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Eyes on Mom

Mothers are assaulted with information. As a demographic, we are constantly inundated with articles, advice, criticism, literature, and assorted media that tells us everything from how to breastfeed to a bizarre genre of media turning the lens on itself and telling us how we are changed, oppressed, and affected by all the information that is out there.

I, for one, would like a break.

After stepping on an escaped popsicle that randomly ended up on the kitchen floor, and getting a second bedtime glass of water for my two year old (who I inadvertently woke up by committing the cardinal sin of hanging pictures after bedtime … let’s ignore the fact that I can’t do it when she’s awake because it scares her and I work every single hour that she has daycare …), I spotted an issue of Parenting Magazine laying on my counter. 

I wiped the goo off my foot and the floor, and checked out the cover to see if I’d left this particular issue out for a reason. The cover proclaimed to help me choose which vaccines to give my child, and which might kill her (no matter what the pediatrician says on the occasion that I can get them to see her). Also displayed with bright contradiction, were twenty-five tips for a better birthday party. This after reading a book about how mothers are forced into categories of “stay at home mom” or “working mother” by media, government, and popular culture. Not to mention that fact that NPR ran a story on single mothers (which I am) and how they are more likely to be poor, uneducated, and more likely to further the next generation of young, uneducated people who will destroy the world because of fiscal irresponsibility. 

Holy moly, that’s a lot to put on the heads of parents everywhere.

So, as a single mother, I am apparently poor (I’m not wealthy but really, I’ve managed just fine), I’m a working mother (who has no time for the perfect birthday party … I happen to think a moon bounce is over kill for a three-year-old …), I am a college student and scholar waiting to have my findings on Shakespeare published in an academic journal (so much for uneducated), and the government has failed me miserably. 

Why is all the focus on mothers? Why is the focus not on the horrific failure of the American government to take care of its people? If I had the good fortune to have my child (out of wedlock, insert gasp here) in say, Denmark, I would be just fine. Social programs take care of parents and their children. The individual mother isn’t supposed to be a brilliant economist, con artist, and tax attorney on top of changing diapers and kissing boo-boos. 

I have a message for every single mother out there—stop berating yourself, stop thinking that a “baby on board” sticker makes you a better mother, or that not being able to afford a car makes you a bad mother. Start questioning how it is some of us cannot make ends meet and cannot get help although we are desperately trying to crawl beyond the poverty line. Stand up for motherhood, for families, and for a better government, instead of a better birthday party.

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