At a recent party, a well dressed gentleman approached me and asked me where I lived. When I mentioned the name of my North Suburban Community, his reply dripped with condescension.
“Ooooh, my roommate from college lives in that town. You’re a soccer mom….a yummy mommy”
It took all my reserve not to reach across my friend and strangle this stranger. Instead I immediately denied it, wishing I had a witty reply; which I didn’t, or could think of any reason why I might actually like this person; which I couldn’t. I stood there seething until I finally excused myself from the circle and headed to the ladies room.
Soccer mom. There are few phrases which ignite such ire in me, such loathing and hatred as being called a soccer or a hockey mom. Being accused of this makes my palms sweat and leaves a taste in my mouth like leeching amalgam. I am not exactly sure why because, the fact is, my kids do play soccer and hockey, and I am a mom so what’s the big deal? The big deal happens when these two words are put together. Placed together these two harmless words form a phrase that basically connotes you do nothing else but take your kids to games — that you have no other interests or aspirations in life. I go to my daughter’s soccer games once a week and drop her at practice on Wednesday and Friday. Same with my son. If the games conflict I choose one or the other and my husband attends the opposite. As far as hockey goes I make a few games but most are late at night so I am working or home with the other kids. That’s it. I don’t coach, I am not even the team Mother who makes the laminated cheat-sheet with the players names and numbers.
I have friends whose kids play football. As far as I can see, these parents are far more involved than soccer parents. They have pasta parties the night before games, make sandwiches for the bus ride to out-of-town games, and spend all day Saturday on the Pop Warner fields — yet I have never heard the term football mom.
So soccer and hockey takes up about 6-7 hours over the course of the week. What am I doing the other 153 hours? Running, biking, working, scheduling doctors appointments, helping with homework,handling the finances, taking care of the dog,kissing boo-boo’s, making breakfast,lunch and dinner, writing,reading, mowing the lawn,volunteering at Boston Cares,making crafts, finding new bands,going to shows, putting out fires, starting fires, etc.etc. the list is endless. Why on earth would I be pigeon-holed by a phrase that describes one tiny aspect of my life? By someone who doesn’t know the first thing about me? Remember this: Do not ever assume you know anything about anyone –make that your motto and live by it.
Ok, on to the second part of the well dressed gentleman’s insult. He called me a ‘Yummy Mommy’. You’re kidding, right? Do men realize how pathetic they sound when they utter this preschooler’s rhyme. ‘OOOH you’re a yummy mommy…aren’t you delicious…aren’t I cute, I can rhyme words,kind of come on to you, and insult you all in one breath…don’t t you want to sleep with me now?’ Come on –grow up!
These terms, invented by men, are made to keep woman down as they have for generations. Reduce us to our menial tasks and our outward appearance and then we aren’t so scary. Then maybe no one will notice how much smarter we are or how much we can actually accomplish in a single 24 hour period and look damn good doing it. Now I am no bra-burning feminist and I appreciate a compliment any day of the week. I would love for you to tell me I am attractive, I have nice eyes, pretty hair, cute feet–whatever–DO NOT shrink me down to a label. If you do, you are an idiot.
Luckily this man did not continue his slow slide into degrading me by using the other term that just makes the hair on my neck stand on end, the term that actually is thrown around by more 13 year olds than the word ‘fag’–MILF. For those who don’t know what this means, MILF is an acronym for “Mothers I Want to F*#!#. This is the mother load of insults and I find it most disturbing since it seems to be passed down from father to son with a slap on the shoulder, a wink, and an ‘atta-boy’. Look everyone, little Joey is growing up to be as much of a pig as his old man!
So in the spirit of equality in all this suburban woman bashing I have decided to begin turning the tables. The next time I am called soccer mom I will smile and say why yes I do go to my kids soccer games because I like to show them I care about what they are involved in. I will then politely list the other 90 things I have done that week until they are so bored they walk away. I have also come up with my own names for the dads around town and I plan to start using them…”Oooh,” I’ll say, “aren’t you a fatty daddy?” Then I will turn to my daughter, pat her on the back, point and say “Look honey it’s a FILTH–‘A Father I’d like to Hang’. Oh the fun we can have!