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.