Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The choices of today's mom

As a woman and as a mother of daughters I am always very interested in these times we are living in today. A coworker of mine once told me they are calling this the century of the woman, and it very well may be with women like Hilary Clinton and Marissa Mayers leading the way for women in leadership roles in politics and business. But some criticize this change in women's role in society. Some see our shift as damaging to our society. That our first and primary concern should be raising our children; that we should be in the home where generations of women before us have been. Some see the independence of today's woman as the main contributor to the increased divorce rate or crime rate or whatever ills in society they want to blame on the revolution of the modern day woman. For many of us we are only the second generation to have a choice in how we fill our role as a mother and as a woman of society today. But as great as these choices are they seem to have come with a price. A price of sacrifice, a price of criticism, a price of doubt. A price that is often unfair but only because the judgment of others makes it that way.

Gender roles and expectations are bred into us from an early age. A friend of mine recently wrote DC comics because of their gender role stereotypes with their superheros due to a lack of female costumes for her daughter's birthday party. My daughter recently told me she was not brave because she was not a boy. One reader told me another parent that was able to stay home with her children claimed she was a full time mom verse my reader who she hinted was not because she worked outside of the home. Another reader told me she felt compelled to load and overload her schedule because she did not work outside of the home but was at home raising three boys because it was insinuated that she must not be busy enough or had tons of spare time if she did not work outside the home like other women. As a teacher, I have faced accusations myself just because I choose to be unemployed and unpaid to be a stay at home mom for a few short months every summer as if that's a lazy choice to make, or some say I  would not be happy as a stay at home mom because I would get lonely, bored, and not feel like I was productive enough (have you met my children? or really any children for that matter) We have choices, ladies, choices that were never given to women not too many generations ago. And whatever choices we may make they are ours to own, not somebody else's. There is always the alternative to the choices we make, and only we can determine which ones will make us the happiest. Maybe others don't see it this way but to me almost all choices come with some kind of sacrifice. Some are small and some are totally worth it for the outcome in the end. Maybe at this point I'm just a little tired of the judgements I see. Through my readers I am often made more aware of those judgments because of their experiences. But we are strong and capable women, and we are taking on more than we ever have in the past. But to be allowed a choice to how we fill our role as mother is not a crime against society.

I have a political friend back home, the same one with the superhero daughter, who demonstrates every day in her role as a mother and state leader in politics for women that we are more than capable of walking in any shoes we choose to walk today. No matter what choices we make to how we fulfill this role as mother, it's a right that we didn't have before, it's a right we should be proud to have. But if we choose to put the career ambitions on hold or off to the side, it's a choice that takes sacrfice and deserves respect the same way as the woman that sacrifices time with her children to build  a career. I don't think it matters which choices we make-career, full time, part time, stay at home,-raising strong, independent, well loved children is any good woman's first goal (I can say that because I know all my readers are good women). But we are not weak or selfish or whatever other negative image that is projected onto us because of our choices as today's modern mom.

As a mother of daughters, I want them to see that in today's world they have an abundance of choices avaliable to them. They can pursue their greatest ambitions. They can be who they want to be and whatever choices they make they are their own. The same way each of ours are our own.

I often have this argument with my husband when it comes to the issue of money through the summer (and even though no we are not fighting about this at the very moment it did kind of spark my interest in the issue). We have a choice every year. Time or money. And every year I say pick one and accept it for what it is, no whining and complaining about it. If you don't like the one you pick then pick the other one. There's always a choice but we have to be willing to accept the sacrifice no matter how small. But just be glad we have a choice.

Another popular controversial post about today's mom's choices is Moms, get ready to be judged!


  1. I have a graduate degree and stay home with my kids. I get a lot of people believing that I haven't lived up to my potential as a smart women. It is almost always a woman, I think our gender treats each other worse than men do for the most part. I chose to stay home and that to me is the point of modern day feminism, we have the choice to make our own decisions (and mistakes). Great post!

  2. A mom will always be a mother, where ever she is at any point in time. A mom will always love her children, where ever she is at. And moms always worry if they are making the right choices for their children, because we love our kids and want the best for them. Can we all come together over that and support each other?