In honor of National Women’s History Month, Day4Women has been posting facts about women’s accomplishments via Facebook and Twitter. Also, various videos about important milestones in women’s history will continue to be featured on the site. Today, though, may we honor one of the most important parts of the history of women and that is the role we have been playing from the beginning….that of being a mom. Now, I realize this does not sound very progressive and may not be as exciting to talk about as women who have made incredible scientific discoveries or who used art to change the world. But….hear me out for a moment as I share my thoughts on why I think it is okay to be “just a mom”.
In conversations with other women in your life, have you ever asked them what kind of work they do and the answer was, “Oh nothing, I’m just a mom.”? I have even said this myself…on more than one occasion. It wasn’t until one day, when I was speaking with an acquaintance – a strong, successful business woman – that I was caused to take pause and think about what those words meant. She stopped me mid-sentence and said, “Now, stop right there! I never want to hear you say that again!” I didn’t even know what she was talking about at first. I had said those words so many times that I couldn’t figure out what I could have said that was wrong. She continued, “I never want to hear you say that you are ‘just a mom’…..being a mom is one of the most important jobs a woman could ever have.” I was taken off guard. Of course, I have heard that from people before, but it always seemed as though they were just saying that to make me feel better about not being in a real career at the time. This time, however, it was the way she said it…. I could tell she meant it. She really, truly meant it. That night, I went to bed with a happy heart. I felt, for possibly the first time since becoming a mom, like what I was doing really is important and that the choice I made to leave my career as a teacher and raise my son instead was the right choice. I was feeling pretty good.
Then, all of the sudden, my happiness shifted to terror. It hit me. If she was right….and being a mom is the most important job a woman could ever have….then, that meant I better not mess it up! When you realize that you —YOU– are responsible for raising a whole, fully functioning human being and what that really entails….that’s HUGE! You, essentially, have the future of the world in your hands….whoa. So, us “moms” have a lot on our plate and it is time the world stopped paying lip service to us and truly began to appreciate, honor, and support the women who are raising the next generation. That goes for women who have taken the role of “mom” for someone who didn’t have a mom who was up to or was able to take on such a responsibility.
Furthermore, moms are not “just moms” even if they’re only official title is that. We are counselors, boo-boo kissers, coaches, cheerleaders, chefs, master organizers, business advisors, advocates, financial planners, hairdressers, peacekeepers, architects, physiologists, mind-shapers, superheroes, and yes…at times…wardens. The word mom, then, means a million important jobs all wrapped into that one word (ok, maybe not a million- but, you get it, right?).
So..this month – National Women’s History Month – as we continue to review and reflect on how much progress has been made in terms of the status of women and our accessibility to opportunities that at one time were only available to men, let us also reflect on motherhood and what it has meant not only to U.S and world history, but also to our own personal history.
“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”
― N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
This post was written by the curator/organizer of Day4Women, Monica Dockery (on Twitter @MoniDockery)