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July 10, 2006 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Do stay at home moms need business cards? Apparently, yes. Ask Linda Hirshman, she'll tell you all about it. Wait -- no, she won't. But this writer probably would. Maybe Caitlin Flanagan would recommend them for nannies instead?
posted by bitter-girl.com (118 comments total)

 
Y'know, I vacillated on posting this, particularly after one of my child-having friends schooled me about her own card, which says "mother, student, citizen" under her name.

However, I just can't help being astounded that these cards are considered socially acceptable, and I really wonder how seriously a Big Corporate Business Dude would be taken if his card included the same line. Maybe that's just a sign our culture's deeply flawed, but in the meantime, are these cards going to help or hinder change?

So, fire away -- I want the MeFi take on this.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:56 AM on July 10, 2006


They'll be as effective as a resume printed on really fancy colored paper. Meaning the people that give them really like them, and the people that receive them will think "oh, wow, that's dumb".

Sincerely,
blue_beetle (son, brother, patriot, single, like long walks in the rain, and puppies)
posted by blue_beetle at 8:01 AM on July 10, 2006


I can see where they'd be quite useful socially. If your kid hits it off with another kid at the playground, gymnastics class, etc., and you want to possibly get them together again, you could just hand the mother your card.

But I wouldn't.
posted by jrossi4r at 8:02 AM on July 10, 2006


I don't see a problem with it. When I was an exchange student the service organization that hosted me gave me "business cards" on the understanding that I would be meeting so many new people that it would be easier than writing down my contact information 500 times. All of us exchange students got some, and we traded with each other. I still have a business card holder with the contact information of every Rotarian and every exchange student I met while I was away, and it has been very helpful.

I don't think that the idea of this is to claim that being a mother is a business, or even one's master status, but that as a mom you'll probably be meeting lots of other moms, and having your phone number handy on a pre-printed card could be more convenient that scrambling for a napkin and pen while tending to your brood.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:03 AM on July 10, 2006


oh, ugh. Except in circumstances where you are only known as 'Emma and Leigh's mom", ie, when you meet for the first time the parents of your kid's friends, why, oh why would anyone want to define themselves only in terms of their relationship with their children?

Remove the twee graphics and the "somebody's mommy" tagline, and these are essentially an updated version of social cards, which have been around for decades and are very useful things to have if you give your contact information out a lot. Why do they then have to be dumbed down so much, for the 'mommys'?

I wonder why they aren't printing these cards for men? I would like to see a card that said "David Potokar: Emma and Leigh's Dad", and some twee little graphics and swoopy colours. Why market these for women? What business is parenting that it requires business cards, exactly. Is this a sign of the increasing need to 'professionalize' the act of parenting in such a way as to require a great deal of consumerism and outside consulting advice in the guise of 'parenting' experts?
posted by sperare at 8:03 AM on July 10, 2006 [2 favorites]


Leave off the information and call them calling cards, like they used to.

No one cares what you do, they just want a way to get in touch with you (if you're giving them a card after they ask for the information. If you're just giving out the card to show you're awesome, then you're not.) I agree with the comparison blue_beetle makes.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:05 AM on July 10, 2006


Oh wow. What ego:

But I'm a philosopher, and it's a philosopher's job to tell people how they should lead their lives. We've been doing so since Socrates.

Except Socrates is probably the greatest of ancient philosophers. You seem to derive all worth and value from following a Protestant work ethic. It gets worse and she feels as if she, and I quote "have come to believe that I tapped into something in the culture that was waiting to happen." Then begins to deride all her detractors by their religious beliefs (as if to imply anyone who would possibly endorse stay-at-home is a fundamentalist nutjob).

Someone needs to fill in Hirshman that people have other interests than being workaholic overachievers. Perhaps she needs to read a little about la dolce vita. It seems the second article is much more lucid and addresses points that feminism should more pragmatically address: namely lack of advancement if employers begin to assume women will leave their jobs for motherhood. What if we take motherhood out of the equation. What if women simply have intellectual or non-profit generating interests and wish to work just enough to support these. I would see these are much more fufilling than what appears to be the Sisyphonian task of career advancement that Hirshman strives for.
posted by geoff. at 8:05 AM on July 10, 2006


There's a thread over on the Straight Dope board castigating women who identify themselves on message boards and licence plates as X's mom. But there's also an anecdote in there about how a lot of people get to know each other via their kids activities.

It is funny when you are walking through the grocery store and someone comes yelling up after you "Hey, Alex's Mom!!!!" and you turn around and its Nick's Mom and she wants to know if Alex has plans for Saturday or can he do a play date. And you get a phone number that you stick in your purse that says "Nick's Mom's cell phone"

Not knowing much about the mothering thing, having no children of my own, I'd say that anecdote demonstrates the value of such cards. And historically, people had personal calling cards that conveyed personal and family information, as well, so it's not like it's an entirely new idea.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:08 AM on July 10, 2006


I wonder why they aren't printing these cards for men? I would like to see a card that said "David Potokar: Emma and Leigh's Dad", and some twee little graphics and swoopy colours. Why market these for women?

I imagine they're aimed at stay-at-home moms, who would be the ones you'd call if something happened while your kid was playing over at a friend's house.

A bit twee, to be sure, but not a bad idea. Your kid and my kid meet and hang out at the playground- want to set up a play date? Don't have a pen and paper on you? No problem, here's my card.
posted by mkultra at 8:08 AM on July 10, 2006


I would guess that they would be just as useful as the business cards that I've gotten from my last two jobs, which is to say, "not at all". I've got hundreds of the damn things and other than using them as bookmarks, I'm not sure what to do with them.
posted by octothorpe at 8:08 AM on July 10, 2006


It seems to be in line with what Judy Tucker mentions in the linked article, in the bit about the interview with Total 180 magazine's embrace of the title "CHO" -- Chief Household Officer: "because 'when women leave the workforce, you feel like you've lost your identity,' and apparently having a fake honorific of one's own can ease the pain." I feel the same way about the ridiculous Salary.com bulletins that come out every year around mother's day touting how women who mother full-time are *really* worth X amount of money, with a printable pretend check. The idea seems to be that moms are just supposed to print out their business cards and their fake paychecks (and, lest we forget, put in their time in the trenches of the "mommy wars") and stop worrying their silly little heads about all the real, actionable issues they could be tackling.
posted by mothershock at 8:12 AM on July 10, 2006


Metafilter: twee little graphics and swoopy colours

Seriously, though, I totally agree with sperare. I think they are a bit sexist, and I personally wouldn't want to define myself by who I'm mother to. The things is though (design qualities aside) if your kid says "I want to play with Joey" and all you have are scraps of paper with the mom's names listed on them, it might be useful to have one that says "Megan: Joey's mom."
posted by arcticwoman at 8:12 AM on July 10, 2006


Oh and bitter-girl.com, good post. You could have left it a one-link post to a site with not much content, but you fleshed it out quite nicely.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:14 AM on July 10, 2006


if your kid says "I want to play with Joey" and all you have are scraps of paper with the mom's names listed on them, it might be useful to have one that says "Megan: Joey's mom."

