I was a child then, and he must have been having a pensive moment, or perhaps he’d recently witnessed a display of affection between Mom and me. I’ll never know why he said that because I didn’t ask. I guess I didn’t want to, because my childhood definition of love would have deemed him correct, and I couldn’t bear to let him know.The mother-child bond that my dad noticed - is it innate? Does a child cling to his or her mother based on the familiarity of being in the womb, moving with her 24 – 7, listening to the sound of her voice?
Adoption dispels that theory, so maybe it’s partly the softness of Mom’s body and riding her hip as a toddler; a hip perfectly proportioned with her arm and elbow, allowing Baby to fit cozily and comfortably in the core of Mom’s side.
Or… maybe it’s the helicopter we fly over them; taking care of their every need! Who wouldn’t love such a person?
I’m thinking of this bond because it appears to be the lifeline of many women; motherhood – the thing that dictates entire lives; the thing that gives identity, seemingly, more than any other role a woman plays, including “self.” Who were we before we became mothers?So that I don’t mislead you, this is not criticism or a suggestion that you love your child too much - if there is such a thing. After all, if we were not created to want to procreate, there’d be no people, no us.
These thoughts stem from an article by Tina Brown (for NPR) who recommended in her Must Reads series, an article by Katie Roiphe in Financial Times titled Disappearing Moms. In Brown’s article, she quotes Roiphe, who thinks that women who use pictures of their children as their facebook profile pic, is “effacement,” erasing themselves. Immediately, I began to sum up how many moms I know on facebook who do this; not that I share her opinion.Is this an issue?
I thought about it, scribbled down a few notes, and then searched for more on the subject. I read Roiphe’s article and also Googled “facebook mom profile.” It led to a few links, one of which was a question by a single woman complaining that her girlfriend fills her facebook with her kids’ pictures and that her cell phone has a recorded voicemail message by the kids.(Remember that Girls: having your 4 year old record your answering machine message? I plead “not guilty.”)
The comments were irate. Women accused her of being jealous and unaware of what it feels like to be a mother. The comments were similar on Roiphe’s article; albeit, a more sophisticated anger.“Oops,” I said to myself. I had similar thoughts when I was single without kids.
During my late 20s to early 30s, I had a best friend who had a young daughter and it was hard to understand why she did everything for her child (exempting the husband from duty); why she had to take the child everywhere instead of leaving her home with the husband/daddy sometimes. I was fine with her being married, having responsibilities, and needing family time, but it was hard to see her unfulfilled; not that I was fulfilled either – but that’s another story. There were times when I wanted her undivided attention; when I was annoyed to have an abrupt interruption in our conversation because she and/or her daughter decided that they needed to start a conversation in the middle of hers and mine. I was single without kids… what did I know?Now I get it. I know how hard it is to take care of young kids and to find time to do personal things. However, some women seem to be fine with the total mother role. Are they the ones who post pictures of the kids on their profile?
Again, is this an issue?
A few of the responses to Roiphe’s article were from women who listed all the other things they do (their many interests and job responsibilities), in addition to saying that their child/children is top priority. They are annoyed at the constant evaluation of the lives of women, especially when it pertains to motherhood and how it affects the other aspects of their lives.
I think this can be an issue for some. I also think it’s okay for people to raise questions and to make observations about the lives of others; be it reasonable (hopefully), ridiculous, or anything in between. It prompts us to stretch as we assess our thoughts and situations, enabling us to change or not to change.
Tact is good, though.
Do you think the enormous amount of attention paid to women’s psychological issues is helpful or hurtful? Do you have a specific thought about facebook profile images?