This “funny” cartoon recently appeared in my newsfeed on facebook.
To say the very least, it didn’t evoke even the slightest chuckle from me. In fact, my reaction was quite the opposite. I was annoyed, angered, and really exasperated.
In the brief time I’ve been a mom, I’ve worked full-time, stayed home full-time, worked part-time, and never felt more conflicted or judged by other women. I’ve tried every combination I can think of to find the “perfect” fit for our family, and most days I just pray to God that what I’m doing right now is the best thing for us today.
Here’s what lies beneath the surface of this funny little cartoon:
In this culture, women aren’t taught how to support women. We are raised with direct and indirect messages about how to care of men and children, but not each other. Lately, there’s been some superficial push for women to take care of themselves (“Go on! Get your nails done every once in a while!”), but we really don’t talk openly about how important it is to support each other.
Today, this appeared in my newsfeed:
My point exactly. We can’t win!
I don’t think the “they” she refers to is exclusively men that are “keeping us down”.
We do it to ourselves.
A little history lesson for ya (free of charge, today!)
The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the US Constitution that provided for equal rights for women. The ERA was originally written by Alice Paul and, in 1923, it was introduced in the Congress for the first time. In 1972, it passed both houses of Congress and went to the state legislatures for ratification. The ERA failed to receive the requisite number of ratifications before the final deadline mandated by Congress of June 30, 1982 expired, and so it was not adopted, largely because Phyllis Schlafly.
Just to be clear, Phyllis Schlafly is a WOMAN. She fought tirelessly to convince people that women didn’t need equal rights. (Now, she had plenty of men in her corner, but the movement was led by a woman.)
At times, it burdens my heart when I realize that we are our own worst enemies.
We chip away at each other with funny posts on facebook, backhanded comments, and judgemental under-the-breath comments, “It’s easy for her. She doesn’t know how hard it is for us.”
I believe that every mother make every single decision based on these basic, instinctive criteria:
What is best for my child in this moment in this place?
What is best for my family in this moment in the this place?
What is best?
What is best?
What is best?
Some women conclude that working outside of the home is best. I believe with my whole heart they choose that out of deep and unconditional love for the little pieces of their heart that walk this Earth in tiny sneakers and Pampers Cruisers.
Some women find balance between working part-time and being home. I believe with my whole heart they choose that out of deep and unconditional love for the little pieces of their heart that walk this Earth with runny noses and handfuls of dandelions.
Some women choose to work full-time at home. I believe with my whole heart they choose that out of deep and unconditional love for the little pieces of their heart that walk this Earth asking “why?” a thousand times a day and feeding their vegetables to the dog.
So, to my darling mommy friends who are starting this journey. As you look at the tiny heartbeat on the ultrasound screen, know that I support you and believe that you can do this.
To my mommy friends who are in the beginning days with me. The days are long. The nights are longer, but you can do it. No matter what you choose, it will undoubtedly come from a place of love for your precious child. You are doing the right thing. I support you.
To my mommy friends who have big, grown, stinky teenagers. You’ve done a good job. They will become human again one day very soon and will make you so proud. Just keep loving them in their most unloveable moments. I support you.
To my mommy friends who have raised their children. I admire you. Look at the wonderful people you supported to live a life that only they could and know that you inspire the rest of us along the way. Go take some time for you (more than a damn manicure!) I support you.
To my darling, sweet mommy friends who bear the heartache none of us can ever comprehend. I love you. I pray for you every day and I hope that in moments of inexplicable peace, you will know that your little angel is wrapping his arms around you and showering you with the grace of the Divine. Know that when I look at you, I still see his mommy. I support you…I support you…I support you.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms that are just doing your best.
I support you.