We talk about it all the time…. mothering. But, what are we talking about????  I don’t even know…. let’s see if we can figure it out, together.

What is a mother? ( A position, a calling, a vocation, a name, a choice, a responsibility, a biological function?……you tell me.)

What is mothering? ( an action, an attitude, a lifestyle, a hassle?)

Is there a right way to mother? Is there a wrong way? How can we tell the difference? (Don’t bother telling me HOW to mother… we all have the same answer- the right way is MY way, of course. :P)

What does family mean? (A biological unit, a creation of the heart, a hot mess? something to be avoided except for holidays?)

What is a family? (A team, a garden where humans are born, (much like pod people) an organism….)

Is family something you DO…. or ARE? Ohhhh theory. I love to talk theory.

How do you mother? With a tight ship? With loose reigns? Without a clue? With a lot of prayer. With tequila shots? (Not recommended. just sayin.)

Why do you mother? (Why are you a mother?) Because this one time in a backseat…..because your birth control failed. Because you want to make a difference in the world? Because children are a blessing? Because you have to?

With whom do you mother? Alone? With a Spouse? With a faith community? With a fairy godmother? With pets? With friends?

How has mothering changed you? For the better? For the Worse? Spiritually? Physically? (If you answer this with- “Not at all” I will try not to hate you but it will be hard, Christian or not.) Emotionally?

How has your mothering changed? Over time…. are you more or less controlling? More or less forgiving, more or less passionate, compassionate? Other?

Lots to think about….. I’d love to hear your thoughts……

If you’re new here…. you need to know- I hate politics. I’m not talking about political definitions….. I’m talking about how we live. You and I. Same or different. I’ve  worked with MOPS International for 20+ years….. I love moms of all kinds. This is a safe place. ;)

So….let’s talk about what we talk about when we talk about: Mothering.

(Hmmm there’s a book that might be fun to write.)

If you have other things to add to the list…. tell me!

Apparently, Hilary Rosen said something and the world of politics and mothering once again collided and exploded. I think. At least- my inbox makes it look like it did. I even got an email from the GOP telling me to buy a coffee mug and show support for SAHM’s. (Which I may have bought if it weren’t ugly and were a fundraiser to actually support mothers instead of a political party. Be cause I pretty much hate politics, but love moms. I’d rather buy something from HERE– which really does support all kinds of moms…Side note? I want to make a t-shirt to wear all 2012 that says: love PEOPLE not POLITICS- but I digress.)

I don’t know Hilary Rosen, and I don’t trust the media to get any quote in context or correct. However, it looks like Hilary said something like….”She’s never worked a day in her life.” in regards to Ann Romney. Because she’s been a SAHM. Granted, Hilary’s point was that because Ann Romney is a SAHM- she has no clue what “real moms” experience. She’s out of touch. Rich. It was about understanding…or something.

“Ouch.”

That’s both an “ouch” of personal offense-and an “ouch” of my political/PR sensibilities.  (Doesn’t someone coach these people?) #waytoalienateawholepeoplegroup

I gotta be honest… the whole topic infuriates me.

I thought about my options:

  • I could write a long post to explain the economic impact and value of SAHM’s. But, that would  be defending my choice- which is a little too close to justifying -which always looks suspiciously insecure to me.
  • I could write a heart wrenching post expounding the struggles unending hours and lack of pay that is involved in being a SAHM. But that just seems like playing for sympathy and I don’t “do” martyrdom.
  • I could write a post that extrapolates the altruism and honor of raising children and the salvaging of the dying art of making home and it’s impact on culture….But that would be playing on emotions at best- guilt tripping and manipulative at it’s worst..

They would also be an adventure in missing the point, in addition to the problem.

What infuriates me isn’t the opinion that SAHM’s don’t work…..it’s that we’re still- missing the point.

The problem isn’t a lack of understanding- that  would be easy. It could be cleared up with explanations or experiences. If it were- a lack of understanding…the “Mommy Wars” would have ended before the first round was fired. Women are all about explaining ourselves, our motives and our emotions. The information is there….online, in books, magazines and discussed IRL over coffee (or booze) and chocolate (or cheesecake)…SAHMS telling how hard being at home is- and WOTHM’s (Work outside the him moms) commiserate about the struggles of working outside the home. If it were that simple we’d have an epic dessert party/ gripe session, hug cry and get about the real business of being together.. to complain about men. (STEREOTYPE/ SARCASM WARNING.)

Nope- I think it’s a bigger problem. It’s a lack of respect.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Which means it’s about Aretha- not Hilary. (See? I told you. My titles only appear to be random- in the way that “objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear” kind of.)

Why respect? because I’ve spent 23+ years as a mothering insider… and I’ve heard and watched countless women throw around words (and ideas) like these:

“She’s lucky.” ( unfairly blessed or spoiled)

“She’s selfish.” (focused on her own ambitions or materialistic)

Words that split the community of mother’s, and in so doing, halve the support that is the life-blood of mothering.

Words that are also sometimes: true. (Come on girls- let’s face it…some of us are lazy, spoiled princesses and some are selfish- corporate ladder climbing witches… we must be- cause I see it on TV all the time.)

Also- words that are mostly:  false. At least- I think they are, because most of the SAHM’s I’ve met, sacrifice in order to be home and fulfill their calling. And, most of the working moms I’ve met sacrifice to make ends meet and fulfill their calling….weird how that works…

I wonder what would happen if we stopped all the mommy-mudslinging- and started respecting each other?

I also wonder if maybe the mudslinging is really a male- oppressive society’s conspiracy to keep us mud-wrestling and out of their hair… (or hairless-ness as the case may be.)

Maybe we’d be better, if we mothered together….It’s worth a shot.

I choose Aretha.

I choose RESPECT.

Respect for a working mom’s sacrifices made to make ends meet and or fulfill her unique calling and passion in life.

Respect for a SAHM’s made sacrifices to stay home, make ends meet and fulfill her unique calling and passion in life.

Working moms fulfill their mission by leaving the home to work- SAHM’s fulfill theirs by staying home. Same mission- different methods.

Now- let’s get back to coffee chocolate and man bashing, please?…..(Except not.)

A movement in the rear view mirror caught my eye. The driver behind me at the stoplight was bobbing her head, to music I couldn’t hear. I smiled to myself. I’ve been known to traffic dance too:) I turned to peek- and saw that not only was the driver bobbing and traffic dancing, but the passenger was too. Beautiful, full smiles graced their faces….the passenger’s hands were dancing, I could almost hear them laughing.

That’s when I noticed the deep colored, headscarf. One of my neighbors was out for a drive with her daughter. As always- she was beautifully clad in one of her many headscarves. It made me smile. First, because I love the diversity of where I live- and second? Because I know full well- that this woman was enjoying something special. Where she is originally from- she would not be driving or leaving her home without a male escort- this silly, mother – daughter moment in the car- would have been lost.

She caught me peeking. I smiled. She smiled back. Mom-to-Mom- we connected. A tiny nod said “Yep- I love my kid, too- been there, enjoy”. I am glad my neighbor is here. I’m glad she has found a place to both worship freely and live freely.

I am also glad that I can- even though, *by some*- we could be perceived as polar opposites- even- enemies of each others faith. I’m glad there are still places where this is true. I’m glad we both live where we can speak freely and live fully and disagree respectfully- by choice. I hope that you, can too.

Peace.