I don't know... most people I know just put the numbers in their cell phones or write stuff down on paper, and the transaction seems to go fine.

To me, this is on the spectrum of this recent (as in last 10 years) trend of the professionalization of motherhood -- that is, making proper motherhood into a full-time job requiring the hours, skills, and effort of actual paid employment with none of the benefits (like, say, a paycheck or social security or a 401K).
posted by mothershock at 8:21 AM on July 10, 2006


Why, thank you, arcticwoman! I've been following the Hirshman saga on various feminist blogs and I guess this whole mommy-card thing just struck a chord with me... a not very nice one, but a chord nonetheless. A friend left this comment on my site when I first wrote about it:
speaking as a ‘mommy’, and a SAHM at that, i find that ooky.
i never want to be known as ’someones_________’ whatever wife, girlfriend, mom.
it is one more thing to lessen a woman’s autonomy.
So, I sent out an email to my child-having friends and asked them if I was off-base, and how. I'm learning a lot, to say the least.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:21 AM on July 10, 2006


I don't have a problem with those cards at all. They could be handy. I imagine the mom that might have them might really enjoy where she is in her life, might think they are quirky and fun. And who the hell am I to say: don't define yourself as whatever and blaa blaa blaa.

The problem here is there's still a bunch of people around trying to tell everyone else how they're suppose to be living their lives and they need to can it. Live and let live. Mind your own business. *Whatever tired cliche for this over-thought subject fits here.*

And geoff is right on about that blowhard Hirshman article. I missed the whole internet getting all worked up about her so the whole article read like: "see how important my opinion is" and "me me me." Ugh.
posted by dog food sugar at 8:21 AM on July 10, 2006


Well, in Hirshman's defense, dog food sugar & geoff, it was written after a number of other (stay at home mother) writers essentially called for her head on a pike. So much for live and let live. Me, I'm making a genuine effort to find out what other people think on topics -- thoughts which might not jive with my own, but are as valid as mine. The people who went after Hirshman used a number of ad hominem arguments, many of them absolutely ridiculous, and so I can cut her a little slack on her blowhardiness.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:26 AM on July 10, 2006


I think a "mom" (or even "dad") calling card is a good idea. A little too cutsie for my tastes, but why not re-introduce the calling card? In the context where someone's only context of the person is as Jason's mom (or Jessica's dad), it makes sense.

Previous AskMe on calling cards, FYI...
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:28 AM on July 10, 2006


dog food sugar, I guess the big problem with them is that it is really only women that get reduced to being a valid human being by virtue of their relationship to other people, specifically their children. These cards are created by a man that runs his own (home based?) business, but he isn't printing cards for men that define themselves as "Matthew, Susie and Pixie's Dad" - he is specifically targeting women as needing this product.

So the underlying assumption is that men wouldn't need this product, because they either have business cards of their own for real jobs, or because they aren't defined by their parenting status. But women do need them, because we - what? Aren't professionals, and he is giving us a chance to play at being professionals, with our new pretty l'il pink 'business' cards? Need a fake title? Only need to give out information regarding how to contact us to other mommies, ie we aren't interesting to the world at large, just this tiny subgroup of SAHM?

They just scream 'don't take me seriously! I am just a mom!' It belittles women, and parenting, in one fell (and pretty) swoop.
posted by sperare at 8:31 AM on July 10, 2006


Metafilter: essentially calling for heads on pikes since 1999.
posted by blucevalo at 8:32 AM on July 10, 2006


The people who went after Hirshman used a number of ad hominem arguments, many of them absolutely ridiculous, and so I can cut her a little slack on her blowhardiness.

Well, but Hirshman is hardly blameless on that front -- on the LiteraryMama blog back in December (full disclosure: I am a co-founding editor of the site), our blogger wrote about Hirshman's original Prospect article and rather than respond to the issues the blogger raised, Hirshman attacked another author, Miriam Peskowitz, referenced in the entry -- quoting her out of context, ostensibly from an interview that never made it to print, and taking potshots at her personally and professionally. LM gave Peskowitz a chance to respond in a follow-up post. The whole thing soured me on being able to take Hirshman seriously.
posted by mothershock at 8:34 AM on July 10, 2006


I bought my wife "calling cards" (from Vistaprint no less) a couple of years ago. But I didn't give her a title. The cards simply list our URL and all of our names with caricature drawings. They are handy when somebody asks for our phone number or something at a little league game. If people can get business cards for their blogs, calling cards for parents doesn't seem so far fetched.
posted by COD at 8:42 AM on July 10, 2006


bitter-girl I got that impression. Sorry for sounding so flippant. I'm interested in this conversation, but at the same time I have a soft spot for women who do get all into mommy-ness. The professionalizing of it, as mothershock mentions, is fascinating.

Hirshman complained of some people having the nerve to criticize her for defining feminism but that exactly what she's doing. That poor word has been twisted around backwards a million times. She boiled down the Feminine Mystique to simply being about what a drag it was to stay at home with the kids.

And she looses people in her argument because that's not what it was about and some people may strongly disagree with that assessment. She dismisses people who made this very serious personal decision.

It saddens me that we find every corner of a woman's life to critique. We're either not doing something enough, or too much, or in the wrong way.
posted by dog food sugar at 8:43 AM on July 10, 2006


I don't find the cards as lame or misguided as others here. In business, you present different resumes and cards to different audiences. I have friends that are VPs of various divisions and they have 3 or 4 different business cards, depending on who they are interacting with. Their formal stuff is most appropriate for talking with Fortune 500 types. Their informal cards have their IM screename on it and are given away over beers with developers.

I am starting to interact with a lot of kids and their parents now and handing over a card with our names, number and some way to identify us in relation to our child with other parents of children that play with her seems handy and totally appropriate.

