Do mothers have an obligation to society? What is that obligation? Is it to solely be a mother and nothing else?
On the other hand, what about the obligations of a society? Does society have a responsibility to uphold in regards to enabling its mothers to be successful? Are there not two sides to this relationship?
Think about all the expectations and pressures that fall on a mother: to be a wife, a financial contributor, a manager of the household, and an unselfish nurturer in every sense of the word. Mothers are expected to be all of these things and we also tell them to find time to be a person of their own. How is a mother to balance her obligations along with her ambitions and needs?
Society tells us that mothers need to care for their children and spouses, that they need to be in the work force, that they need to be breaking through, continuing the path that all those feminists paved before them. Yet despite all this hard work, the average woman still earns just 77 cents on the dollar, when compared to her male counterpart. If we go one step further and factor in the cost of childcare on top of the artificially low salary, the scales are skewed even further. Why would a mother choose to work with odds like this stacked against her? This alone seems to be enough to put a damper on a mother's dreams.
How do mothers navigate this delicate balancing act with such a weight on their shoulders? I never truthfully understood the inherent dilemma of motherhood until I myself became a mom. Some days have left me wondering, should a mother, a good mother, follow her own ambitions, or is this selfish on her part, like society often makes it seem?
I realize most woman choose to have children. I consciously made a choice, and will make that choice again when the time is right. Just think though, of all the people you know. Their mothers chose to mother them, and to do so they probably had to put some of their aspirations on hold. Mothers do so much for society when they raise a child well, yet are judged harshly when they make mistakes. But what happens when a society fails to provide for its mothers?
Here's my fear and dilemma. I don't want my daughter saying I wasn't around when she was growing up because all I did was work. But I also can't be a one-dimensional "cookie cutter" of a mom. I want her to see me for the diverse and wonderful woman that I am. When she grows up I want her to aspire to be like me, a person who had passions and followed her dreams, but also was able to balance it alongside the irreplaceable beauty of being a mother.
Many of the questions I have posed in this post may not necessarily have a specific answer. I simply ask them with the intention and hope that they will inspire thought and reflection in my readers. Where does responsibility lie regarding the relationship between mothers and society?
Please follow this link and go see a preview of "Who Does She Think She Is?" by Pamela Tanner Boll. This documentary changed my life. And when you're finished, please come back here and join the conversation...