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Is there any form of mothering that society approves of?

A read around the press seems to suggest that society views stay-at-home mothers are bad creatures who should be back in the workplace creating GDP along with the rest of the worker bees but at the same time society is beating up working mothers for not being there for the developmentally important years and putting their careers before their babies

Bring in the other areas on the mothering scale of normality, be it part time work, employing childcare, caring about your appearance (or not) and being either a yummy or slummy mummy, breastfeeding or formula feeding and suddenly it appears that there isn’t actually any combination of the above that seems to fit in with what society wants its mothers to aspire to

Actually come to think of it, the only way that you are going to pass the mothering standards test is to work full time, probably in something ‘worthwhile’ and definitely not in the City, whilst simultaneously being at home full time but whilst not ostentatiously juggling too hard and caring a little bit but not too much about how you look…

Anyone else’s brain hurt yet?

How have we got to a place where mothers are vilified for just daring to exist?

Surely society needs to take a step backwards and go back to basics – without mothers the population is going to die out

Admittedly that is a little drastic but fundamentally if you make being a mother so blinking miserable that nobody wants to do it we are either going to need medical science to step up and work out how the male of species can carry and give birth to babies or we are going to have to change our attitude

Mothers aren’t the Great Big Bad Beasties that are responsible for all of the ills in society.  In fact aren’t mothers the back stop of society – the people who are there to kiss bumps better and to scare away monsters even in the middle of the night?  No matter how old you get there are times when nothing, but nothing can sort things except a hug from your mother

There may be one or two exceptions but show me a mother and I see someone who has, whether they wanted to or not, discovered hidden depths of selflessness, compassion and an ability to survive on far less sleep than they’d like.  I see someone who is trying their hardest and desperately hoping that they aren’t mucking up raising their children

None of these things are a threat to society, in fact most of them are good things that we should be applauding

Mothering is hard (heck parenting is hard but for some reason society has decided that mothers are the kicking boys and not fathers… which is not fair really) and instead of trying to make mothers feel bad or to blame them anything and everything that goes wrong perhaps we should just remind ourselves that they fundamentally do A Good Job

Perhaps instead of putting mothers down for the choices they have made, or perhaps they have not made and perhaps have been forced on them, we should give them a pat on the back and remind them that they are a good mother and that we know that we should say thank you more often?

The next time you see a harried looking mother wrestling with uncooperative children remind yourself that there but for luck we all go and look her in the eye, smile and say to her ‘you are a good mother, you are doing a good job, be kind to yourself and please remember that you are doing a good job’

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6 comments to Is there any form of mothering that society approves of?

  • Here, here! So well said. I’ve been thinking along similar lines of late, you just can’t seem to win in the eyes of wider society, whichever way you do it. My mind contorts when I think about what I will say to my three year old daughter about the life choices you need to make as a woman, especially if you want to be a mother – which she has assured me she does!! I’m a huge fan of men – what with being married to one and everything – but they do honestly seem to have it a whole lot easier than women when it comes to this parenting malarky.

    • Hannah Brewer

      Luci – that’s what I struggle with, do I tell our girls to keep on trying to do it all and know that they’ll get stretched thin and get grief on all fronts or do I accept that what I’m doing isn’t ever going to meet society’s standards

  • It does seem like we’re all doomed from whatever angle you look at it. And as hard as I try to ignore it and just do what we think is best for our family and our precise situation, it is hard to completely turn off your awareness of ‘societal norms’ when trying to decide what is best, or as the media might have it, “least worst”. It just makes difficult decision making even harder.

    • Hannah Brewer

      Carie that is exactly it, everyone seems to be pushing a least worst option and that option won’t necessarily be right for us or our families – just feel utterly doomed

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