BTW, those cards are from a free business card site. I suspect they set up 20-30 different pitches for free cards, based on different audiences. They make money upselling you on better designs/colors and reprints.
posted by mathowie at 8:48 AM on July 10, 2006


mothershock and sperare : My wife has these - she left her job to raise our daughter (now nine months old) and although she still works a few hours a day from home she's effectively a full-time mother. She has these cards and uses them at playgroups and such - there's a pretty large mommy community in NY and she meets new people all the time at classes and playgroups. I honestly feel these cards exist to serve a pre-existing need; that is, an easy and reliable way of distributing contact information (and, as others have said, it's not a fundamentally new idea). The ones she has are a bit better designed (actually, from VistaPrint) but I still wouldn't like to be seen with them :) There's no real agenda here, no attempt to reverse-engineer some kind of unnecessary legitimacy into being a full time mother. It's just a hell of a lot easier than writing down your name and address multiple times a week.

I feel that she's proud of being a mother, and for her at least the "career" aspect of being a parent is something that journalists write about for the sake of having something to write about. It doesn't really apply. She had a tough, demanding job and misses it (and wants to go back when our daughter is older) but being a mother is just a whole different thing. Anyone that says "just a mom" in a diminishing sense is either childless or a fool.
posted by ny_scotsman at 8:50 AM on July 10, 2006


I hate it when people define themselves by a relationship to someone else.
posted by agregoli at 8:52 AM on July 10, 2006


I thought they were all too busy screwing the neighborhood teen boys to bother with any of that?
posted by HTuttle at 8:52 AM on July 10, 2006


I hear what you're saying sperare. But I have friends that I imagine would get those cards and not see it that way at all. They wouldn't care that a man made them and didn't market similar cards to fathers. They would just think it was simply fun to hand them out to other moms when it was convenient. They wouldn't feel belittled by the title.

I worry more about energy being used up on semantics when there are still concrete battles to face. I don't mean to dismiss anyone here. Thank you everyone for your opinions that are helping me better evaluate my own.
posted by dog food sugar at 8:55 AM on July 10, 2006


agregoli : I am the father of my daughter, and I would put that before anything else... of course, she's the most beautiful baby in the world, so the association makes me look good :)
posted by ny_scotsman at 8:56 AM on July 10, 2006


Sorry, I realize that sounds unctuous, and on reflection I think I know the kind of situation you're talking about... I guess my point is that I think it doesn't usually apply when it's a parent/child relationship.
posted by ny_scotsman at 9:00 AM on July 10, 2006


"I would guess that they would be just as useful as the business cards that I've gotten from my last two jobs, which is to say, 'not at all'."

I hear you there. I've yet to hand out more than five of the five hundred cards I got when I started my job. They really do make nice bookmarks, though.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:03 AM on July 10, 2006


Me, I'm making a genuine effort to find out what other people think on topics...

As clued by your FPP's title: "Like VistaPrint for fundies!"

I'm not sure why you chose to conflate "stay-at-home moms" with "fundamental Christians." I'm also not sure why people think the term "fundy" would be less indicative of bigotry than nigger, fag, Heeb, spic, et cetera — or that bigotry toward Christians would be more acceptable than bigotry toward Muslims or Jews or Mexicans or homosexuals. If you're sincere about making a genuine effort to understand different points of view, you've gotten off on the wrong foot.
posted by cribcage at 9:09 AM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


The issue isn't about having a handy way to give someone your contact info - I think everyone here, on both sides of the debate would agree that it is a handy thing, to be able to give someone a condensed list of how to contact you and that there is nothing wrong with using social cards - athought technically, social cards don't have contact information on them, just one's name. Preferably engraved by those nice people at Birks.

The bigger issue is that of context and definition. If I can be defined as 'someone's mom' - how is that any better than 30 years ago, when I would have always been identified as "Mrs. Thurston Howell" instead of by my own name, Lovie? For those of you that think this is a great idea, would you print these cards up for your wives with the tagline "David's wife?" After all, she probably meets lots of people through you. Shouldn't that be how she defines in writing the way that strangers ought to be defining her?
posted by sperare at 9:10 AM on July 10, 2006


I see how these cards can come in handy, but I do think the "so-and-so's mom" bit is, well, precious (and not in a good way). I can totally see myself getting some elegant calling cards with both my name and the kids' names (on a separate line, maybe indented) on them for easy reference, though.
posted by lemoncello at 9:14 AM on July 10, 2006


agregoli : I am the father of my daughter, and I would put that before anything else... of course, she's the most beautiful baby in the world, so the association makes me look good :)

I can't fathom what your point is.
posted by agregoli at 9:16 AM on July 10, 2006


I guess my point is that I think it doesn't usually apply when it's a parent/child relationship.


Missed your follow-up.

What doesn't usually apply? My dislike for when people define themselves by their relationship to someone else? No, I hate it when parents do that too.
posted by agregoli at 9:17 AM on July 10, 2006


Hand me your nonprofessional card. Watch me roll my eyes and rethink the idea we were just talking about.
posted by 517 at 9:24 AM on July 10, 2006


What doesn't usually apply? My dislike for when people define themselves by their relationship to someone else? No, I hate it when parents do that too.

Specifically, I was referring to people defining themselves by their relationship to their children (i.e., as being parents). I think that is a positive thing for the most part (although I'm sure there are exceptions). Of course, if you hate it regardless, then fair enough.
posted by ny_scotsman at 9:29 AM on July 10, 2006


Positive for the kids, sure, it shows the parent is very involved with their child - but it still gives me pause as to what kind of person they are. I don't think of it as a positive thing to define yourself by another person - what happens if you lose that person?
posted by agregoli at 9:32 AM on July 10, 2006


Since when does stating a relationship equate to defining one's self?

I'm a father of two and married to a stay-at-home mother. When I bump into other parents at a school function and I introduce myself as "X's dad", it's simply convenient and not a definition of my being as a person.

Do I complain that I'm oppressed as a person because my business card only lists my relationship to my employer? hardly.

I think these cards are simply pragmatic - if you have school age kids, your kids come home and talk about how they hung out with their classmate X or how classmate Y took al the blocks. So maybe you want to arrange a playdate with X or Y to foster a friendship or to help the kids spend some time under supervision so they can work their issues out (yes, there are playdates that are essentially set up for therapeutic purposes). So, you need to talk to the parent of X or Y. So the cards have the salient information: the parent, the child, the phone number. How these cards got transformed into a tool of personal repression seems far-fetched.

You could, I suppose, have children's cards that say "Sam: son of Lily and James Potter", but that might be even more ridiculous.
posted by GuyZero at 9:35 AM on July 10, 2006


I think a lot of people are misunderstanding what these cards are for.

If you go to the playground with e.g., your 5 year old boy, then sometimes he'll really hit it off with another kid his age. They'll play for a while, then it's time to go. But since you want to socialize your kid, get him used to other people besides parents, you go up to the parent and, in a socially acceptable way that everyone understands, hand him or her one of these kiddie cards.

