This week, while brainstorming a possible name for tired parents, I did an Internet search for the term “mombie.” Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the term already existed and meant something quite a bit different from what I thought was my genius idea. A mombie, according to the collective wisdom of the Internet, is a mother who was once a feminist and is now a pale shadow of her former self, caring only about cooking, cleaning, and caring for baby.
My discovery prompted my entry this past week for the online writing contest, LJ Idol, a humor piece I called Attack of the Mombies, which placed in the Top 5 in votes.
In the piece, I tried to channel Erma Bombeck, who was famously self-deprecating about her own domestic skills. As I was writing it, though, I was highly aware of the fact that few of us live at one extreme or the other. The truth is, I often enjoy cooking, while I’m in the midst of it. But while I like eating the results, it’s simply not something I spend much of my waking time pondering. It’s not that I fault mothers who do enjoy cooking; I simply find my thoughts (and most of my conscious energy) focused elsewhere.
That’s the nagging aspect of this topic that my piece — built around a simple humor device — couldn’t begin to approach. What, exactly, is feminism? And are feminism and housework mutually exclusive? My immediate response is to say no, they’re not; in fact, it’s a preposterous idea. Feminism is about expanding choices, and some women choose to spend the bulk of their time cooking, cleaning, and taking care of other household tasks.
I’d like to hear further thoughts about the feminists v. mombies debate. Where do you categorize yourself? And is it a destructive argument to be having, to begin with?
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