I am not a mother, myself, as you know from my previous post. However, along with one of my best friends, we raised her sister and brother, who still call me mom. I am proud of what I taught them and who they are today. I am also an amazing aunt, godmother and babysitter.
Women constantly get labels for their gender. In my post Labels for not being a mom, I got good feedback from several readers, thanks to all.
But I also was told that it does not end there, which is true because if you get married or have a partner, family members or friends will ask, say or do:
-When will I have a grandchild, be an aunt or uncle?
– They will buy things to give a hint that it’s time. For example, once they brought a calendar of childhood vaccinations and other newspaper clippings.
– They will ask you to babysit your niece or nephew so ” you can practice”.
However, once you become a mom, questionary and labels continue even if you are doing your 24/7 job.
I asked moms friends from different countries to share their comments, questions, and statements they had experienced for being a mom. While reading the responses that were forwarded to me, I was surprised by some comments, and not for others, since I have heard people saying them; or I myself, practicing this inappropriate behaviour before being aware that is not my business.
Once again, it was confirmed that most inappropriate questions and comments come from other women. Here are some experiences:
- I was asked if I got pregnant naturally or under treatment.
- This child is hyper, it is bad. He/she needs a massage.
- If you breastfeed her for too long, your body will be ruined.
- You are the “mom of girls”. Does this mean that I need to have a son to be a complete mom?
- Was your husband sad to have girls? Maybe he wanted a boy.
- At my workplace, it was assumed that if I had to leave earlier because I had motherhood duties “they couldn’t rely on me”.
- I decided to stay at home and put my career on hold, so people expressed that “I am wasting my potential skills since I don’t’ have a life because I only take care of my kids, cook, and play with them”.
- When I became pregnant with my first child, I was happy, but friends at the university said: ” How comes that someone like you that is so interesting in your career will throw it away to become a mom?”.
- Giving birth by Caesarean section(C-section) is not that painful… it’s easy, it is like you never gave birth.
- I heard a mom told her daughter “your friend is not a mother because she had her child by C-section”.
- After giving birth, I was told on several occasions ” you are so skinny”. Does this mean I need to be fat?
- “Are you her/his babysitter? ” Question you get if your child does not resemble you.
- I am a mom of twins ( less than a year). A person, despite knowing this information, asked: “Are you planning to have the fourth one?” I said, no. He/She replied: ” Oh wait, maybe in a few years you will want another one”.
- I was called ” heartless” by a friend because I didn’t sleep next to my daughter one night when she had a fever, even though I was checking her constantly.
- On many occasions, people say: “Ohhhh, you do a lot of stuff because you get help from your husband”. Please, I am tired of saying that I don’t get the help. He is the father of my kids.
- I enjoy being a mother, but it pisses me off that people assume that I can’t do other stuffs like being a writer, activist, woman, friend, etc.
Mothers, continue doing your great work. Ignore what anyone has to say about how to raise your child. Remember that you have several roles to play in this movie as a mother, wife, lover, woman, worker, friend, etc.
Audre Lorde said: “The strongest lesson I can teach my son is the same lesson I teach my daughter: how to be who he wishes to be for himself. And the best way I can do this is to be who I am and hope that he will learn from this not how to be me, which is not possible, but how to be himself. And this means how to move to that voice from within himself, rather than to those raucous, persuasive, or threatening voices from outside, pressuring him to be what the world wants him to be.”