Making a Mom

As I’ve mentioned before, I read BabyCenter discussions pretty regularly these days. They’re often interesting, but I’m increasingly noticing that I’m out of the mainstream of the discussion. Recent discussions have posed questions like, “Would you, for $100k, defer to your husband on all decisions for a year?”and “Do you think that every mother should own a gun?” Anyone who knows me or reads this blog with regularity can guess my answers to those questions. (Hint: my reaction to each was roughly, “Are you f***ing kidding me?”)

The conversations on those posts, though, demonstrate that the community of moms on BabyCenter is rather homogeneous and that I’m on the outside of that group. For each of the discussions I’ve linked to, the comments trend overwhelmingly in one direction with only a very few outliers, and, time after time, my views fall with the outliers. (Seriously, multiple posters on the question of “Would you defer to your husband?” commented that their husbands are already the heads of their households, so of course they defer to him on every decision. The last time I looked, there were 25 “yes, I’d defer to him” comments to 3 “are you crazy?” comments.)

The discussions that I’ve referenced are filed under the blogging section of ParentCenter/BabyCenter called “MOMformation.” On the one hand, I realize that they intend you to read that as Mom-(In)formation, as in information for moms. But given the homogeneity of opinion and the sometimes strident tone that the posters use in reinforcing conformity to the consensus opinion, I can’t help reading it as Mom-Formation, as in the formation of mothers. It feels like there’s an expectation that moms can be shaped into one particular mold, one who agrees with the majority of other BabyCenter users. Those users, as I’ve said before, clearly reflect social and economic diversity, and what links them together is their common status as mothers. “Mom” appears to be a category that not only crosses class and educational and religious boundaries, but one for which the assumption is that, once you’re in it, it should take precedence over other beliefs.

I can’t help wondering, then, what kind of mother I’m going to be. Not in a “I’m worried I’ll screw Nathan up” kind of way, but in a “Hmm, the other moms aren’t going to like me much, are they?” kind of way. Living in Texas, Dan and I have become accustomed to simply keeping our mouths shut when political discussions come up, but this isn’t a red state/blue state thing. Moms are everywhere, and, apparently, they nearly all agree with each other. I’ll have the next eighteen years to figure out how I’ll handle this, but, as Nathan’s expected to make his debut in the next week or so, I have to start very soon.

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