Response to “I am not a mother first”

http://www.thenation.com/blog/170373/im-not-mother-first#

 “If we want equality, women with children would be better served calling themselves people first, moms second.”

equal does not mean the same. You are assuming on behalf of all women that they want to be treated the same as men, many women do not. They do not mind doors being opened for them, or men picking up the tab, or being seen as mothers.

A mother’s role is not valued in the society we live in. It is seen as less. Posts like this do not do anything to try and combat that but instead support that stance.

 
If we want a mother’s role to be valued we should be able to stand up, as a feminist, or as a lawyer, or as a cleaner and say I am a mother, that is the most valuable role I play.
 
“Do we really want to go back to a time where women’s most important political contributions are caring for the children who will go on to make the real decisions, have the real power?”
 
If we ourselves as women are saying motherhood is not valuable, that to identify as a mother relegates us to the position where we raise the ones who make the decisions,instead of being in power ourselves, then how can we expect society to value it?
 
and since when is the value of a person equal to the power and decision making capability that they hold anyway?
 
“there’s a danger in returning to an ideal where women’s most important identity is relational rather than individual.”
 
Actually, no. The danger is in promoting our cultural delusion that ANYONE’S most important identity is individual rather than relational. Our “rugged individualism” is destroying us. How much do you respect your child care providers, Ms. Valenti? Do you value their work as much as you value your own? Is their work as important and fulfilling as yours? Or are these women expendable, interchangeable, and just plain not smart enough to do something as important as what you do?  Now nobody’s at home with the kids except for underpaid, undereducated and completely devalued female workers. Individualism sucks.
 
“How can any American mother truly believe that her work is valued when every policy, every mocking magazine cover, every pat-on-the-head Mother’s Day sentiment tells them different?”
 
I do not look at the cover of magazines and mothers day messages for validation. No women should. Their esteem and confidence should come from inside themselves, not from others.
 
But still, identifying as a mom first in a culture that pays lip service to parenthood without actually supporting it has consequences.
 
So do we change who we are and how we choose to identify ourselves, or do we attempt to change the cultures perceptions of motherhood? because it seems you are suggesting we change the way we identify ourselves, and not mention things that are central to our identity, due to cultural pressures.
 
“Fathers are never expected to subsume their identity into parenthood the way that mothers are.”
 
The traditional role of the father is to support his family, that to me is subsuming their identity in to being a parent, and many people still expect a man to provide for and protect his family. The reason they traditionally go to work is not for their own gain or ambitions. 
 
However just as it is now recognised that to be a good mother a woman needs to be a whole, complete individual, so it is recognised a man needs the same.
 
 
 
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Posted on 12/11/2012, in Women in Islam and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’ve never liked the phrase “She’s just a mother”. My mother didn’t work, so she was “only a mother”. And that entailed being a cook, a cleaner, an accountant, a goods transporter (going shopping for food and other goods), a schedule co-ordinator, a first-aid medic (often used, in my case), a teacher, and more, all while putting her husband’s and children’s needs before hers.
    I had a friend growing up whose parents were VERY well off. They had a large house, hired servants, and his mom had no career either. He once pulled me aside, and asked if we could go to my house more often, because “your mom actually MAKES food”!
    She was my mother – and I will NOT accept that phrase “just a mother”. I have no problem with women working – if they can juggle the ix of work and family, that’s fine, but don’t denigrate those who choose sole focus on their families.

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