If the parent is opposite-sex, this is a waaaaay easier way of making contact, because other ways of providing/asking for contact information are trivially readable as hitting-upon, which isn't usually the context you're going for. And apart from school, there really is no other way for preverbal kids to make lasting contact with other kids.
posted by felix at 9:36 AM on July 10, 2006


Well, 517, that's what I had in mind when I first wrote on this topic. I'm a writer, I work at home. So, in my context, let's say I was at a PTA meeting and my neighbor introduced me to the editor of the Big Local Paper, or a publisher, or whatever... We have a good chat, he asks for my card and (since I'm at the PTA meeting, all I have are my mommy cards)........ [crickets chirp]

Cribcage, I was being a smartass in the title. Obviously, not all stay at home moms are. Although, if you read some of the more absurd blogs in that genre, you'd realize that those women would think these were just a sparkly-fine idea... They just cannot wait to define themselves based solely on their husband or their children, which is, I suppose, my fundamental objection to these cards more so than "are they professional or not?"
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:36 AM on July 10, 2006


The bigger issue is that of context and definition. If I can be defined as 'someone's mom' - how is that any better than 30 years ago, when I would have always been identified as "Mrs. Thurston Howell" instead of by my own name, Lovie?

I don't think anyone's suggesting that these cards be handed out at adult social events, or business functions. They're not about defining a person in every way shape and form. But in the modern context of daycare, playgroups, playdates, team sports, etc, etc, etc, you're there as 'someone's mom'. If you want another parent to call you and meet for dinner, or join your bookclub, you're not going to hand them your mom card. But if you want them to call you and arrange a playdate with your kid, they're contacting you because of that relationship - so it's the information that matters on the card.

I imagine there'd be vastly fewer histrionics about this if there were some plain brown options and an example that said 'Emma's Dad', but the reality is, the vast majority of SAH parents are women. And women still seem to do much of the child chauffering and birthday party attending, even if they're working. The cards are merely aimed (if somewhat poorly aimed) at the largest portion of the possible market for them.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:37 AM on July 10, 2006


I like the idea, but they definitely shouldn't be so cutesy and don't have to include "so-and-so's mom" as the primary title. I think a well-done card makes stay-at home motherhood seem more professional and thus more likely to be taken seriously. When I get a chance, I will ask my wife (a stay at home mom) what she thinks.

-Mary's dad
posted by TedW at 9:37 AM on July 10, 2006


why, oh why would anyone want to define themselves only in terms of their relationship with their children?

Quite simply because they believe that raising their children on a day-to-day basis is an infinitely more important job than what they might otherwise do in the service of the economy.
posted by simra at 9:38 AM on July 10, 2006


Felix, do opposite-sex parents really interpret other ways of providing contact info as hitting-upon-ish? That's fascinating to me. (Quick -- should we blame Desperate Housewives? Someone start a letter-writing campaign!)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:38 AM on July 10, 2006


bitter, these cards are an addition to, rather than a replacement of, all of the other social connection paperwork which people use to establish contacts. If you're at a PTA meeting and someone asks you for your card and you discover that all you have in your bag is mash notes and shopping lists, you don't hand those out either.
posted by felix at 9:38 AM on July 10, 2006


oh, ugh. Except in circumstances where you are only known as 'Emma and Leigh's mom", ie, when you meet for the first time the parents of your kid's friends, why, oh why would anyone want to define themselves only in terms of their relationship with their children?

I just took out my own business card and had a look. Do I want to define myself with the name and logo of my current employer, and the title my employer gave me? Well, no. Not particularly.

But maybe that's why I never use the damned things…
posted by jepler at 9:39 AM on July 10, 2006


I'm also not sure why people think the term "fundy" would be less indicative of bigotry than nigger, fag, Heeb, spic, et cetera — or that bigotry toward Christians would be more acceptable than bigotry toward Muslims or Jews or Mexicans or homosexuals.

Really? Referring to someone as a 'fundy' is as inflammatory as calling someone a racist epithet? OK. Good to know. I'll just refer to them as "persons of Christian faith that wish to re-shape society in their narrow, blinkered interpretation of propriety and who won't stop trying to ram their restrictive, homophobic, anti-Constitutional views down my throat". Yeah, it's a bit more cumbersome, but gets to the point with more clarity.
posted by docpops at 9:40 AM on July 10, 2006


bitter: oh hell yeah. I always take my boy to parks on weekends. These parks are always teeming with lithe, leggy, blonde professionals sipping starbucks while watching their kids play. All the other dads spend their time staring openly at the moms with the dark spark of lust in their hearts. Me, I'm just there to get my kid some healthy playtime and connections, so an inoffensive, clearly-not-an-opening-line card, completely out of the what's-your-sign context, is invaluable in cutting through the mating rituals. It's still readable as an invitation to adultery, but way less so than 'hi, what's your number?'
posted by felix at 9:44 AM on July 10, 2006


agregoli : what happens if you lose that person?

If you're talking about my daughter, then I don't know. My heart jumped into my mouth when I read/thought that, it would be the worst thing imaginable. I honestly don't know how parents survive the death of a child.

But back on topic, I guess the point is why is it a negative thing for someone to be called X's mom? I would imagine X would be happy about it. It doesn't automatically reduce X to a bland faceless mommy-unit. I guess the associations with the stay-at-home-cook-clean-house-slave role that women were limited to in the old days are negative, but aren't things different now? One of the more frequent complaints I hear from other families is that the mother is forced to *go back to work* to cover the bills and would rather stay at home with the children.
posted by ny_scotsman at 9:48 AM on July 10, 2006


Mefi: bringing you the dark spark of lust since 1999.

Hmph, who knew what was afoot on the playgrounds of America? Egads. You learn something new every day!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:49 AM on July 10, 2006


It doesn't automatically reduce X to a bland faceless mommy-unit.

However, for some reason, that's the first thing I feel when I hear it.

I just don't think it's healthy to define yourself by your relationship to someone else first. I understand the practicality of these cards, but I'm talking in the larger sense.
posted by agregoli at 9:59 AM on July 10, 2006


Oh good grief. There is nothing wrong with defining yourself by your relationship to others. Simra says it well.

love, Madame Snicker Kitty's Human (that's who I was at the vet this morning).
posted by dog food sugar at 10:00 AM on July 10, 2006


ny_scotsman: "I guess the point is why is it a negative thing for someone to be called X's mom?"

Well, it's not. In my Perfect World (tm), everyone would have a personal card with their name and contact info on them. No company name, no business logo, no "childname's mommy" on them. Whoever you're handing them out to can place them in context themselves, whether they're scribbling "hot blonde I met at the park", "IP attorney, Company X" or "Mommy of..." on the back.

