DRIVEL: Opinions and Reviews

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“Bummy Mommies” -- the boredom is mutual

Headline: "Motherhood is boring"
Globe and Mail [Canadian newspaper] August 19, 2006

So the new audacious feminists are those who would like a star for Opening a Frank Discussion on stuff that’s as old as dirt.

This is a job for ...Clarity Merchant!

Ya see–the theory goes—today’s moms are way more shocked and deprived than their moms were, cuz look at what supremely amazing stuff they’re giving up, compared with Seventies Mom giving up paper correspondence and dress-for-success blouses and buttgrabbing bosses.  Our modern bummy moms have flown to other countries!  Talked to big rooms full of people!  Produced quantifiable increments over this period a year ago!

Our bummy moms don’t whine about baby-boredom to justify bolting for the nearest office tower.  The 70s crew blasted the way clear for them to do that.

Now the sticky bit is that the BMs found it just too dang exciting out there in Receivables, or HR, or Legal, or Ops, or Marketing, any other thrill-machine involving Strategic Initiatives, Actuals vs Projections, and Touching Base.


The voluntarily fertile (yes?) are now too-too bored with those few intense years after conception (roughly the same period of day-in, year-out responsibility that’s involved in something like getting an education, for example, (or Making Partner) and want to be hi-fived- for their candor in saying that playgrounds suck and I have to, like, text on my phone to survive.

One wonders how the parents of these mogul-moms survived raising them.  Do mogul-moms know now why their parents had such a struggle paying attention to them—like the rest of us currently do?

Big bunches of us have known for big bunches of time that the switch from expense-account lobster with well-groomed colleagues—to kids’ snacks at playgrounds with colleagues groomed at red lights in the visor mirror while driving to the playground—is traumatic to one's self-image.

The switch-trauma exists.  It takes grace.  Acknowledged.
That’s why parenthood is—ideally—voluntary, planned, and conscious.  So how come the bummy moms’ retroactive forehead-slapping ain't striking them as, like, way too late?

Second verse, same as the first:
BMs are bored why again?—oh ya, it's cuz they’re used to using their highly marketable talents.  Specifically, talents to do with managing projects—none of them boring, cuz they come with major, serious consequences for any incompetence.

Yes, indeed.
So who better to raise kids?  Shouldn’t this be the savvy, plugged-in kinda parent we all yearn for, as a culture?

If you, bummy mom, have been out there tackling big goals, it's because that's who you are; it’s an aspect of your character.  Isn’t that what you told the various headhunters and HR interviewers?  You did.  We all did.  Stick with your story, girl.

If it’s what you’re made of, then is it out of line to expect you to bring that to every project, every time?  Question to BMs:

Where’s your disconnect between bringing any stellar project to fruition—and producing a productive, congenial, and well-toned citizen out of stork droppings?

(FYI, I can't recall ever impressing a prospect during a business pitch by promising that if I got the gig, I'd give them exactly three months—standard BM investment in the person they're raising—before subbing out the rest of the assignment to an illegal-from-a-hot-country for completion and metrics.  Nope, that pitch I don't remember...)

Baby-making is not citizen-making, it's biology.
Producing people is bringing the product to market, sistahs.  Let’s not abandon our achievement mentality; let’s transpose it onto the new project, the one for which you're Project Lead—as usual.

Your childraising project is the same old routine that you could type in the dark on your crackberry:

1. You have an objective.  You can reach it or blow it.
2. You have milestones.  You have fixed windows in which to act at critical points.
3. Your learning curve is impressively aggressive--an elevator ride that takes place between first contraction and arriving home with the howling, pooping, beta-version product—as we all wait for you to get the bugs out before it’s ready for prime time.
4. You have a budget.  If it’s ever cut, your project goals are unchanged.
5. You have a plan--sorry, a Critical Path--and are able to articulate it and explain at any point whether you’re on target to meet projections.
6. You’re accountable for the finished product.  It stays on your record.
7. Your product will launch in the market and the public will either want it or they won’t, based on the benefits of hiring, befriending, or loving your product.

Ergo, mogul-moms:
Where is your Microsoft Project™ spreadsheet for your Human Potential project?

What?  Don’t have one?  (Gonna look very bad at review time, you know that.)
Clearly, this is not the CEO-streamed thinking you've led us to expect.   Seems your former flair for achievement has not translated to the human-potential assignment.

Perhaps you were meant to just mash bananas after all.
 (Speaking of simplistic thinking, If motherhood is mashing bananas, then CEOhood is fondling pie-charts.   Narrow is narrow is narrow.)

And maybe it’s this fact that’s boring you:
You just can't apply your fine mind to this and you’re weeping over your lack of conceptual flexibility.

Can’t be stimulated by being head of language acquisition, abstract reasoning, emotional intelligence, social skills, academic skills, sexual and philosophical knowledge?  Dancing, drawing, cooking?  What did YOU do when you were growing up?  Touch base?

Ya, your project has a long development cycle, no question.
Human-potential strategies will be developed, discussed, edited, cursed at.
Messes will be made.  Pictures will be taken.  Emergency rooms will be visited.
Artwork will be magneted to the fridge.
Calendar pages will ruffle and fly away in flocks of months like in old movies.
You'll move furniture years later and find a micro-sock squished behind something and you'll feel odd and sad and wise about what you didn't understand during the season of the micro-socks...

We really really need us smart chicks to be in charge of this assignment, rather than the confused parents who look at their mismanaged products’ lower-primate behaviour and shake their heads and say  Kids are so rude, eh?

Now THAT’s a disconnect no one can afford.  At the very least, we need people who understand that Project Lead means it’s your  thing; it’s not all up to Mama Nature, as if kids are saplings that merely endure the seasons and end up tall.

Please don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it, if it’s boring you.
Stick with the blackberry and the birth control.  Lotsa birth control.   Better yet, get thee to a vet.

Cuz your whining after the fact sounds as illogical and sheltered as a CEO whining that they have to park between the yellow lines.  Yup, you do.  Part of the job.  Part of what gets the product to market.  Just another conspicuous achievement in your long list of objectives reached.

But you know that, being a Big Picture kinda thinker, right?


Dedicated to Roberta M. James, whose track record on Human Potential projects inspired me to shut up, watch, and listen.  She infused every messy moment with clarity, sensuality, intellectual perspective, and professional pride.  She is why all those adults watching me with my kids, said  "I wish you were MY mom."  Bobby James is the mother of my mothering.

[All cartoons from]



If you have
a big mouth,
use it to shed light.


 Drivel archives:

Boomers re-brand mortality
[celebrating the Big 0-0!]

Bummy Mommies
Waiting for baby to touch base?

Summer Misses Us

What's up, Dad?
(Buddy can you spare a decade?)

Tears and Money Shots:
The Obscene View of Grief

The Frankenfamily:
Dedicated to
children of divorce

Drama and GPS

Murkin Theology:
The all-you-can-eat-buffet as an altar of worship

SUVs and Pet Rocks: Differently Abled products

Dear Single Men