I started reading A Year of Yes today by Shonda Rhimes.
(Please tell me you know Shonda. If you don’t, you need to educate yo’self.)
I’m nowhere near finished, but I need to talk to you (Internet, the royal You) about one of the chapters. I’m not even done with the CHAPTER yet. But I was just in the bathroom, hair flung upside down while I diffuse it, reading while I held the dryer to my hair, and literally went “HOLY SHIT YES” and had to put everything down and pace around my apartment for a few seconds, elated with possibilities. There were only my house plants to witness, but it still felt monumental.
Because Shonda gets it. And now, you’re going to get it too.
There’s this really great quote here, and it sums it up pretty well:
“I don’t think it ever occurred to me before how much and how often women are praised for displaying traits that basically render them invisible. When I really think about it, I realize the culprit is the language generally used to praise women. Especially mothers. “She sacrificed everything for her children… She never thought about herself… She gave up everything for us… She worked tirelessly to make sure we had what we needed. She stood in the shadows, she was the wind beneath our wings.” Greeting card companies are build on that idea. “Tell her how much all the little things she does all year long that seem to go unnoticed really mean to you.” With a $2.59 card. Mother’s Day is build on that idea. This is good, we’re told. It’s good how Mom diminishes and martyrs herself. The message is: mothers, you are such wonderful and good people because you make yourselves smaller, because you deny your own needs, because you toil tirelessly in the shadows and no one ever thanks or notices you… this all makes you AMAZING.”
READ THAT SHIT. Now READ IT AGAIN.
You know the war on motherhood? The one where the media, the news, the PTA moms, they all seem to gang up in a world of Judgement against the Bad Moms* of the world and band together to form a cult that puts Motherhood up on a pedestal for all to awe and admire at?
Throw that shit out. Burn it. Spit on it. It’s not doing you any good.
If you want more info on that, read the book. (It’s a really good book. The world is Shondaland and we all just live in it.) What I want to talk to you about? Has to do with teachers.
In my experience, if moms aren’t at war with each other? They’re at war with teachers.
Teachers at any level, but daycare teachers in particular. You look at us and see babysitters, see TVs that can personalize the experience, see nannies that just happen to not live at home. You look at us and see temporary solution. You see nuisances that keep sending notes home. You see just another person to talk to in your coffee-induced haze while you try to make your way to work. You see another bill to pay so that you can go to work to pay other bills.
And the world embraces you for it. Because you’re a Mama Bear! Right?! You’re a Cool Mom, you’re a Wine Mom, you live on chocolate and adrenaline, you’ve got Messy Hair and Don’t Care, you don’t do cardio, you chase toddlers for a living!
And teachers? Teachers are the bad guys. We just want to suck more money from the system so that we can get paid endless $$$ to colour with your kids and play with toys all day. OR! We’re angelic saints, older ladies with perfectly permed hair that serve as stand-in grandmothers, or young bubbly Valley Girls with manicured nails and Disney Princess charm bracelets, living and breathing for nothing more than to entertain your children.
I’m not saying mothers shouldn’t be praised. And I’m not saying that teachers don’t have flaws. What I’m saying is that teachers should also be praised. And that mothers also have flaws.
And that’s okay!!!
We’re going to do this, folks. We’re going to dive right in. In the words of my current hero Shonda, you all need a nanny. Your children don’t need nannies. YOU need nannies. All of you.
Well congratulations. I’m your nanny now. Mary Poppins in a leather jacket and ripped jeans.
It’s time to end this mommy/teacher war. I’m going to rip down the curtain and together we’re going to drink some cocktails, bitch about some horrible shit that happened in our day, and then be more than just moms and teachers. Remember when we were more than that?
We can be that again.
This blog is in its baby phases, guys. But we’re going to do this together. We’re going to leave the kids the fuck alone (because they are FINE, I PROMISE), live our own lives, and all be the better for it.
Let’s do this shit.
*Unless they're being used for comedy, then they're just a Wine Mom joke, which is an issue all on its own.