But since I don't run the world (which is probably a good thing, although I would be a fair and charming despot), this is what we've got.

I'm steadily realizing that the filter through which I view the world has conditioned me to take offense at many things other people don't find offensive at all. I work in an industry that's predominantly female, and some of the absurdly unprofessional behavior I witness there has made me see cards like this as "ohmygod, yet another piece of hot pink resume paper" (thanks, blue_beetle!)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:02 AM on July 10, 2006


why, oh why would anyone want to define themselves only in terms of their vocation?

I hope no one defines his or her identity only by any single term.

simra made a great point.

This work is much more difficult than any of my previous jobs. The rewards are greater. And when I'm old and see her art, or music, or her happiness I'll be quite a damn bit more proud of her than I would that boat, or big screen TV.

But that's me. I don't mind that those that work outside the home. Why would they mind those of us who opt-out?

I could use those type cards at the park. As the only male at most day activities I am quick to let mothers know I'm the father of a child there. It helps them understand I have a good reason to be hanging around. Of course I'd put her name on the card. That's how they and their child would best identify me.
posted by ?! at 10:07 AM on July 10, 2006


... that bigotry toward Christians would be more acceptable than bigotry toward Muslims or Jews or Mexicans or homosexuals.

By asserting that the moon is made out of cheese, a justification for the dismissal of one's intellect is given that race does not provide.
posted by unmake at 10:09 AM on July 10, 2006


simra, exactly. Probably, in the long term, doing a good job raising your kids is the best strategy for the economy.

bitter-girl : I see what you're saying, but then what font would they use? It could get messy. Perhaps barcodes are the best bet.
posted by ny_scotsman at 10:10 AM on July 10, 2006


Good on you, ?!. I know some really excellent stay at home dads. But they're not advertising these cards for dads, as mentioned above. Isn't it awfully presumptuous to assume only moms would need them? Heck, why not call it "freefamilycards.com" and be done with it? Need one with yours + your kids' names (because their surname is different than yours)? Done. Need dad + kid? Cool. They assume, however, that only women want or need them, and that they should be all girly-swirly to boot.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:12 AM on July 10, 2006


ny_scotsman: Perhaps barcodes are the best bet.

Oh dear. Don't start in with that or you'll get the Revelations-happy people down our throats. RFID tags are the Mark of the Beast, doncha know?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:14 AM on July 10, 2006


But they're not advertising these cards for dads, as mentioned above. Isn't it awfully presumptuous to assume only moms would need them?

Is it presumptuous to assume that only mothers need or could use these cards? Sure. Is it presumptuous to assume that the target demographic and likely buyers of these cards are overwhelmingly mothers? I doubt it.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:16 AM on July 10, 2006


agregoli: I understand your point, but not the practicality of it. When you meet someone how do you define yourself? Simply with your name? Do you mention your vocation? Your hobbies? Where you live? Where you went to college? Your favorite music? Films? You aren't defined by any one of those.

When I get your card I wouldn't assume you are defined by the company you work for or by the neighborhood where your number is located. Your card is just a mnemonic.
posted by ?! at 10:23 AM on July 10, 2006


When my kid gets born and I after I take my lousy 3 months of FLMA time, I'm going to append my business card to say "DenOfSizer, Underpaid but Brilliant Architect who's shelling out shitloads of money to a relative stranger to take care of my kid because the stupid system we have guarantees that I gotta go back to work work if we're going to keep a goddam roof over our heads and pay off my student loan, even though I'd really rather stop center my fancy-pants clients' tiles on their fucking swimming pools for a few months to attend to the development of my only child's mind and soul. Also run-on-sentence writer."

I mean, as long as we're baring our souls on a 2x3 piece of cardstock that people are just going to throw away.
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:28 AM on July 10, 2006


monju_bosatsu: "Is it presumptuous to assume that the target demographic and likely buyers of these cards are overwhelmingly mothers? I doubt it."

That's very true. The last I read there are less than 100,000 self-identified stay-at-home dads in the US.

But, entrepreneurs looking for a niche market should note freedaddycards.com is available!
posted by ?! at 10:29 AM on July 10, 2006


agregoli: I understand your point, but not the practicality of it. When you meet someone how do you define yourself? Simply with your name? Do you mention your vocation? Your hobbies? Where you live? Where you went to college? Your favorite music? Films? You aren't defined by any one of those.

It simply strikes me as weird that people want to present "Gary's girlfriend" or "Sara's Mom" as an opener. I'm meeting you, aren't I, not an extension of an extraneous person? I don't feel comfortable with people who co-opt another person to make up the principal part of their identity.
posted by agregoli at 10:30 AM on July 10, 2006


I'm meeting you, aren't I, not an extension of an extraneous person?

Actually, no. Maybe this is excessively utilitarian, but, for example, when you meet other children's parents at school functions, you really are meeting an extension of the child. The only relevant link you have with this other person is the link shared between your children. It makes sense to present yourself—present, mind you, not define—as the parent of your child, just as when you meet potential clients or contracting parties you present yourself as an agent of your employer. Can your relationship with this other parent grow into something lasting and meaningful, where you can bare your soul and expose the depth of your love of the arts, or pottery, or the Grateful Dead? Maybe, but until then, you're just some kid's parent.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:39 AM on July 10, 2006


I understand that. I can't help but find it depressing, however.
posted by agregoli at 10:45 AM on July 10, 2006


So, in my context, let's say I was at a PTA meeting and my neighbor introduced me to the editor of the Big Local Paper, or a publisher, or whatever... We have a good chat, he asks for my card and (since I'm at the PTA meeting, all I have are my mommy cards)........ [crickets chirp]

Being that unprepared would demonstrate a serious lack of professionalism on your part. I retired from full-time employment 7 years ago but work as a consultant in 2 fields that are unrelated to each other: Citrus grove operations and auto dealership management. I always have both cards with me.
posted by buggzzee23 at 10:47 AM on July 10, 2006


I understand that. I can't help but find it depressing, however.

I don't think it's that depressing; I think it's just an expression of the limited time we have on Earth. I can't have a deep and meaningful relationship with every person I meet; it's just not possible. If I had all the time in the world, would I want to? Well, probably not, but I can see that some people might. The truth is, through, we don't have that much time, and we have to manage our relationships to allow time for those things that are important. I do know that you are much more than just "Susie's mom," but that may be the only thing that's relevant to me, and more importantly, that may be the only part of your identity for which I have time. Sorry, gotta get the kid to baseball practice.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:51 AM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Maybe this is excessively utilitarian, but, for example, when you meet other children's parents at school functions, you really are meeting an extension of the child.

