that it's making my head spin, so I will try to keep this to a few brief thoughts for this post:

• Elizabeth Vargas talked about leaving the ABC News Anchor post after having her second child. She is still at 20/20, which is good to know. In her own 20/20 segment about "Can Working Mothers Have It All?" she reported about people not hiring women with children. Oprah said that is illegal, and Vargas didn't correct her. Unfortunately, employment discrimination through maternal profiling is LEGAL in 28 states. MomsRising.org is educating people on this issue and working for change. We are really at the beginning of a motherhood movement because the public really doesn't know yet what a bind working families are in. I highly recommend that you watch the MomsRising.org documentary film. It is extremely informative and well-produced. MomsRising will be throwing a national online house party on March 8 to discuss the film--check back here for details as they develop.

• Throughout the show there was too much emphasis on individual choice and not enough discussion about structural issues. I am frustrated that the mandatory nature of many women's employement is swept aside in these discussions. I have grown in this area myself--I wish I had tackled this issue more thoroughly when I wrote my book, but that's this blog is for!

• The Oprah.com poll found that over half of all Moms feel like they are failing or cheating themselves. Yet the show threw them all together in a room to judge each other--ouch! I am tired of this set up. It's time to stop pointing fingers at ourselves and each other and start asking our leaders for accountability on motherhood issues such as a national parental leave policy.

Dr. Robin Smith was the guest expert and I just love her. She made the wise point that we shouldn't get caught in either/or decisions. The most important thing is to be attuned to our children. She said, "Pay attention to what makes you feel awake, and alive, and vital." That's a fantastic definition of Mojo! I've always wanted to connect with Robin Smith and I think this show is giving me the motivation I needed to send her my book. We'll see if I can get through to her.

• One stay-at-home Mom went into the argument that we Moms should channel our energy into doing motherhood as a profession. I think this is the #1 mistake mothers make, and I will tell you why in a separate blog posting.

Over all, a very provocative show that calls for a follow up with MomsRising to paint a more complete picture of the economic challenges and double-binds that too many families face.

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3 Comments:

Blogger A. Lin said...

What I would love to see is how both parents struggle with the decision to work. Some parents intentionally take part-time or flexible jobs to have one parent home with the kids. So often this discussion gets reduced to SAHM vs. working mom.

I think that Oprah's show is a good starting place for discussion, but there is so much more involved than just a women's individual decision for her life.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I did motherhood as a "profession" for ten years and I'm working part time now. I find myself split in even more directions and it seems like I'm doing less of a job in each area.

But then again, I've learned to let the housework go...

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Suzanne Pipho said...

So much of the "to work or not to work" question depends upon what kind of child care and job options are available. I would love to share a job with someone if that sort of arrangement was availalbe and I could find and afford really good child care. I think that our government needs to step in on these issues and help make our work force more "mommy friendly".

12:36 AM  

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