Monday, February 18, 2019

#MicroblogMondays: "Probably Mom"???

This image above popped up in my Facebook feed this weekend. I shared it with some of my childless/free friends to see if they had the same reaction I did. Which was:  "Umm... my name (and yours) might not be Mom -- but do any of you feel like YOU'RE being listened to??"

Because this is the unspoken flipside of the coin here, isn't it?  -- i.e., if you're a woman, and someone IS listening to you, your name probably ISN'T Mom.

To be clear, I don't believe whoever wrote that memo was thinking in terms of moms vs non-mothers. It was just one of those jokey things that parents say to each other, especially when they're having a rough day, right?

But (from my perspective as a childless woman) that's the point, isn't it??  Nobody tends to consider the childless/free, in a world where parents are in the majority.  It's not just that nobody's listening to us (and if you think your voice isn't being heard or doesn't count, try walking in our shoes as childless women...!);  nobody realizes that our experience might be different. It's generally just not on anybody's radar.

I'm sure it's true that a lot of (most?) moms don't feel listened to sometimes (especially by their kids!).  One wise childless friend noted that kids tend not to listen to their moms OR dads -- but "not being heard or listened to is a woman thing, for sure." 

Another noted this meme might be true in the context of parents speaking & children listening (or not!) -- she thought her goddaughters were (sometimes) more likely to listen to her than their own uncool parents ;)  -- but not so much in terms of women speaking & being listened to in society at large.

A few commenters on the original post noted this could also apply to a teacher.  (True.) A couple added, "Or wife!"  But nobody seemed to question the inherent pronatalism in the meme.

Realistically, I don't think motherhood (or non-motherhood) has much to do with it. If you're a woman and you don't feel like people are listening to you, it's likely because you're a woman, and women generally aren't listened to or taken seriously as much as men are.

What do you think?

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.  


  1. Your last paragraph is definitely where I would start. If you're a woman, it is definitely harder to get people to listen to you. And depending where you are, maybe it is harder to be listened to if you're a mother. (As I've often said, my SIL discovered partners in her law firm stopped talking to her about cases, and started talking to her only about kids when she became a mother.)

    But again, you've nailed it. There's no discussion about the idea that if you're not a mother, you're also ignored. Your life and its value as well as your opinions. And especially, people parents are never going to listen to anything you have to say about families or children, regardless of whether you are making sense or have a valid point of view or are an expert or not.

  2. Ugghhhh. I agree that it could apply to a teacher, as just the other day I said, "I feel like I'm talking to myself... Hello?" And I was only 1/4 kidding. But there are LOTS of marginalized people who aren't listened to, not just mom's, and they Mom voice is often loud. Not necessarily heard by thirty kids, but by the rest of the world through "as a mother" or "Mommy club" type comments. Women aren't listened to as a whole, but childfree women? Our voices tend to get squashed in conversations about, oh, the future of our planet, politics, the state of education, reproductive rights, etc. Argh. I get your ire!

  3. I agree. It's not about the mom or non-mom, it's just women problem. But I think however the quote/meme is written for joke. It doesn't relate with mom or non-mom

  4. Ughhhhhhh. You're totally right that it's not a mom/non-mom problem. It's definitely a woman problem. I just finished reading "Women & Power: A Manifesto" by Mary Beard and she talks about the silencing of women in classical Greco/Roman/historical context - that the simple act of *speaking in public* was considered unwomanly and how in classical literature men hasten to silence women's speech (and how that's still playing out today).

    I would also agree that women who do not have children are often silenced even more than women in general. Because speaking out on behalf of children is one of the few places women (sometimes) can accrue a bit of following/power. It's definitely limited in scope and tends to be more honorific than actual (and, in the US, is often limited to white women rather than women of color), but it's a real thing. So I hear you on that one for sure. I wish the meme was written to be more inclusive of *all* women - because it definitely applies.