My Mothering is Fine; Your opinion of it is Not !

” Motherhood is a great honor and privilege, yet it is also synonymous with servant-hood. Every day women are called upon to selflessly meet the needs of their families. Whether they are awoken at night nursing a baby, spending their time and money on less-than-grateful teenagers, or preparing meals, moms continuously put others before themselves.”        

                                                                           Charles Stanley

” You know you can’t call yourself a mother as those people who made immense sacrifices” she said to me. I was baffled. It wasn’t something I was expecting.

” Which ones?”  I asked

” The ones that had to carry fuel wood long distance and sell it to raise their kids, the ones that had no life for themselves but their children”

That happened one fine afternoon, last May, which also happened to be Mother’s Day. I was at home watching TV. It was a Mother’s Day special program. I had my friend, and a close relative from my husband’s side with me. The program was the usual one where mothering is angled and valued based on the level of sacrifices. There was nothing amiss about the program otherwise. But while we were watching, having coffee, my relative thought it was important to make the above point. A point on the condition of my mothering- the way she sees it.

motherhood photoAt first, I wondered why there is a need to compare between us as women, as mothers, as if the success of one has depended on the other being less successful. Then it got me thinking ” would there be any way doing it right? Acceptable? Could we be ” enough” as mothers?

Does motherhood have to involve sacrifice to be called a noble one? Can I sacrifice less and be called a good one? And above all, aren’t we all sacrificing?

That woman, a mother herself, has less resources have plenty of time in her hands to take care of her son which I see as a privilege. She thought of me as less of a woman because I have a better income thus an easier life. As I sometimes think things are much difficult for working mothers. With a culture that views motherhood as synonymous with sacrifice, it seems a woman had to drop her dream of having a lucrative career once she has children. It seems that it is only natural or acceptable that a woman needs to lose herself, let alone her job, in the lives of her kids. No one asks that of a man, or a father though.

Ironically, a lot is expected from a woman at work places especially if she happens to be in highly competitive career fields. She must work twice as hard as a man to be taken seriously and most importantly to be considered for promotion.

One instance what happened at my office may prove this point. There were two of us mothers, among a team of eight people participating in field work. This field work entailed traveling for a two- week long stay at a remote location. The two of us women had inspected the field plan and found out that only some part of the program required our presence. Therefore, we proposed to be there for a week -only. The first thing that was brought against us, in trying to nullify our proposal was the fact that we are mothers thus our commitment to our work is compromised. One person cited that as the reason why women should leave work once they became a mother as well.

As it has been noted everywhere, becoming a mother changes a woman’s live in many ways. It changes us physically, psychologically, financially, emotionally etc. The intriguing part of it all, no amount of advice shall prepare you for the actual experience that is overwhelming.

I was visiting my friend who gave birth recently. I asked how she was coping and she said it was hard. She says she was wondering how come that I didn’t complain, even didn’t mention at all that it was hard. I told her it had dawned on me that her life was going to be turned upside down the day before she gave birth to her baby girl. I haven’t used those words though. Then after few weeks, it was her turn to pose a question. How come you have managed to do it? I haven’t seen you complaining. How come you and other friends fail to mention this?

Regular MomYet we were told that we were supposed to have it easier because we work and have some income. Working is the one thing that complicates the mothering more.

One valuable thing everybody can do to make it easier for women though, let us be! Stop giving unsolicited advices on how we raise our kids, how we should behave as mothers, how we should live our lives. Stop! Let us be the kind of mothers we wanted to be, the kind of mothers we are!

” As it stands, motherhood is a sort of wilderness through which each woman hacks her way, part martyr, part pioneer; a turn of events from which some women derive feelings of heroism, while others experience a sense of exile from the world they knew.”        

                                Rachel Cusk


  1. Ugh, I just had a huge fight with my husband about work/motherhood. He believed that I should tell my boss that I can’t come into work on Saturdays anymore because of my nanny issues… but he has nothing to do in the mornings so he could watch him for half a day… but nope…
    men will be men… or is it boys?

    1. Or is that what we allow them to continue being by letting them get away with the “men will be men” argument? How can we gently remind them that actually they have 50% of the responsibility too?

      1. hopefully the sons we raise would understand and do 50% but I would take a little 30% as an achievement (well, for my household I mean)

    2. Yea, I feel you! being expected to be “more Parent” is common for a woman, we are the designated care takers in case paid care is not there. The struggle is real but I believe we need to assert that parenting needs to be a shared responsibility and slowly push for increased involvement.

  2. i was hoping your article would include the husband part more …but it seems like it came out in the comment section 🙂 Message well noted.

  3. I love it Bettisha thank you for saying it out for us who are experiencing it!!! societal expectation if you are a mother that is evaluated as well said by the level of your scarification ” scarification” I believe we the working mothers are doing all our best by working full time trying to cope with all the challenges by balancing our career and the parenting expectation. I hope things will be changed and this sentiment will be a story…..but when …..

  4. If there is a metrics accurately grade how noble, good, average or bad a mother is, it would be her own conscious! Of course, I can definitely say with a 100% certainty that I have a noble mother about my own ( which I have, I am so lucky).
    A mother shouldn’t have to sacrifice to score a higher grade in motherhood. If we only give nobility for those who suffer to raise their children we might neglect the privileged, they produce an amazing mothers too. (I certainly understand sacrifice is not only material) To be clear my mother is not one of the privileged.

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