I’m embarrassed to admit this, but when I first became a mom, I didn’t want to join any “mommy groups” because I saw them as “beneath me.” I didn’t want to get stuck talking about my child’s diet, the color of his poo, car seats, diapers and strollers.
(This is what I thought all of the conversations were about.)
I thought my time was better spent being with my son, figuring out how to be a mom on my own + with my husband, and running my business.
In short, I put career above mommy-ing.
Don’t get me wrong. I embraced Motherhood to a certain degree. But I always felt like I had to work hard not to get sucked into what I would call “the mommy trap.”
To me, this equated to countless hours spent on debating the pros and cons of how to mother one’s child and the best products to accompany the mothering.
I had more important work to do! (Or so I thought.)
It took me several years to figure out that what I was doing was devaluing motherhood. I was under-valuing myself and my sister mothers.
The irony did not escape me. Here I was an ambassador for the Divine Feminine, and an advocate for creating respect, dignity and equality for women — but on the other side of this, I was de-valuing one of the most sacred acts of the feminine — giving birth and nurturing a life. Yikes!
That’s when it hit me how deeply I had absorbed patriarchy’s message: That mothering is not “worth” much. That mothering is less valuable than paid work. That mothers should be in the background. And that if you’re a mother, you’ll be taken less seriously in the professional world.
I bought it hook, line and sinker.
While I’m embarrassed to share all of this, I’m happy to say that after this wake up call, I started to see mothering differently.
I realized the value in my mothering, and that to honor myself and other mothers was a huge cultural act of courage — and a major disruption to misogyny and the patriarchal status quo.
Sounds kind of silly and simple. But it was profound for me.
There are so many of us mothers who are mission-driven women — in business, the arts, entertainment, politics, education, health & wellness, non-profit leadership, technology, and more — all working in our own way to create a more just and equitable world.
We are nurturing our families, while we are nurturing our missions.
But many times we struggle because we’ve been told our mothering is not valuable, or it is a “side-job” to our main career. And therefore, we undervalue ourselves.
Recently, a friend pointed out to me: “You are bringing forth a new paradigm of the young man. One who respects and honors the feminine, and who has a true love and appreciation for Mother.”
“This is no small contribution to the Earth at this time,” she said.
Lately, as I mother my 8 year-old son, I’ve been thinking about … What if we didn’t separate our mothering from our careers and mission work? What if we didn’t put one above (or below) the other? What if we saw them as intertwined — necessary and supportive of one another?
The Wall of Moms in Portland, standing arm-in-arm, putting themselves between federal officers and the many young Black Lives Matter protesters is showing us just that.
THIS IS BIG WORK, and in the words of my friend: This is no small contribution to the Earth at this time.
Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed. is a women’s leadership coach, strategist, writer and consultant. Her life’s work is devoted to elevating women’s voices. On July 29th, 2020, she is hosting a free gathering for mothers who are nurturing a family, while nurturing their career/projects/activism. To learn more, visit Honor the Mother.