Lisa C. Baker, who wrote candidly about her struggle to wean her 5-year-old earned her such admitted ”sanctimommyism” from one reader and many, many others. Another mother of four contributed to our Anomymous Mom column, writing that due to her family and childcare provider’s frankly awesome team efforts, she personally hasn’t changed a diaper in over six weeks. She has since been called “selfish” “a narcissist ” and been accused of “abusing her children,” all for enlisting the help of her spouse, her children, and her babysitter. The comments on both pieces continue to swell with far cruder comments. Yet in the two years that I’ve been with Mommyish, in which we daily cover the atrocities of pervasive rape and child abuse, said stories haven’t accumulated even a fraction of this animosity.
I’m emphatically not OK with this.
One of the most emotionally trying aspects of writing for Mommyish is the consistent confrontation of missing children, child abuse, and rape. A day doesn’t go by that a trio of underage girls aren’t raped and thrown down a well, that a child wasn’t stuffed into a box and left to die, that a little boy wasn’t abducted and dismembered. Amid the silly baby bump watch and celebrity post-baby body nonsense, nothing we publish can ever outweigh the gravity of these crimes, to which there are always more. More gang rape. More teen girl abduction. More serial child rapists.
In the last two weeks alone, my colleagues have penned the following headlines:
And those are just the stories that we decided to put on our platform, discounting the many other horrific losses and violations that came across the wires. The combined comments and reactions on these pieces don’t even amount to a quarter of the intense vexation and antagonism for these two mothers. Granted, it’s the Internet. Believe me, I get the medium, especially when it comes to motherhood on the mommy blogosphere.
But in being first the deputy editor, and then the editor in chief of Mommyish, I’ve always wanted women’s stories that greatly defy motherhood mythologies to be front and center. I am not yet a mother, but my many years clocked in as a nanny and babysitter have revealed the obvious. The harmful fairy tales that accompany parenthood for women are far too ubiquitous to not go in search of those genuine voices, such as our extended breastfeeder and Anonymous Mom.
I find it deeply unsettling that women who break (primarily sexist) mommy conventions are worth more Internet slings and arrows and “[you're] a fucking cunt” than the perpetrators of the aforementioned crimes. The fact that there are more pitchforks sharpened over a mother who has an actively co-parenting partner than child rapists is not only profoundly disturbing, it’s unfortunately quite telling.
No wonder 97 percent of rapists will never spend a day jail. No wonder one in six boys and one in four girls will be sexually abused before reaching the age of 18. In a culture that is more quick to throw women who speak authentically about motherhood to the stake than those who routinely brutalize us and our children, that’s about what we can expect.