I am a mom and that 4 word phrase is loaded!
In my case it is loaded with 5 wonderful, horrible, genuinely amazing human beings ranging in age from 15-25.
It is loaded with sleepless nights – in the beginning because of breastfeeding and in college because of life crises.
It is loaded with millions of “I told you so’s” and millions more “I’m sorry’s”.
It is loaded with laughter so hard that it makes you cry and tears so deep that you think you will never recover.
Being a mom crosses all potential lines that the general population is divided under – race, immigration status, education level, class, sexual orientation or political party. Instead we moms divide ourselves by breastfeeding or not breastfeeding, back to work in 4 weeks post delivery or not back to work; preschool or not; private school, public school, or home school; school lunches or home lunches;school bus or drive; pacifier or thumb….I could go on and on but have so much more to say.
When I became a mom, I suddenly had a chink in my armor – armor that had served me well for 25 years. Suddenly I had this vulnerable part of me – and we named that vulnerable part Annie. All 6 lbs 12 ounces of her sweet-smelling baby skin suddenly became the part of me that policies, people and programs could attack. This new and vulnerable part of me affected every way that I make decisions.
I have been a stay at home mom, and I have been a mom with a career outside the home. I have lived internationally and domestically. I have lived in the Northeast and the Southwest. I have had very little money, and I have had more money. I have rented and owned, I have breastfed and formula fed, I have served my kids whole wheat bread and I have served them happy meals or ice cream for dinner. And at the end of the day the questions I ask myself are probably much like other moms: What do I really want for my kids and who do I really want to like me when I’m eighty years old?
So can I be so bold as to express what I believe moms need? We need to know that when we get up in the morning and find out that our 7-year-old has a fever of 103 that we can call in to work and not be penalized. We need flexible options for working from home. We need to not be judged for the decisions we make about our kids, about our families. We need to not have to choose between taking a needed vacation or saving up time in case one of our kids is sick or needs us for another reason. We need TV shows of woman with real body parts and face cream commercials that say “It may not work for you!” We need to know that our children are ok at school – we need to be a part of the school. We need to be able to take our children to the doctor with or without financial security. We need to be able to encourage them to develop values and have the freedom to express those values openly. We need to be able to say: College won’t come with a price tag of years of debt, but it will take work and responsibility.
And that is why I will never vote along party lines, but from my ‘mom intuition’ and my conscience.
8 thoughts on “Loaded Phrase: I am a Mom!”
From one mom to another — well stated, I also make decisions based on my intuition and conscience. Always keeping in mind what is best for Jacqueline and children I know and love.
And Petra – you are an amazing mom. Someone I look up to more than you know.
I wish the politicians, the health care decision-makers, employers, everyone with the power to change such policies could hear what you are saying. You speak for all of us. Thanks.
Barb – thanks so much. I can’t describe how strongly and so glad it resonated with you.
This is wonderful, Marilyn. I just saw (and perused, not sure where–NYTimes?) an analysis of how few women are in national politics; how that is related to women’s natural association of pragmatic concerns with political offices–as opposed to running for office for the ego trip/personal glorification. Pragmatically, I wouldn’t wish all the ugliness of politics on such a dear friend, but I still have to say I wish more women like you WERE running for and taking leadership roles as elected officials. I think it’d be great if women politicians would show everyone how not to get over-invested in adhering to either party line; how citizens and leaders can do our own critical thinking to make sure everyday moms and families’ needs are heard and respected. (They say if a politician doesn’t cater to a party’s base, people won’t vote for her/him. I like to think there’s a lot of us who feel the opposite, but after all these years, I’m getting skeptical myself.)
Would love to see the analysis Nancy! I really agree with you on what women politicians could do, if they were willing to stay away from partisan politics.. As families needs are heard and respected, communities reap the results with strong bonds and family connections. As families are strengthened so is society strengthened. (my belief anyway!)Thank you for the vote of confidence you express with this comment! I don’t think I could ever be thick skinned enough for public office. The first rude oped piece on me would send me into tears and rage!! And thus….I blog!!
you are amazing :)
No Katrina – YOU are! Thanks so much for reading…Was so surprised and delighted by your comment. Looking so forward to seeing you!