Actually, it's not utiltarian enough... You're meeting fellow members of your own community, who happen to have children in your child's school. Other common interests could include things such as taxes, politicians, neighborhood change, gentrification---whatever it is that's relevant to people in your school district.
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:53 AM on July 10, 2006


I understand that. I can't help but find it depressing, however.
posted by agregoli


We're all identified by the wheel upon which our cog spins. Welcome to the real world. Now get over it :)
posted by buggzzee23 at 10:53 AM on July 10, 2006


Being that unprepared would demonstrate a serious lack of professionalism on your part.

Yes, well...so would handing out one of those cards. Or any overly twee card, for that matter.

(Despite a friend of mine saying her husband used to have "Overlord" as his job title on cards -- then again, he owns a record company and can get away with it -- I doubt his card was lavender colored with flowers).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:56 AM on July 10, 2006


Thanks for the condescension!
posted by agregoli at 10:56 AM on July 10, 2006


I've yet to hand out more than five of the five hundred cards I got when I started my job. They really do make nice bookmarks, though.

Note to self:
1. Go to library and hide a business card in my 10 favorite books.
2. Wait for customized book club to spontaneously develop
3. ???
4. Profit!
posted by wabashbdw at 10:57 AM on July 10, 2006


Stack of left over business cards = flip book.
posted by dog food sugar at 11:01 AM on July 10, 2006


"Hi, nice to meet you. Your t-shirt says you work at whatever, do you know Gary? I'm Gary's girlfriend."

"Hi, I heard your kid is having a birthday party, I'm Sara's mom and I just wanted to meet you before Sara goes to your house."

It's just context. Although the cards are way too pink and pretty for me.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:03 AM on July 10, 2006


Being that unprepared would demonstrate a serious lack of professionalism on your part.

At a PTA meeting? It's sort-of understandable that you might care about a card's design in the context of business if you were a certain kind of person, but in a PTA meeting? You make it sound like the kind of thing you need to show your MBA diploma just to get in the door.
posted by ny_scotsman at 11:05 AM on July 10, 2006


I agree, bitter-girl.com. In that situation, it would be better to not hand them any card at all instead of the cutesie mommy card. We all carry multiple identities with us and are only known by one or two of those identities to those we encounter. Most of the folks at the PTA meeting will remember you as Joey's mom because that is your role as far as they're concerned while the publisher will remember you as that writer person he/she met because that is your role that is important to him/her. Neither opinon should be construed as shorting the other role and the rest of your accomplishments. The PTA parent doesn't give a rat's ass about your writing because it has no effect on his/her life and the publisher doesn't give a rat's ass about your parenting skills because they don't affect him/her (unless your kid grows up to be a serial killer and sells a lot of papers)
posted by buggzzee23 at 11:13 AM on July 10, 2006


From what I've heard about the more competitive schools in NYC, ny_scotsman, you'd have to present your MBA, blood test results, family tree back PAST the Mayflower and references from 5 corporate attorneys to get anywhere near the PTA meeting. ;)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:14 AM on July 10, 2006


You are not joking. My wife bought a book on NYC private schools and I almost shit myself when I saw what $25k would (or rather, wouldn't) get me. I literally had no idea it was that expensive. And you're expected to cough up thousands in "donations" every year! I have started a tree appreciation course to prepare me for our inevitable relocation in pursuit of affordable education.
posted by ny_scotsman at 11:21 AM on July 10, 2006


Having already put in my two cents I'll throw in another nickel. I have to say that while I find these cards amusing, and doubt my SO would ever use them, I wouldn't underestimate their practical social value. After a few years of bouncing between cities on both coasts, with at least one more bounce in the works, we've become keenly aware of the need to rapidly build the contacts you need to feel part of a community. It takes time to make good friends but in the meantime you need babysitters, preschools, and playdates, not to mention other people in your life who understand stay-at-home parenting and its challenges.

In short, networking is as important to a stay-at-home parent (especially in the modern mobile family) as it is to any businessperson.
posted by simra at 11:22 AM on July 10, 2006


These days everybody's got a business card:

posted by squalor at 11:25 AM on July 10, 2006


dog food sugar : or donate to a worthwhile cause!.

P.S. I hope Madame Snicker Kitty is OK after her visit.
posted by ny_scotsman at 11:27 AM on July 10, 2006


Not only have I had a similar card for several years, but so do my kids (for their friends: 1st name only, plus parents first names & phone #). Keeping track of their friends and parents names can be a royal pain. A card makes it so much easier.

This harkens back to the day of the 'calling card' and I see it as nothing but a plus.
posted by LadyBonita at 11:50 AM on July 10, 2006


agregoli: I totally agree with you and I understand your discomfort as being identified as X's y.

I spent my entire childhood as Sam's Daughter. My mother was always Sam's Wife, despite her career. Due to my dad's well-known status in the small, rural community I grew up in, neither of us had an individual identity.

When I moved 200 miles away, I was delighted at one point when my father introduced himself to my coworkers as "Jane's Dad". It was neat and a little disturbing. The man who had defined my identity for 18 years was now defined by me.

I can't imagine after all the work I've done to become my own individual, to have just my name be enough, to give that up to be "Susie's Mom". I'm sure that motherhood is a wonderful thing, and I'll regret it later if I don't have kids; but one of the major reasons I've had for not having kids is the total loss of identity.

*ducks the flaming balls of fury* I know, I know...everyone who has kids swears up and down that they are still their own person and having kids is the best thing EVAR! But while I don't know what's in the heads of my friends who are parents, I do know what words come out of their mouths. And invariably every friend of my who's had a kid changes. They almost always begin to see the world through the filter of being a parent. Not that this is a bad thing, parents should always be thinking of their children, but it's not a focus I want to have.

Not surprisingly, most of my female friends can say nothing but how important their kids are, how much having children changed their lives in a postive way, how they weren't anything until they were a mother. However, their male counterparts often identify with their jobs/hobbies/whatever and then mention they are dads. Sure the guys are pleased to be Daddies, but it's a different level than my female friends who are Moms.

And out of all of this, that's what disturbs me the most about these little cards. Not that there aren't any for men and daddies, but that if there were; they most likely wouldn't be used because men don't *need* to be primarily identified as a father.
posted by teleri025 at 12:00 PM on July 10, 2006


But while I don't know what's in the heads of my friends who are parents, I do know what words come out of their mouths. And invariably every friend of my who's had a kid changes. They almost always begin to see the world through the filter of being a parent. Not that this is a bad thing, parents should always be thinking of their children, but it's not a focus I want to have.

