“I don't like you mom. You're terrible!”, my 10 year-old son blurted out when I told him to turn off the TV.
Well David, I thought wryly, given that I was trying to write about how wonderful mothering is, sometimes I don't like being a mom. Because not only is it hard, our society says it values mothering, but it really doesn't.
In fact, some of you may remember when I said women in the U.S. are pampered and affirmed…. Well, stay-at-home moms, aren't even affirmed. Not really. No wonder they struggle to get to the daring and dreaming.
Let me give you an example.
My friend Jane Clayson Johnson shares in her book I Am a Mother that when she set aside a high-powered career in television journalism to focus on her children, she wasn't particularly surprised when colleagues asked her “Are you going to be just a mom?”
But Jane was surprised when women who had successfully reared four, five, even eight children, would introduce themselves by saying “I'm just a mother.” It was the self-deprecation, in particular, that impelled Jane to put pen to paper. She wanted to affirm mothers, to encourage herself and each of us to declare “I am a Mother”.
I'd like to to add my voice to hers — mothering does matter. Mothering in the broadest sense — nurturing, encouraging, wiping away a tear; being a hero of support, a safe harbor. And it matters, not just because our children and society need our encouragement, but because — as women — nurturing and connectedness are part of who we are.
Now, you may be wondering — is David still mad at me?
He's not. Before he went to bed, he said, “Mom, sometimes you are kind of hard on me, but I do love you.”
Well David — sometimes being a mother is kind of hard — but I always love being your mother!