The New Yorker’s Satirical ‘I’m A Mom’ Piece Could Be A Legitimate ‘Mommy Blogger’ Post

The Mommyish offices were abuzz this morning over an amusing piece in the New Yorker titled “I’m a Mom.” The minute we all read it, Eve, Koa and I immediately said, “That’s a joke, right?” “It has to be a joke…” We considered the context, as it’s in the “Shouts & Murmurs” section. We considered how over-the-top the piece was in asserting that mothers are the only people who matter in the world. The sheer self-assuredness of the piece meant that it had to be a joke. Right… Right?

The problem and the reason we were all so hesitant to laugh is that every writer who even vaguely mentions the topic of parenthood realizes that the sentiment in “I’m a Mom” is one you can find all over the internet. The idea that non-parents don’t have any place commenting on the business of raising children? We’ve seen it. Calling childfree folks selfish, hateful and career-obsessed? It’s been discussed in mommy-chats all over the web. Mom being the most important but least appreciated people on the planet? There have been whole books devoted to the idea.

In her truly funny read, Jenny Allen says things like, “I’m not saying that moms are better than other people, but there is, well, something different, something special about us.” My friends, if you read mommy blogs, that line is a familiar one. You’ve heard over and over again that moms are just different. “Moms are just selfless,” we tell ourselves, choosing to ignore the insinuation that no one else cares about anything but themselves.

When Allen dismisses fathers as hopeless and incompetent, it seems amusing at first. “We would just be a nation of dads, who, let’s face it, don’t know a strep throat from a screwdriver and always get the washing machine confused with the dryer—antics that are funny on sitcoms but have no place in the real America, which is why moms have to do everything.” Then I think back to all the ways in which we portray dads as complete idiots, even when we’re supposed to be thanking fathers on their special day.

And when this piece talks about all the giving mothers do without expecting a thing in return, I cannot help but feel like she stole it out of the rants of countless moms who included the word ‘Thankless” in the title of their blog posts. Allen says, “But when was the last time your child said to you, “Thank you for taking me to the emergency room,” or, “Thank you for writing my history paper for me”? And you know what? They don’t have to. Giving is our job.” And honestly, who doesn’t feel like they’ve read those words before.

Jenny Allen has written a very funny piece about moms and why they are oh-so-important and oh-so-overlooked and oh-so-giving. She just a great job satirizing all the hyperbole that surrounds motherhood, especially on the internet. The problem is that if the piece were published on a number of other websites, it really wouldn’t be a joke.

(Photo: STFU, Parents)

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    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I *still* thinks it’s funny and I’m *still* not sure if it is a joke :( It has to be, right?

      • kate

        ok, but the picture totally made me go “awww” is that bad? have i gone soft to the mommness? lol

      • kate

        ps- its got to be a joke, unless her husband really IS in the basement. that was the funnies part

    • CW

      It’s a stupid political opinion post masquerading as satire. YAWN.

      • kate

        yeah i did pick up on that political bit too

      • Lawcat

        It is political (why wasn’t that mentioned in the above article?!). Both ladies were definitely pandering during their speeches. Moms are great, and that can be an emotional uniting link, but…..come on. I didn’t tune in to hear you try and out-poor each other or play the martyred mom card. That’s pandering, plain and simple. POTUS on XM brought this up this weekend. Why do the ladies have to tamper down their ambition by focusing on motherhood? Both are so much more than that. I want a FLOTUS who is well rounded, not one that defines herself by her children.

      • Tinyfaeri

        Yep, because satire is never political. Oh, wait.

    • CM

      Clearly you missed the point which was political satire and not humor. It’s mean and biting and in my personal opinion not funny.

    • lucy

      As someone who is childless due to my life circumstance, I lovvvvved this piece. I am asked everyday by some “I’m a mom” Mom, “do you have kids?” The question comes with so much that one can infer that it gets embarrassing the closer I get to menopause. Sometimes I tell them I miscarried once or twice. Does that count? Does that get me inducted to the sisters of solitude of those who had contractions? I had some! I think Jenny Allen’s comment is not trying to put down the joys of motherhood, but rather the worship of motherhood in a society that is elevating it to a height that may be a throw back to another time with motherhood was worshiped — the dark ages maybe.

      • Mary

        To be honest, I feel embarrassed for these “I’m a mom” types. I am childless not by choice also. I no longer get upset by the thoughtless, self-important mush that seems to gush from their mouths… I just get uncomfortable for them. Parents are important. Mothers are important. But they are not more important than aunts, uncles, siblings or friends. They are not more important than doctors, nurses, teachers, mechanics, farmers or waitresses. I honestly feel that there are more ways to contribute to society other than procreating.
        Being a mother doesn’t give you special mystical powers or knowledge any more than being childless makes you selfish or infantile.
        Raising a child usually takes more than just a good mother. There are also aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, teachers…. I could go on… who are there along the way. The old adage ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is very true.