"'Laugh," the Housewife Writers tell the real housewife, 'if you are feeling desperate, empty, bored, trapped in bedmaking, chauffeuring, and dishwashing details. Isn't it funny? We're all in the same trap.' Do real housewives then dissipate to laughter their dreams and their sense of desperation? Do they think their frustrated abilities and limited lives are a joke?"
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
I read these sentences and it was like everything about my attempt at a writing career instantly became clear. I figured out the answer to why my writers block won't go away and why I haven't been taking my writing career seriously. I figured out why all I ever do is blog. (Obviously not so much on this one but I do post regularly on my other blogs.)
The clues were always there. I even had added them all up but I refused to admit how I really felt. I stopped doing any serious writing after my husband died. Yes I've written that sentence a dozen times. The reality is there was always a second part to that sentence that I refused to acknowledge. The real, full sentence is this:
I stopped doing any serious writing after my husband died and I became a mom blogger.
There it is. There is the truth. And it took reading a book on feminism written in 1963 to realize it.
You see, I've been carrying around a secret for a long time now that I refused to admit even to myself. I never set out to be just a mom blogger and I'm extremely disappointed in myself that this is only what I've been doing. I wanted to write the Great American Novel and here it is years later and I'm still blogging.
I never wanted to be known for The Single Mommy Blog. I wanted to write fiction. No I want to write fiction. The plan was to create a blog and write about writing my novel. The plan was never to stay stuck as a mom blogger. Like the Betty Friedan quote implies, I have bigger dreams.
I admit, at first, I was offended by Friedan implying that as a mom blogger I am laughing about how hard being a parent is and that there's something wrong with that. I don't think she's saying it's not okay to laugh at the craziness we endure as parents. I do think she's saying don't hide behind the joke and that laughter when what you really want is something more.
Don't get me wrong. I am not by any means saying there is anything wrong with being a mom blogger. The problem is I've refused to take myself seriously as something more than that. I can't help but wonder if I sold out and abandoned my dream to be a serious writer when I decided that my blog need some kind of "mommy" hook. Calling this blog The Single Mommy Writer seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I wanted something to set me apart from the other writing blogs.
However, what does it say about myself that I feel I need the word "mommy" in the title to identify myself? Why isn't being Julie Cornewell enough?
While I don't plan on changing the title of my blogs The Single Mommy Blog or Mom is a Feminist I do think I at least owe it to myself to keep this blog about me, the writer. After all, this writing blog is supposed to be about my career not being a parent.
I want to repeat that for emphasis. This writing blog is about my career not being a parent.
Now unlike Betty Friedan in The Feminine Mystique, I think balance can be found with being a homemaker and a career woman. So far in the book, Friedan seems to imply that it's an either or choice. I don't know if I agree that women can "have it all" but I do believe woman can achieve balance in their lives. I want to write about finding that balance. However, it seems repetitive to write about being a mommy on two different blogs. I don't write about my career on The Single Mommy Blog, so why would I write about being a mommy on my writing career blog?
Betty Freidan probably hates the term "mom blogger." I don't hate it. I don't even mind being called a mom blogger. What I do mind is that I feel I have pigeonholed myself into being just a mom blogger. I have identified so much with being a mom blogger that I have abandoned my dreams of having a novel published. I have joked and laughed off my "desperation" to have a serious writing career. My dream to have a published novel isn't a joke.