Deeply agreed, and one of the reasons I do not want to embark on parenthood either (although the main one is simply that I don't want kids). Thanks for your thoughtful reply.
posted by agregoli at 12:03 PM on July 10, 2006


Madame Snicker Kitty is the best pet name I've heard in a while.

(says the commenter whose own pets are named after an obscure Bohemian abbess and two of the male characters on Buffy tVS).

squalor -- it's the HAPPY FLOWER that really does the trick there, you know...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:04 PM on July 10, 2006


How about a personal card that says...

Marshall Redder
616-534-9400


and nothing more. That would be about the only personal card that I could take seriously.

Don't look for that guys webpage.

posted by 517 at 12:08 PM on July 10, 2006


Isn't it awfully presumptuous to assume only moms would need them?

We're living in a society where men still are known to refer to spending time parenting their child(ren) in the absence of the mother as "babysitting." We're living in a society where a top nationwide retailer has a series of ads in which inept fathers freak out at the prospect of having to parent while mom is off shopping. We're living in a society where there are more men more than $75,000 in arrears on court-ordered support for their children than there are men acting as primary caretaker.

We've got a long way to go before there's going to be any profit made from tools to enhance acts of extended parenting by fathers.
posted by Dreama at 12:09 PM on July 10, 2006


See these people have it the wrong way. The mom is only a contact for the kid. The business cards should be for the kids. Nobody cares about the mother. Cut, cut, cut out the middle man.
posted by nixerman at 12:33 PM on July 10, 2006


What about a family card? That way everyone gets top billing.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 12:42 PM on July 10, 2006


Not surprisingly, most of my female friends can say nothing but how important their kids are, how much having children changed their lives in a postive way, how they weren't anything until they were a mother.

Yep. The thing that bothers me the most? Motherhood isn't exactly new. Women have been having and rearing kids for a while now -- usually while working at something else (a job, the farm, the family business) at the same time. Even in the most traditional of traditions, women's role used to be about 'making a home for your husband' and the focus used to be cleaning and decorating, or shopping and cooking. The kids were to be corralled and regulated: do your chores, sit up straight, do your homework, don't eat in the living room, whatever. I don't think this killed anyone.

That 'Mommyhood' has become a full-time, overwhelming, life-defining experience doesn't strike me as good for anyone involved. My mom didn't work, but she didn't spend every moment of every day with me, structuring her life around making sure I was safe and clean and happy and entertained and stimulated. I remember, rather, that she had a life, did a number of things that had nothing to do with me, and frequently left me to my own devices. his was probably the case for many of us. :)

I just spent an afternoon visiting friends who have two toddlers: parenting is vital to these folks, and they love their kids. Lovely. But the whole house belongs to them, and is run around them. The living room is a pile of toys, the kids absolutely need to be the focus of adult attention at all times, nothing is off limits and little is forbidden. There's no 'kid space' in the house, so everything is 'kidspace', which means there is no 'adultspace' at all. Why is this necessary? I remember playrooms. Hell, I remember babysitting kids who had playrooms, and limits, and bedtimes, and things they could not do. Is this now impossible without breaking their little spirits?

The focus on the kids -- always presented as 'for their benefit' -- actually strikes me as bad for them. For heaven's sake, when are they going to learn that the world doesn't revolve around them? How are they going to learn how to relate to unrelated folks who don't love them?
posted by jrochest at 1:07 PM on July 10, 2006


Jeez, whatever happened to just playing with the kid next door?

Now I need to get business cards for my (future) kids and a Rolodex for the PTA, and a Google Calendar for scheduling "play dates"(whatever the hell they are)?

Man, this parenthood thing is looking more complicated by the day.
posted by madajb at 1:21 PM on July 10, 2006


You know? Why bother!
posted by agregoli at 1:28 PM on July 10, 2006


I have a card. It's a baseball card, with Ryne Sandberg on it. But still, it's a card.
posted by jonmc at 1:33 PM on July 10, 2006


Thanks for the condescension!
posted by agregoli


You reap what you sow, sister.
posted by jonmc at 1:44 PM on July 10, 2006


why, oh why would anyone want to define themselves only in terms of their relationship with their children?

I don't know, why would anyone want to define themselves only as a middle-manager at some generic corporation? Really, if you think that someone's identity can be printed on a business card, I would say that's your mistake.

Other than that, I don't think I'm nearly rich enough to take part in this conversation.
posted by dagnyscott at 1:57 PM on July 10, 2006


Nice post. I've come to late to really participate in a discussion on feminism so I'll only say, I'd welcome a system where I could easily identify people I'd rather not have anything to do with.

(Yep, I've got kids AND i did a stay-at-home stint (years), but so did my husband and both of us could not but help working from home due to boredom despite our child raising philosophy.)
posted by b33j at 1:58 PM on July 10, 2006


You reap what you sow, sister.


I haven't been condescending to anyone here.
posted by agregoli at 1:59 PM on July 10, 2006


My aunt has a 1.5 year old daughter & is pregnant with her 2nd daughter, she's also the head of sales for a major medical software company, so she's a serious business person who travels all over the world (the reason why my baby cousin spent her 1st birthday in Paris!). She also takes being a mom uber seriously and has traded calling cards with other parents a lot, for making playdates & such. Like someone else mentioned, scraps of disorganized paper just don't cut it, especially when you're a working parent. Having a card that says you're so&so's mom is more efficient than it is sexist or sublimating of the mom's identity.
posted by zarah at 2:34 PM on July 10, 2006


Well, I'm glad Hirschman stood up for the idea that being a working mom is better. I know many people disagree (which is fine) and that people feel attacked when someone says they believe the opposite choice is better (which is human), but considering the vociferous attacks on families wherein both parents work and the way that even the liberal folks I know suspect staying home is better (though they aren't so rude about it), I'm thrilled that someone is willling to stick up for the other side of the equation so at least there is a discussion.

(And yeah, my single mom worked and I am glad of it. And I had a standing playdate everyday: it was called daycare, and I loved daycare. And x 2, the totalizing mommyness of current parenthood is definitely a big reason I'm put off it.)
posted by dame at 2:36 PM on July 10, 2006


Jeez, whatever happened to just playing with the kid next door?

Some people live in the countryside and the kid next door is several miles away.
posted by zarah at 2:37 PM on July 10, 2006


i never want to be known as ’someones_________’

But once you have kids, whether you like it or not there are going to be people that know you first as ____'s Mom. Just like anyone you meet trhough your parents will first know you as ___'s daughter, through your husband ____'s wife, etc.

