By Cheryl Saban, Intent
Were you raised with visions of Betty Crocker, the iconic perfect woman? The 1950s notion of what girls and women should and shouldn’t do was easily embedded. School curriculum paid almost no attention to the contributions and accomplishments of women, who for the most part were missing from our textbooks … unless, of course, they were helping famous men.
Even today, marriage and motherhood provide the subtext within which girls are encouraged to organize their place in life. The basic conceptualization of mothering is a theme that reaches across cultures; it is a common language women everywhere can speak.
That’s not to say, however, that all of us are fluent in it. Contrary to well-worn stereotypes, our domestic roles aren’t necessarily ordained by human nature, biology, or men’s and women’s psychology; they’re the result of overlapping factors including historical circumstances, race, religion, time period, and social practices. And it’s not a foregone conclusion that all women will become (or even desire to become) mothers, nor does it assure that once we become mothers, we’ll be able to do the job well.
With that said, motherhood continues to be a defining role that many of us crave. Are you a mother? If so, you’re among friends. There are an estimated 82 million moms in the U.S. alone. If you think that your relevance as a woman is wrapped around your ability as a mother–if it gives you a sense of self-worth, value and validation–accept major kudos. Women know that it’s not enough to create a satisfying life just for ourselves. We have always been concerned with the greater good of our children, families, communities, and the world.
Take responsibility for the value you add to your kids’ lives, for, as they say, children are our future. Always keep in mind that your strength, ability and input as a mother/teacher/nurturer to your offspring are valid and necessary components in the way the future of society unfolds.
But many women also know that when they devote every asset of themselves to others–be it to a partner, parent, friend or child–they can get lost along the way. You can avoid this fate by developing yourself in parallel to your little ones. Your ability and desire to start new activities and to grow as an individual will help you keep your unwieldy emotions in check when your kids individuate away from you. Continue to grow and redefine who you are.
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