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From the first chapter of the first advice book for expectant moms I ever picked up, when I was about two weeks pregnant with my first child, I noticed there were times that motherhood felt more like a clique than a club. It seems like everyone, from authors to well-meaning women I knew to online parenting blogs and forums, had an opinion — spoken as gospel truth — to share.
“You know those prenatal tests expose just your baby to needless radiation.” Are you my doctor? A doctor? Medical professional of any kind? No? Okay, then, thanks for the tip. One more thing to worry about.
“Letting your baby cry is cruel! How could you?” There are moments when I’m going just going to have an unhappy baby. Aren’t I? Does it always have to mean personal failure on my part?
“I have really high standards for who I’ll permit to care for my child when I’m not home, like any good mother would.” Interview, reference check… and what else would a “good mother” require? Blood test? Demand collateral?
“Oh, what a little tubbo!” No artistic license there; that’s a direct quote. I kid you not. I nearly choked.
Almost nine years on, you’d think I’d have the hang of motherhood but still, an off-hand comment or judgmental remark stings. A lot.
If I could reframe motherhood, I’d like to see a little more “we’re all in this together” instead of “If you were doing it right, you’d do it my way” and I’m hopeful that the Museum of Motherhood will showcase the diverse experiences of moms in a supportive, empowering environment, illuminating how many different kinds of mothering can raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children.
Logistical Coordinator for Mamapalooza. Amy lives in the Albany, NY area with her husband and children and works hard to cultivate opportunities for women through her work with Mamazina Magazine and Mamapalooza Inc.
* An interesting sidebar: Authoritarian Parenting website & it’s history here