Thursday, May 9, 2013

Don't Call Me Mommy--Unless I Birthed You

 A rant! A rant! Motherhood-tilted rant! Not Even A Well-Written One! Fair warning!

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I'm fresh off an interview (maybe the most fun interview I've ever done) with BYU Radio's The Morning Show with Marcus Smith where we got into some shipments of cans of worms about motherhood. In the middle of this discussion it occurred to me that I have some pretty strong emotions about the way we speak about and talk about motherhood.

And this is why: motherhood is not a separate act to me. It's not something I "do" outside of myself. Mothering is something that occurs inside of my act called humanity. It's not a specialized experience of its own. I am a woman who has children and I mother them the way I live. The way I raise my children comes from the way I see the world. It's not formulaic, it's not rote, it's not prescribed. It's me--it's just enveloped in my character. It's person-first parenting. It means motherhood isn't robotic, it's actually driven by someone with thoughts and ideas, passions and opinions.

So when we have this day, this holiday made in commercial heaven, set out to separate the mother from the woman I feel frustrated. My mothering isn't some alter ego--it's me. You celebrated me on my birthday. If we want to celebrate the duties I perform as mother, that's fine. But those duties are done because they are what I've chosen to do. And I've chosen to do them because that's me.

I just don't feel like I want to separate myself from one aspect of my life to another. Motherhood isn't a costume, a mask, a stage performance. It's not a role I play. It's not even a role at all. It's just me. And I resent the idea that mothering should all look the same (opinions, beliefs, tactics) because womanhood doesn't look the same--and we would never expect two women to live the same lives. But why do we do that about motherhood? Why do we chastise women who mother differently?

So when I am asked, "How do you feel about this (subject) as a mother?" Or "Can you write about this from a perspective of a mother?" I think--what does that mean? Would the answers to those questions be any different if I answered them as a human? Or as a woman? I don't see my lenses changing in and out.

Has motherhood changed me? Of course it has. But it impacts me differently than it does my friends or my sisters. So how do we draw the line between what is the mother and what is the woman? To me there is no distinction.

This isn't "a calling" this is my life. I would never say, "I am grateful to have the calling of motherhood," I would say, "I am grateful I have children to spend my life with, to teach and to learn from." I want to be brave and smart and good at it, just as I want to be kind and courageous and sincere as a human. I want to do good and be good because it's the right thing to do--not because I am a mother. If I weren't a mother would I want to be awful? Of course not.

My children don't have A Mother, they have me. Nerdy glasses, cheetah-print jacket, on a horse, me.

God bless them.

p.s you can catch my interview with Marcus today at noon (MST) here.
p.p.s. are you coming to this tonight? we gonna be reading:
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