Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Christmas in July? Why?

Just for fun, let me take a stab at some FAQs before they even have a chance at becoming FAQs. We shall see how good I am at reading minds and telling the future.

1. Why would you waste your time writing about this? And who died and made you the Christmas Queen?

I am honored that you think of me as the Christmas Queen, but I assure you, I am not. I have my Ph.D. in communication. I have conducted many interviews and read countless articles about this issue. I absolutely adore teaching undergrads and writing scholarly articles, both of which typically go along with the degree. But I have always been passionate about extending what we teach and learn about in the classroom to people who might not otherwise connect with such material. Blogging seems like the perfect solution.

2. How did you come up with this idea?

One mother I interviewed said, “We [mothers] rack our brains all year to make it special.” Another said, “I just always want to make it so special so that they will always want to come home. I may not tell them [her family] that, but I definitely have that on my mind.” I heard that statement over and over and over again in my interviews. Mothers feel the need to make things special for their families so they will WANT TO COME HOME. This indicates that mothers do not feel worthy enough that their children will simply want to spend time with them. They feel that they need to do this in order to gain time with and affection from their families. Therefore, mothers are in the business of "specialness" and creating memories for their families. Why, though, do our moms feel it is their responsibility to CREATE positive memories for their children? Exactly the question I seek to answer on this blog.

3. Why are you picking on the most wonderful time of the year? It's just trying to be joyful.

Because it is the most idealized time of the year. And, essentially, it's like every day kin work, but magnified. It's magnified because the whole family holds the expectation that it will be the best day of their year. I also started to see the women around me struggle to get everything done. They were excited to see their families, but anxious about getting there. I realized there is a real need to understand the pressures of motherhood, particularly as it relates to kin work. I'm trying to make the holiday more joyful for moms, too.

4. Why do you hate Christmas?

I don't hate Christmas! I love it! It is out of sheer love for the holiday that I am choosing to write this blog. Fine, I occasionally say "bah humbug." But only when I feel the stress myself. How often is that? I won't reveal.

5. Isn't this a privileged problem? I think I saw a joke about this on "Things White People Like."

Yes and no. Are starving families worried about Christmas pressures? Nah, probably not. But that doesn't mean this isn't an issue worth exploring. In 2008, 81% of Americans identified themselves as Christians, and 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas (Gallup, 2008). In 2009, the census bureau revealed 307,006,550 people living in the United States. And do you know any one of those people who do not belong to a family? Me either. Additionally, women's roles in kin work haunts women from all classes (di Leonardo, 1987).

6. Can't you just be happy with all the progress women have made?

Women's roles in kin work bleeds into so many other issues. On a broad level, it reveals how we as a culture still treat and view women. Yes, women can now VOTE, work outside the home, play sports, and the list goes on! Huge progress has clearly been made. I celebrate these accomplishments every day. I am thankful for the many women who fought for all those rights. This blog is not meant to communicate that women still have nothing, can do nothing, and are nothing according to society. I simply hope to shed light on issues that have not yet been explored. Many things have changed, but in the realm of kin work, it's mostly remained the same.

Stay tuned for more.

1 comment:

  1. Why DO you hate Christmas? :)

    Here is a question for a future post: What if you LOVE doing all the craziness of Christmas? Is that still kin work? What qualifies it as work?