Today launches the MamaBlogger365 initiative, where we unite voices from all walks of life in the mamasphere. The purpose behind this yearlong program is to raise awareness and funds for a real physical home, to house our (M)other stories, history and art in perpetuity. The Museum Of Motherhood is a longtime dream for many of us.
Everyday it’s the love of women, specifically women who are mothers, that motivates and informs Mamapalooza and the Museum Of Motherhood’s perspectives. America’s hardest working, unpaid, underappreciated majority of the female population, are often taken for granted or even worse, the subject of feelings of familial and social ambivalence – This goes for all caregivers. Of the ten ‘most high-stress jobs’ in which workers are most likely to report an episode of major depression in a given year, Health.com lists “home and child care givers, social workers, health care workers, artists, entertainers, writers and teachers”.
For someone who’s spent the last thirteen years focusing on the issues mothers face, creatively, work-wise and in the home, I have to admit, as excited as I am about the rise of women-owned businesses, I’m all too often disappointed by the focus of much of this mom-mentum. Every once in awhile, I’m surprised by a mighty core of brave women who are rewriting the rules of motherhood to include expansive and inspiring perspectives, but often the explosion of mom businesses invests in perpetuating the status quo with a Walmart mentality. Perhaps it’s the call of every academic, artist or ‘thinker’ to suggest that we examine our roles carefully before buying into them but I wish more Moms were committed to the thought process of exactly what their role involves.
I’m not sure if it’s the co-opting of the term ‘mom’ and ‘mommy’ that has marketers determining our core values as ad after ad pitches ‘mom approved’ or if it’s our unconscious agreement to buy into the mushy Hallmark made for TV mom that continues to perpetuate an out of focus image that doesn’t encourage or allow for each woman’s individuality and personality. It’s that, or the ‘real’ Housewives from hell coming at you from around the nation.
Interviewing adults about their relationships to their mothers is often complicated. Many of us hold core issues about our childhood, and struggle with less than perfect home-lives we all somehow felt we were entitled to receive. Juxtaposing motherhood ideals with the reality of the women inside the role of mother, makes for very confusing fare. From the days when Betty Crocker ruled – reminder, Betty Crocker never existed. She was an invention to sell more ingredients (and keep mom cooking), through the present, the conversation, or lack of it, continues.
Part of re-defining what modern motherhood is, involves not losing sanity or self. Modern mothers need to reframe the “job” to incorporate individual aspects of identity that are authentically dynamic, empowered, creative and whole, while cultivating an expansive collective voice that allows for these attitudes to exist in a healthy context. The problem is, no matter what women did before their children were born, there is a biological and social agenda to negate self, rather than blend realistic impulses for authenticity with the job at hand, while giving credit when credit is due. So much gets lost on the next generation if people don’t honor their commitments to themselves while contemplating their choices. It’s too easy to turn ‘Mom’ into a blank slate. This is what happens when you ask a woman what she does for a living and her response is ‘I’m just a mom’.
My proposal includes the introduction of the concept of Mama. M.AM.A is a Modern Ambassador for Maternal Advancement, and I suggest we all start using the term immediately.
The organization and mobilization of women in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have led to powerful changes in our world. As we change, we hopefully evolve to clearer, better and more purposeful existences where all women and all people have opportunities for full empowered lives, free of age, race, violence and socio-economic barriers. I’m simply raising the directive for all of us to evolve consciously.
Hopefully the Museum Of Motherhood will be a place that demonstrates our history and encourages our conscious evolution.