Re-messaging What it Means to be a Mother.

In Western culture, and many others, mothers are often expected to drop everything for their husband and children. I think that this is a very unfair and toll-taking emotional responsibility to place on women, and it is in fact what deters many people from even having kids. Mothers often carry an emotional guilt as a result of the media messaging that conditions society to believe that mothers must take care of everyone else first, before taking care of themselves. This is a social problem of gender inequity because fathers are not held to the same standard, nor should they be. In order to be in the position to care for others, one must first take care of themselves.

American actress, singer-songwriter, businesswoman, daughter, wife, and mother of two, Jada Pinkett Smith, shares some invaluable insight with her daughter Willow on the importance of cultivating your own happiness. She makes a brilliant point about how when someone isn’t balanced in life, they look to others to make them happy which leads to chronic unhappiness. So true and I hope people carry this message forward to help reshape how mothers, women and all people live, treat each other, and treat themselves.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQK9Ufr4yrY[/youtube]

 

7 thoughts on “Re-messaging What it Means to be a Mother.

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post because it made me think that I would like to have balance if I get a chance to be a parent. I’ve always struggled with taking time for myself. I like how this makes me a little more self aware. I hope I can remember this years down the road. I also think this relates to the readings we read. Every article touched on balance. I’d like to think if I became a parent, I would be able to do everything I could before having kids and so much more.

  2. Ashley,
    I really enjoyed this post and I can relate to it a lot. I agree with Jada in that we should all take care of ourselves. We can’t let outside worries or tasks distract us from taking care of ourselves and making sure that we have everything we need, both mentally and physically. This reminds me of the concept I read about called “Momism,” which explains what it means to be a mom in today’s society. It’s hard. We have all these expectations that we are supposed to fulfill, and little of those expectations have anything to do with us. Women are always taught to give give give and never really focus on ourselves. My mom taught me the exact opposite. She always told me, even when I was a young girl, that I should give myself time in the morning to do my hair, makeup, or whatever it is I needed to do in order to make myself feel good. She would say that even when you have kids running around, you should always have “me time.” That was a very important lesson and I’ll never forget it. As women in today’s society, we really need to remember that we can’t fulfill all the expectations they set for mothers. All we can do is try our best and be the mom and support system that works for your family. I think we should all take my mom’s and Jada’s advice and make sure we take care of ourselves above all else.

  3. Ashley,
    I loved this post, and how you are really trying to bring attention to the expectations of the mother. I just posted a gender blog about Gendered media, from Chapter 11, and I really think this relates. On top of regulating the images of women we see, the media also is the gatekeeper for how a mother should look, act, perform. As if this is a show at the theater. Mothers feel the pressure to be the supermom, and the media is creating that intense pressure to be perfect when we all know that no one is perfect and raising a child, let a lone 5 or more, is no easy task that you can do at the wave of your magical mom wand, and have a 9-5 job with a home cooked meal on the table by 5:30. Its just not happening. The media has go to let down some, and mothers need to start taking care of themselves as well.

  4. Ashley, I really liked how you called the attention to a topic where people still need to understand that the fact of being a mother doesn’t necessarily mean always having to drop everything for their husband and children. It kind of takes me back to last week’s chapter 10, where the book discussed Gendered Stereotypes of Women in the Workplace. One of them was about how women are looked as mothers, even when they don’t even have kids! People expect women to take care of the “emotional labor” at work, and how they are also seen as less serious about their jobs when they have or plan to have kids.
    I know many women who like to stay at home and take care of their children because that is something that makes them happy. I also have many older friends who put their jobs in a high priority on occasions because their jobs is what lets them generate income to support their families as much as the husband does. I think that neither men or women can do EVERYTHING; therefore, they shouldn’t be expected to do so, not by themselves at least. If in a relationship, there should be equality and couples should be willing to make adjustments and sacrifices for their families.

  5. I’m really glad someone posted something like this! I don’t plan to be a stay at home mom for my children’s childhoods. I know this sounds terrible but now that I am older I lost some respect for my mom because she always said she wasn’t able to do something because my sister or I were born and she HAD TO stay home. As a kid i was slightly discouraged because I thought that when I had kids I had to do the same. I’m glad I was wrong. Im glad society is really progressing with the amount of working women that are still wonderful mothers. I don’t plan to neglect my children but I want to be able to show them that they can always achieve their dreams even when they have a family of their own. I don’t think I will mind having a ‘second shift’ if it means I will have a family. I think its a large part in growing up. Being able to see that your parents didn’t give up on their dreams because of you and that anything is possible. I think its more important for a child to have a loving mother and father who are still doing what they love in their careers. I think it sets a great example.

  6. I’m really glad someone posted something like this! I don’t plan to be a stay at home mom for my children’s childhoods. I know this sounds terrible but now that I am older I lost some respect for my mom because she always said she wasn’t able to do something because my sister or I were born and she HAD TO stay home. As a kid i was slightly discouraged because I thought that when I had kids I had to do the same. I’m glad I was wrong. Im glad society is really progressing with the amount of working women that are still wonderful mothers. I don’t plan to neglect my children but I want to be able to show them that they can always achieve their dreams even when they have a family of their own. I think its a large part in growing up. Being able to see that your parents didn’t give up on their dreams because of you and that anything is possible. I think its more important for a child to have a loving mother and father who are still doing what they love in their careers. I think it sets a great example.

  7. Ashley, I love this post. I think that this is such a relevant issue to what we have just covered in our gender course, because not only does it focus on the issues that women can encounter in motherhood, but also in intimate relationships. The book discusses a double-bind, which we as women constantly find ourselves in. A double-bind, to explain simply, is the idea of damned-if-you-do damned-if-you-don’t. In my recent blog post I talk about this in regards to being a working mother, but you draw attention to the double bind women face in marriages or intimate relationships overall.

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