Motherhood Doesn’t End With Babyhood

Not Me. Not my kid. But look! She’s a mom!

Here’s something I’ve noticed at Mom Blogger events: to most PR companies, “Mom” means “mother of a baby.”  At most Mom-Blog events, all of the products are geared towards babies.  It was such a relief at Blissdom this past weekend, to see Unilever there with a campaign geared toward tweens – Don’t Fret the Sweat.  It was a deodorant campaign, true.  Not exactly sexy, but at least it acknowledged that not all moms have babies.  My kids are loooong out of diapers, and I’m still a mother. Really, I am.

It’s odd that this “all moms are baby-moms” thing bothers me, given that it also bothers me that companies pigeon-hole me as a Mommy Blogger in the first place, even though I almost never write about my kids. I think it’s because assuming that every mom in the universe needs a diaper bag demeans all mothers.  Let me explain.

How many of you stay at home Moms with school age children have been asked “What do you do all day?”  As if, once your children are gone from the house for a few hours a day, you’re home free.  Well, I’ll tell you what we  do all day: a lot. We keep the house in order, we do the grocery shopping, we get the kids to school, and to their dance classes, and basketball games, and playdates, and piano lessons.  Then we get them home and feed them dinner (that we cooked) and  help them with their homework.  We wait for the plumber.  We do the laundry. We remember to send Grandma a birthday card.  We volunteer at school.  Oh, and a lot of us also write blogs, keep up with friends online and through Twitter, and manage relationships with brands and sponsors to bring in a little extra cash.

That’s what we do all day.

But somehow, the world has once again conspired to minimize what we do.  When your children are diaper-aged, they patronize you by assuming that all you are is a bottle feeding, diaper changing, spit-up stained cliche. But at least they recognize you, that you’re doing something.  The world at large knows (or at least thinks they know) who you are. And then, when your children are at school, they suddenly assume you are….what?  Not a mother anymore? Just some person filling up their days with talk shows, lunches and vacuum cleaners? It’s as if, once the baby stage is over, they have no idea what to make of us. As if being a mother to babies was the sole defining aspect of our identities, and once those babies are grown, we no longer exist. I don’t like either side: being solely defined by my motherhood, or having motherhood – an essential part of my identity – discounted.

Motherhood is motherhood at any stage.

And if that’s not enough of a reason for PR companies and marketers to think twice about me, how about this:  the tween market is huge.  Look at this from MSN:

Twenty million strong nationwide, tweens — kids ages 8 to 14 (…) — now flex $43 billion worth of annual spending power,

So even if you think that moms of school aged kids sit around and eat bon bons all day, you should also know that we have access to those coveted Tweens.  That those tweens are still young enough to care what we have to say. And that all of those tweens have parents who care what we have to say, too.

Motherhood is hard enough – just read this post –  without feeling like you have to defend it simply because your children have grown up a little.  What would you rather?  That we kill off our young and make new babies every two years, just so you know how to categorize us? We are no less mothers than women who have young babies. (who, by the way, will also grow into school aged children.  Go figure.) Once a mother, always a mother.  And motherhood no more defines a woman when her children are babies than it does when they are adults.

I am woman. I am writer. I am blogger. Sister. Daughter. Wife. Business Woman. Friend. And yes, mother.

I will not be categorized or pigeon holed. Get used to it.

Comments

  1. says

    My oldest starts full-day kindy this fall, and I’ve already been getting questions about WHEN I’ll go back to work. 🙂

    I think you bring up a very good point about sponsors and brands…Our kids may enter a new stage, but we are still moms and we may represent a whole new audience to them.

    • Dotty Cottam says

      I have 3 school age children and went back to work when my youngest was in Kindergarten. I have to say that even though the kids are gone throughout the day, I thought it would be easier to work. Not so much still have to do all the household duties, cook .clean, shop and chauffeur. Now I get to work also, feeling more tired and stressed not sure it was the right decision but we need the money so I really don’t have a choice. My kids are always my top priority and always will be, my husband comes in second and then I am next. Who knows which is best, I guess it just depends on everyone’s each individual family and what works for them.

  2. says

    It is amazing to me that everyone still wonders what moms do all day! Let’s celebrate what we are whether we are stay at home moms or working moms. Being a mom is a full time job no matter what age or what you do. Nice blog! We just wrote a blog on What is a nice woman like you doing in a place like this? Check it out and let us know your comments 🙂

  3. says

    Your post made me last. You said it and with poise. Motherhood is a career which begins at birth and ends- ? Any ideas? 🙂

    I love what you have to share. My kids have not reached that tween market and I can wait a little longer for them to get there. However, still feeling like the diaper bag sticks with me.

    Erika Burton, Ph.D.
    Stepping Stones Together, Founder
    http://www.steppingstonestogether.com

  4. No_bon_bons_here says

    Meeting people is breeze but it is heart breaking when you see their opinion of you change right before your eyes when they hear that your kids are at school and you are a stay at home mom. I face this so very often. I don’t have family around. My husband and I don’t want to hire someone to look after the kids for after school, school holidays, half days, sick days. We don’t want hired help to be the memory our kids have when they think back of their many milestones. This is something I cannot explain to a person I just met. “Ohhh, you’re not workingggg?” Sour face…followed by disinterest and a “shame-on-you” expression on their faces. Instant Judgement and dissmissal.

    • says

      Ugh. Really, what else is there to say? Except: you know you are doing the right thing for your family. That’s the MOST important thing. If other people don’t like it? TOOOOOOO BAD!

    • M says

      I have been scouring the Internet for support. Both kids are school aged and I’m a stay at home mom. I love what I do all but feel such outward pressure when asked, “what do you do?”. Nice to know someone out there feels the same.

        • M says

          Can you recommend a few blogs? I live in a city where I am virtually the only “stay at home mom” with school aged children and could use a little support.

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