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at bitter-girl :: musings



Am I the only woman who feels mildly insulted reading the ad for this company? (Spotted on BFD; if it shows up in my MTB ad spot in the upper right, I’m pulling the code). What does that say about you as a professional adult human if you’re handing out cards with “Taylor and Kaitlin’s mommy” on them? Once upon a time, there was this crazy piece of stationery called the “personal card.” (Traditionalists read this, moderne snarky types read this if you are ignorant in The Ways of the Card).

You don’t have to resort to scribbling on napkins, nor do you have to have a Big Official Corporate-Style Business Card. And in light of the recent blog hoo-ha on Linda Hirshman (her response was titled Unleashing the Wrath of Stay At Home Moms), I’m loathe to tell any woman how to live her stay at home mommy life, but…wow. Just… wow. That’s the best you can do?

Let’s envision a scenario in which these cards might come in handy: You’re a freelance writer and stay at home mom volunteering at a PTA event. Your neighbor introduces you to the managing editor of Big City Paper, who’s an old friend of hers. He says he’d love to see your clips, do you have a card?

Why sure. Here. It says “Your Name, Taylor and Kaitlin’s mommy.”

If I was that editor, I’d be hard pressed not to laugh in your face.
Scenario two: your kids are playing with kids from down the block, and you talk to their mom at the playground. She wants your cell phone number to call you later. Do you…

  • call each others’ phones and save the number so you have it
  • pull a piece of paper out of your pocket and scribble it down
  • hand out your Mommy Card?

Please, please tell me you’d pick one of the first two. Are you just a mother or are you a person, too? Is all of your self-worth tied up in the fact that you’ve successfully reproduced? Do you have to get new cards printed if you get knocked up again?


16 Responses to “”  

  1. 1 pippi

    ew!
    so, no, you aren’t the only woman offended.
    speaking as a ‘mommy’, and a SAHM at that, i find that ooky.
    i never want to be known as ’someones_________’ whatever wife, girlfriend, mom.
    it is one more thing to lessen a woman’s autonomy.

    & i’d just pull out my own card.
    maybe i should have new ones made, just for PTA meetings.
    “ass kicker extraordinaire”

  2. 2 shannon

    I like that. I’d totally hand out a card that said “ass kicker extraordinaire”!

  3. 3 bridget

    ( yeah, it would be better than the card alternative w/ out child ( mine )reading:

    “non-breeding snarky bitch ” ( maybe we should start nonmom cards )

  4. 4 Mati

    This is from the same great mindswamp that spawned scrapbooking with die-stamped starfish and wedding dresses as an acceptable creative outlet for grown women. I can’t even take it seriously enough to be offended, and listen, sister, if you go looking for this stuff, all this wtF!? mommy stuff, from the awkward privacy collars for breastfeeding to the poetry plaques purportedly from infants thanking the lucky recipient for bearing them… I mean, why don’t you just vacation with the Promise Keepers women’s auxiliary, for all the good it’ll do ya. Life’s too short. Some women will want these, crappy grapheek and all. Those women are not conflicted about their role, do not feel accountable to feminist ideals and are immune to argument.

    That said: I have a personal card, printed, as you may know:

    mati ____________
    mother student citizen

    I fiddled with the last two, but identifying myself first and foremost as a mother was never in question. Having a child was a transformative and radicalizing experience central to my identity. I can’t pretend otherwise. Maybe Germaine Greer got to me despite her ideological and personal confusion, but denying, denigrating, concealing motherhood as a condition of professionalism is the Man’s game, not mine. My card is a small, sacred testimony.

    I need cards as much now as in my past professional life serving a territory of hundreds. The networking is the same, except that now it’s not so much about money, and more about my own agenda.

    And Linda Hirshman? Spare me. Please.

  5. 5 kristi

    Hmm. I have actually toyed with the idea of printing cards for my kids from one of those “free business cards” places. With THEIR names and contact info. I suppose I could see adding the parents’ name to this as it IS part of the useful contact information for a child. You’re at the park or swim lessons or whatever it is and you meet someone and want to get together. And, armed with the card with my name on it too, then I suppose people would actually know my name and not be forced to run around calling me “so-and-so’s mommy” or “Mrs. So-and-so”, particularly when me and my kids have different last names. You could scrawl it on some scrap of paper, but I could see the “personal stationary” sort going for the pre-printed card. Very few kids run like the pack of wolves we used to — it’s often about formalized “play dates” and kids often have more than 2 parents, each with different names, phones, cellphones, addresses and emails. The cards would actually be pretty useful I think!

    One of my jobs is “mommy”. A job I take seriously. A job I chose over other kinds of jobs. I see no disharmony between feminism and the path I chose. So I see no shame in using that job title in the appropriate context, though arguably, I’d go for Domestic Goddess or something pithier.

    I wouldn’t use the mommy card in any other context though. If I am doing business with someone or am making a connection for ME, then, obviously, my motherhood has nothing to do it, and I give them MY card. We wear many hats…

  6. 6 shannon

    The different last names is something else altogether — something where I could see having all three names on a card being very useful in terms of making things clearer / making sure you didn’t get called “Mrs. So and So” when that’s not your name.

    See? Ask and ye shall receive. I’m learning a lot today.

    Don’t ever think I don’t view motherhood as a more-than-full-time and very valuable job. I do, 110%. But damn, I get annoyed when people try to cutesy it up. I suspect I wouldn’t be half as irritated if the cards weren’t so deliberately twee.

    Elsewhere, in another thread on this topic, someone wondered why there are no “So and So, Childname’s Dad” cards!

  7. 7 Arabella

    If a woman gave me a card that said that, I’d re-think the whole thing. In fact, I’d probably say, “oh no, you’re one of those people!” then gag and go around telling all my friends to stay away from her because she’s obviously got “issues”.

