While I was reading the textbook about power and family relationships, my grandmother kept popping into my head.
When I was growing up I heard comments from my grandmother all the time about how a woman “primero es madre” which is Spanish for “First I am a mother”and she should realize that. I never realized what she meant by that until I had my own children and my mother constantly reminded me that “primero soy madre”. I mean what else can you be?
What they meant to say was that once you become a mother even before being a woman, you are a mother and you must assume the role of being a good one. However being a good mother is kind of tricky. Everyone has their own ideas of what a good mother is. Yes there are commonalities of these ideas such as being caring, nurturing, loving and devoted to her children. Our individual cultures also have a lot of influence on our parenting as well. We guide our expectations based on traditions, what we see most common. The US society valued the stay at home mom at one point but over time the society’s expectations from mothers have changed; now society has created an ideology of a supermom character because of the rise of women in the workforce. The supermom character is the woman that tries to juggle being a mother with all the responsibilities that come along with raising caring, nurtured, successful children and also being a successful career woman… at the same time!
It sounds great and the reality is that many moms are doing this, (hooray J go supermoms!) but it is not easy. As a mom trying to do this, believe me, it’s not easy! We read about how difficult it is for women to succeed in a workforce dominated by men. We women constantly have to prove our ability to perform our jobs, may experience gender discrimination or sexual harassment and still earn less than men without men having to put in as much effort! To top it off “first we are mothers/ primero soy madre”. Many mothers feel it is their obligation to have to make sacrifices for their children and families. That is why a supermom makes it her (additional) job to maintain her household tidy, including household chores and laundry and make it her priority to nurture and love the family.
“Primero soy Madre”, this simple phrase meant/means so much to many women in my culture. It’s a constant feeling of having to sacrifice who you are to fit into an “ideal” mother mold. There is a constant struggle with society telling us we have to be independent, educated and successful women but still, above all stay dedicated and committed to our children. Um how are we supposed to accomplish it all?
My advice, regardless of your parenting style and career, never forget that you are a woman.