In a western society that has made some pretty incredible strides in inclusion, why do I feel that overall perceptions of being a mother has stalled out in the 80’s and its female empowerment movement?
I have three children. And the mommy guilt even writing this perspective is filled with judgement and caveats.
For centuries gender norms were imperative for keeping the species in the game when so many things were against these little newbies. Humans have evolutionarily adjusted gestation to accommodate these little nuggets and their increasing brain/head size. Humans don’t have little ones that come out wobbling but can at least stand. The parent that the child was immediately reliant on was the one that needed to be with it.
The necessity of each role ensured the survival of the species. I understand. Hear me out.
We see plastered everywhere, these mommy blogs and articles dedicated to this heaven of matching mommy/daughter outfits, craft tips and snack ideas. Hell, there is a MASSIVE YouTube industry that relies solely on videotaping mommies playing games with the toys they received from their backers so they can feature their product.
I just do not get it.
I have been parenting for 20 years. I have gone through the developmental stages of three children. I LOVE my children. Every milestone they conquer indelibly brings with it tears of the complex emotions that make up maternal love and commitment. I wouldn’t continue procreating otherwise. However the vantage point of the stay at home mother is one I never could wrap my head around.
I did the legwork on that side of the fence for a while too. In my early 20’s, I felt that to be a good mother was to emulate my own stay at home mother’s example. I glossed over the mental issues that my mother displayed and included me in, because socialization of ‘what it means to be a mommy’ is a strong and guilty tie.
The irony is that I found myself in this perpetual state of feelings that are so complex, it had no name. Or the names were so distressing, it questioned every fabric of what it means to be a mother.