I’m a relatively new mama. Ten months in, and I’ve learned a lot about caring for a small human and even more about caring for myself. I had my son at the very pivotal age of 21 when you supposedly have your life together but in reality, can’t find a matching pair of socks (don’t worry, I totally believe that your dryer ate them all too). Graduating from a male-dominated business school environment, I was no stranger to the expectation that as a woman, I had to give 110% in order to receive the same recognition as my male counterparts. But I was not expecting to come face-to-face with this misogyny as I stepped into the role of mama.
You know when you buy a new car and all of a sudden you feel like everyone else has the same car?! Well, they don’t. You’re just hyperly (is that a word?) aware of those around you who do. The same happened to me, but instead of cars, it was the commentary on mothers: the role of mothers, expectations of mothers, (stupid) gender roles, and what supposedly being a “good” mother is. It quickly became clear to me that having a child provided yet another avenue for society to set unfair expectations and place ridiculous judgments on women as a whole.
The misogyny that I experienced in the business world forced its way into my mommyhood. Mothers are shamed for having full-time jobs and supposedly neglecting their children, other mothers were being shamed for staying at home full-time because they’re totally just watching Netflix all day, right? Then there's everything else in between. From talk shows to comedy sketches, and even online mommy forums discussing “the right thing mothers should do." I am constantly internalizing these judgements and end up feeling like I'm not enough. I bounce back and forth between wanting to aggressively pursue my career and also wanting to be the most hands-on and attentive mother. I passionately believe, and have seen, that women can do both (very well, if I may add) and everything in between, despite people constantly telling me otherwise.
Mothers (and women in general) can achieve anything and everything. I think we proved that the second we basically defied the laws of physics and pushed a small human out of us only to bounce back up the next week and continue on with life. We do it all, and we don't have to prove it because we, in our glorious existence alone, are more than enough.
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