(and yes, as soon as I started reading any of this I become very self conscious that my answer for gender in my MeFi profile is "somebody's mom")
posted by raedyn at 3:28 PM on July 10, 2006


teleri025 & agregoli

The stuff your talking about is real. Part of my experience becoming a Mom included needing to grieve the parts of me that were lost into this nebulous motherhood thing. It takes making a conscious effort to not let that consume one's identity to make space for the rest of me. But of course it changes you. Any major life experience, especially one that includes major physical and chemical changes will leave a person different in some respects. have you ever known someone to have cancer, say, and remain unchanged in every respect?

And there's so much conflicting pressures competing to load guilt on women who are moms. If you're away from home too much with your own stuff, you're neglecting them. If you're at home all the time you're neglecting yourself and denying the world your true talents. You must love mothering and not talk about when it sucks beyond measure.

I'm going to stop myself before I rant on for too long. I have a lot of thoughts on topics related to this, and I'm hungry for real thoughtful conversations about it. How do I find other mothers that talk and think about this stuff? The moms with little kids I know talk about their kids, their jobs their husbands but not the higher level why and how of it all. I've had great conversations with my own mom about it (hippie femenist that she is) but I would like to hear other perspectives and to talk to women who are out there doing it right now. I value Mom's perspective and she's got a lot of insight, but her experiences (as a lesbian single mom who had me at 28) are pretty different than mine (straight, married, had my kid at 20).
posted by raedyn at 4:10 PM on July 10, 2006


Jeez, whatever happened to just playing with the kid next door? - madajb

Neighbourhoods aren't what they used to be. School is far away, so classmates don't live very close. Fewer people know their neighbours. Etc Etc.
posted by raedyn at 4:13 PM on July 10, 2006


What about a family card? That way everyone gets top billing.

That's what we have. It has both adults' names, the kids' names, and the adults' phone numbers and e-mail addresses. It's much easier than searching for a pen and a scrap of paper while running around the playground, library, etc.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:29 PM on July 10, 2006


raedyn, I understand. I've heard very similar things come out of my own brain, and out of my mom's mouth, and my few friends who are moms who think.

It's a difficult choice and decision. Very few understand just how drastically your life can change when you have a small person come out of your body. Hell, I've given it tons of thought, considered it inside and out, and periodically I still get the crazed baby want with visions of adorable little girls in ringlets reading comics and telling me what a great mom I am.

Then the booze wears off and the hangover headache kicks in and I realize that no matter how romantic and wonderful I think having kids might, despite the beautiful and joyous chance to make new little people in this world and shape them....I just can't do it.

I just simply can't take the risk of getting lost like that. I respect the hell out of women who can, and I love them for it. But for now, I'll stick with being Auntie Teleri who spoils the munchkins rotten and then runs away.

And even though I'm not a mom, I'd be happy to listen to your rants and provide some feedback. My email's in the profile.
posted by teleri025 at 4:57 PM on July 10, 2006


Am I the only one who saw the cards and thought "What a Security Nightmare"!?

Giving out the kids names, a home address and a way to contact mommy and carefully ascertain her location in one fell swoop.

It's like a big lit up arrow on the front lawn for child molesters and kidnappers.
The only way you could make it easier is by putting a floor plan of your house and the entire families schedules on the back.
posted by Megafly at 6:37 PM on July 10, 2006


Yes, because there are actually crazed child molesters and kidnappers on the prowl, out to get your innocent white children. Really.
posted by blasdelf at 6:46 PM on July 10, 2006


I'd like a card that said "Stacey's Mom". That would totally have it going on.
posted by Sparx at 7:13 PM on July 10, 2006


What's wrong with having calling cards that are flexible enough to be handed out to anyone, and either hand writing the appropriate way this person would know you (Gigi's Mommy) or (Redhead in Thursday morning book club), or allowing the person you're giving it to to do so? It doesn't define you as anything but yourself, and it's much more versatile.

Blasdef: I blame Law & Order. Especially Special Victim's Unit.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 7:52 PM on July 10, 2006


Some people live in the countryside and the kid next door is several miles away.

I seriously doubt those folk are the market for these cards.
posted by madajb at 8:30 PM on July 10, 2006


Neighbourhoods aren't what they used to be. School is far away, so classmates don't live very close. Fewer people know their neighbours. Etc Etc.

What a crappy way to grow up.
posted by madajb at 8:31 PM on July 10, 2006


Do stay at home moms need business cards?

That depends - how many spliffs do they roll in an average week?
posted by pompomtom at 10:08 PM on July 10, 2006


There should be an electronic version of the calling card (there surely is and someone will tell me all about it in a minute) that is good for any occasion. Maybe something the size of a credit with your name on it (so you don't mix it up with anyone else's) and a control (dial or buttons) to determine which type of card you want to hand out. Or just build this function into your phone, of course.

If you're at a business meeting, you set it for "business" and now you can hold your card (or phone) up to anyone else's to exchange the data. If you're in the park with the kids, you set it for "family social". If you're at a party, choose "party". If you're filling out business forms or applications, let it do that for you, too. Each setting would determine the information you distribute to others. When you get home, transfer the data to your computer if you like.
posted by pracowity at 3:42 AM on July 11, 2006


Some people live in the countryside and the kid next door is several miles away.

I seriously doubt those folk are the market for these cards.


Actually, that more or less describes my family's situation. As I said I would, I asked Mrs. tedw what she thought about the cards, and she tended to agree with those who found them somewhat insulting/condescending, especially after seeing the actual cards. But she said she could see my point about them making stay at home motherhood seem more "professional". What was really interesting is a few minutes later she came across a blurb for kids cards in the magazine she was reading and immediately thought it was a good idea.

Neither one of us got particularly worked up about it though, so it is interesting to me that this thread has garnered 115 comments.
posted by TedW at 4:58 AM on July 11, 2006


raedyn, you could easily have such conversations on this board:

http://supernaturale.com/glitter/

There's an entire parenting section, and the entire board is primarily female. Friendly ears await!
posted by agregoli at 6:58 AM on July 11, 2006


Cards: Those cards are awful, but the concept is strong. I hand out my actual business cards to other moms relatively regularly, and just write "Son's Name's Mom" on it, so they remember why they have the card later.

If I didn't own a business, I would probably have had social or calling cards printed, because I would use them. I wouldn't use these gawd-awful things, nor would I have my childbearing status imprinted upon then, but I would certainly have contact cards.

Business/calling cards are the western social equivelant of dogs sniffing each other's butts. Either you can hand over the card, complete the ritual and move forward, or you can slow the whole damn encounter down by having to hunt for a piece of paper, a pen, writing everything down...meanwhile civilizations have risen and fallen, and your 3 year old has probably found an interesting place to cram a crayon.
posted by dejah420 at 11:25 AM on July 11, 2006


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