    My husband’s card used to say, “Overlord” on it along with his company info. He was drunk when he ordered the free cards, obviously. I’m sure a few people thought it was funny, but he quickly realized it just made him look like a douche pump.

  8. 8 shannon

    I’m gonna start calling him Overlord, just to be a pain.

    “Douche pump”? Oh deary me. Such language from one so young. ;)

  9. 9 Pamela

    Being a mother is one of the most difficult (and fulfilling) job that I have ever held. Once you are a mother you really can’t understand this statement. It is like seeing one of the 7 wonders of the world; you can’t really comprehend the size of the Grand Canyon until you have stood at the edge of the cliff and looked at it.

    Motherhood eclipsed my chosen ‘out of the home profession’ almost completely in importance and I feel somewhat cheated when I have to work. I have always been extremely career oriented too, so it has shocked me. But loving and caring for a child is the most amazing experience.

    My personal reaction to these mommy cards is benign. It is just another product that (possibly) a stay at home Mom has created to help pay the bills. There is a market for it too, you would be surprised. The application of the product is really irrelevant. If a pink card can legitimize the rearing a baby, a job that lasts 24 hour a day/7 days a week for decades, even ONLY in the Mothers own MIND– than I support it. God knows at 3am on a Wednesday night when I am comforting a crying baby with croup, while I have the plaque from daycare, I want to feel that my plight is legitimate. While I don’t need the cards to feel this way, if I did not have an out of the home career I might become delirious enough to order some. Come on, they’re free…..

  10. 10 shannon

    Nope, it’s a guy selling them. And I’m not trying to diminish the (difficult, amazing) job of motherhood…not by a long shot. I just get really offended when marketers try to push these frilly pink pieces of paper at women because it’s presumed that’s what they want or need. I’d be much less offended if there was a Dad card option, too. I’m in an industry primarily staffed by and geared to women right now, so maybe I’m extra sensitive to the “professionalism” aspect (call it “hot pink resume paper syndrome”).

  11. 11 Jenny

    Wow. Really, wow. For the record, moms never call each other’s cell phones because 1) that would mean exposing cell phone to grabby baby hand 2) wiping mysterious gook of cell phone and yuck! what is that? and 3) cell phone? I know I left it around here somewhere. Generally we write e-mail addresses on the back of empty Goldfish packets.

    Speaking of which, I just ran a new race, the series of which is called the Iron Girl (http://www.irongirl.com). I think I was the only one offended about the “girl” in the title. I mean, we’re women people! Girls generally aren’t allowed to run that far. Out of the 1200 entrants, I’m guessing three were under the age of 16. We running. That’s tough! That’s cool! That’s for women! Can you imagine a race called the “IronBoy”? No one would name it that even if it were for five year olds!

    Harumph. Thanks for letting me vent. :-) I miss you out here, Shannon!

  12. 12 Arabella

    FYI: yes Douche Pump is the new Douchebag, and that is according to http://www.letsrun.com (speaking of running). At least it wasn’t Iron Broad.

  13. 13 Mati

    “I just get really offended when marketers try to push these frilly pink pieces of paper at women because it’s presumed that’s what they want or need. ”

    If women didn’t buy it, no-one would try to sell it. Let’s face it, no-one is being chain-ganged into Pat Catan’s dependency, yet all those weird bridal accessories and sludgy fake flowers and all other manner of geck are manufactured and stocked because somewhere along the line, someone, and that someone is almost always a woman, thinks, “Hmm, I need that more than I need the latest issue of Brain, Child” and gives up her cash for it.

    You can talk reverence for caring work, but if you’re embarrassed by it out in the open, you got a little patriarchy in your eye. No-one thinks a brain surgeon’s got issues when she’s proud of her work. No-one would expect Chimpy McFlightSuit’s ace assistant to keep her affiliation to herself. There is a fundamental devaluation of motherhood and the mother-child relationship going on here. That’s misogyny’s first and last act.

    Maybe this is something you don’t get until you deal with it. Massive unavoidable role change. Total reordering of priorities. Pretty much willing because you’re insanely in love. It’d be like… well, like discovering you were always meant to paint and you leave Michelangelo in the dust and the response is: that’s nice. But it’s not as though that’s real work. And you certainly shouldn’t be so… so OUT about it.

  14. 14 Amy

    Um, yeah, I have to chime in I would *never* use a card like this… Now, I have on occasion had a personal card which only has my home contact information… and I really love Kristi’s idea of a kid’s card–I know Selma would think it was totally awesome to have her own card. But no one needs a card to identify me as a mom, I have all the apendages hanging on my legs and arms as I walk around town to do that ;-)

  15. 15 Caren

    (to be read with driping sarcasm)
    Didn’t you know that a woman’s self worth is SOLEY based upon whether or not she has children? Same goes for her identity.

    So to answer your question, yes, I’m mildly offended at these cards. Women are complicated, multifaceted beings, and to hone in on one aspect this way devalues all the other just as equal, and important parts.

  16. 16 kerrie

    I know for a fact that one of the biggest contributing factors to my post natal depression was the feeling of losing myself and just becoming someone’s mum. Every health professional I saw would refer to me as Brooke’s mum. No-one made any effort to learn my name, that was irrelevant. I had gone from being an IT Helpdesk Manager, a girlfriend, a good friend to a lot of (childless) people to being Brooke’s mum in one big step.

    I think that everyone needs to have and be proud of their own identity, not related to whether they are a mother, wife, sister, auntie or not. Do you think that women would seriously consider carrying cards that identified them as “Kerrie Allman, Wayne’s wife” I don’t think so. To my mind, even if being a full time mother is the most rewarding part of your life and you love every minute of it, you are still a person in your own right and deserve to be seen as one.

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