Princess Cornflakes

Too trashy to print on a cereal box

mythologies

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Last night at a T-ball practice I saw another mom disciplining one of my son’s team-mates, a first grader. Bending to his level and scolding her son in a pointed finger gesture, she looked like something from a sunday-morning comic, or Lucille Ball or any number of TV housewives. This morning during the chaotic hour that is called breakfast – hurridly making Ovaltine, pouring Cheerios, drinking coffee, trying to keep my 2 year old from dropping too much on the floor while fielding my 7 year old’s questions about dinosaurs, I heard myself saying “Eat your breakfast! We’re not taping up the box for your science project until you finish your oatmeal!” That too could have been a line from “Family Circus” or maybe written for Alice on an episode of the Brady Bunch. I too, have become a cliche.

Far from something I laugh conspiratorially about with the supermarket cashier, exchanging epithets like “When did I become my mother?” or lamenting about the travails of taking care of children, I do not like the fact that I have become a myth and a cliche of frustrated 1950’s domestic motherhood. I wonder when it happened and if it will ever end. Will I ever go back to being myself?

In the 60’s, that era that everyone seems to have forgotten about, Roland Barthes wrote a lot about contemporary mythology. He describes myths as a second-leve semoitic system. I don’t really know that that means, but I’m glad that he has opened this area for discussion. Like metaphor, our society depends on myths. They are images that we can communicate and digest easily, the knowing father who gives advice, the friendly black service worker, the Mexican gardener, the TV mom. We tolerate and propogate myths, and that is the problem.

I’m sick of living with myths. I seek new ways of representation and new ways of expression. I’m a mom but that doesn’t mean my life has to be an absurd endless repetition of the life of Carol Brady, or Alice, or a comic strip. That is why I like blogging. I can’t escape from these roles in daily life, but at least I can talk about them on the Internet, and then I can concern myself with that science project without going crazy.

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Written by nattie

May 26, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Heather

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