The Phrase That Makes Me Cringe – And it Includes the Word “Mom”

super mom cartoonA few months back I wrote a post called Mommy Blogger is Not a Dirty Word about the term “mommy blogger” being derisive but needing to claim it in order to take the power back to the moms.  I had a huge response from that post both here, in real life and on Twitter.  Mostly women want to be recognized beyond the label of Mom and Mommy and as the writers, bloggers and savvy business women they are.  For brands and PR companies however they find the label useful because what they are after is the mom consumer demographic and what makes sense more than using mom bloggers to speak to real life moms?  That’s fine.  I get it.  What I can’t stand however is PR or Marketing people, or talk show hosts for that matter, trying to win me over and show me empathy by saying the most patronizing phrase in the world, “Being a mom is the hardest job in the world.”    YUCK.

This is the topic I’m harping on this week on our Blogging Angels podcast.  But it goes even deeper than the condesension we talk about on the show.  What bothers me most of all is that sure some days being a mom is hard, some days it downright sucks, and some days it’s really not that difficult at all but the thing is I don’t need someone nodding their head at me and trying to sell me on something by paying lip service to work of motherhood.  What they’re trying to say of course is “I get you.”  When all I want to ask them is “Really, what about it makes it the hardest job in the world?  Is it because I don’t own your shiny new set of appliances?  Or your fabulous floor cleaner?”

Here’s why being a mom is hard:  You aren’t paid, you aren’t appreciated most of the time, you never know if you’re actually doing a good job, it can be physically and mentally exhausting especially in the beginning, your time is never your own again and it never, ever ends.  OK.  Some new iphone app or laundry detergent isn’t going to change any of that.  And you know what?  Women have been mothers forever.  Some people are good at it and some people suck at it but there it is. In the end it has an intangible reward that cannot be quantified.  I don’t need an outside person hyping it, promoting it or using it as a come-on – or god forbid a tagline.

You want to have a real discussion about motherhood being the hardest job in the world? Put away your swag and coupons and  show me healthcare, childcare, public education, universal Pre-K and after school on the topic agenda.  Then we’ll talk about how much you understand that being a mom is the hardest job in the world.  Until then, retire that tired empty phrase and talk to me like the businesswoman you need me to be to work with you and your brand.

18 thoughts on “The Phrase That Makes Me Cringe – And it Includes the Word “Mom”

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  3. You said it all with such intelligence, clarity and passion. Keep this important dialogue growing by fusing it into the consciousness of our social and political milieu.

  4. Rebecca,

    I am kind of amused when companies start off with the patronizing cliche pitch, I let em ramble on till I get bored then let em know that having ovaries didn’t strike me stupid & if I feel their hearts are basically in the right place I invite them to start the conversation over.

    I’m respectful of the work that PR reps do (Having to keep everybody happy all of the time must be maddening) I just know that if I’m going to put my head together with any PR rep to come up with a successful campaign for their brand that we must begin with mutual respect for the talents we both bring to the table.

    Professional collaboration is what drives brilliant marketing efforts be they large or small IMHO, not exploitation based on tired cliche titles like “mommy blogger”

  5. Being a parent is hard at times but I think everybody knows this, when a business person address or refers to me as a “Mommy Blogger” I always brace myself because usually an offer that will involve me working for free or close to it is coming.

    IMHO companies who get it or those who upfront tell me that my years of combining parenthood with a full time career makes me valuable to them. Some of my favorite PR reps are those who tell me flat out they’re amazed by all the learning and work that we must do to put up great content and run our sites.

    Most of the women I’m close to in social media,in addition to being wives & mothers are highly skilled in other professions, they are also a considerable body of tech knowledge and IMHO are the bridge via which companies can reach the average end user. Companies who ignore this are shooting themselves in the foot.

    • I totally agree. There is a way to acknowledge that a woman who has built a successful blog and social media career while being a full time mom has pulled off a difficult feat without wrapping it in a cliche of motherhood. The funny thing is I’ve had 26 year-old PR reps who are female kind of look at me and say I don’t know how you guys do it and it doesn’t bother me at all because they truly are a little bit in awe and scared at the thought that they might have to figure out this work/life balance in the not so distant future too. It’s when a middle aged man or even Oprah for that matter say it. (or god forbid Gwyneth Paltrow – that’s been an interesting internet meme) It’s so damn patronizing.

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  7. “Put away your swag and coupons and show me healthcare, childcare, public education, universal Pre-K and after school on the topic agenda.”

    You nailed it! Nothing makes me more irate than coupons and swag. Both completely miss the point of motherhood. We’re not just consumers and, unfortunately, a vast portion of “mommy” blogs focus on exactly that.

    • Thanks ladies! I never know what I’m going to get back when I write a post like this. I really think that what sends me over the edge is when a pitch starts like that and then doesn’t offer compensation for my work either!

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