09 July 2003

I am a mother - why is that not enough for you?

When you ask me what I do, and I respond that I am a mother, why do you look at me as if to say "Is that all?" Isn't that enough? Why is it that when the conversation turns to the big projects that everyone is working on at at their jobs, no one bothers to inquire about the long hard hours that come with raising a family? Every weekend is a working weekend when you are a mother. Why is that when describing what everyone does for a living, do you leave me out as if I don't do anything or put the emphasis on my little business and minimize my real job? Is a stupid candy wrapper more important than another human being? My choice early in my life to be a mother is not something to feel sorry for me about. I started my career nearly 13 years ago and have been promoted twice since then with the addition of each of my daughters. I have kept my family together, safe and happy in times so difficult that would make most people shake in fear just to think about. So why do you look upon my life as somehow less than successful?

I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Not by a long shot. Mothers physically create totally new PEOPLE and then after that mind-blowingly amazing task, they take on the responsibility of guiding that person through life and teaching them lessons ranging from spirituality to being a cooperative member of society down to how to use a toilet and everything in between. Yet, when was the last time someone raised a glass in a toast to celebrate the accomplishments of a mother? Why do we instead look at them critically and judge them by whether or not they fit into a narrow profile created by marketing monsters to sell baby gear? Why is a mother who is tired, stressed and looks frazzled seen as some sort of failure? Why do we pour toxic drugs down the throats of mothers who struggle daily and are made to feel inferior because they don't glow with an aura of peace and satisfaction from changing poopy diapers or picking up the same damn toys 12 times a day? Why do we blame mothers for all of the problems a child has, but not give them credit for the good stuff?

Ok, obviously I am dealing with some issues here. And yes, they are issues that stem from real life situations and interactions with people. I don't need to name anyone because the list would be to long. I would have to include myself on that list as well. I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to not validating the truly important work that it is I do as a mother. I spend so much time looking at how I can better use my life, but I fail to look at what it is that I am already doing. I look at being a mother as something that is holding me back from my bigger goals in life. That is messed up! But deep in my heart I know that my work as a mother is more important than any other thing I will do in my life. I just wish that it was not such a thankless job. I cried the other night because I was feeling sad that I work so hard every day - 7 days a week - 365 days a year - and it goes virtually unnoticed. It felt good to cry, but it felt better to say it out loud how I was feeling when Axel asked me why I was upset. I don't even know if he understood my words mixed in with my sobs, but using my voice felt strong and gave me validation. That is why I am writing this here. Using my words - my voice - to express and validate how I am feeling and how many other mothers are feeling. And hoping that we all can have some sort of renewal of strength and healing from it, no matter how small.

I feel a bit better now. I hope you do too. And if you can, try and take a few minutes today, and every day, to thank a mother (any mother, not just your own) for doing the work she does.

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