One of my former students had the phrase “Queens make Kings” on his Facebook page. I smiled thinking of the profundity of this statement, especially from a recent college graduate. At a young age and as a young man, he understands the importance of women in society, particularly as mothers.
Mothers live a precarious existence. They are simultaneously loved and loathed for the same qualities. While we are taught to respect our mothers, the concept of motherhood is often disrespected. Stay-at-home mothers are celebrated for putting family first, while often being characterized as unproductive or unimportant because they “work” inside of the home. We’ve all heard those snide comments from folks – “she’s just a stay-at-home mom.” Conversely, women that work outside of the home are upheld for succeeding in the workplace, while being admonished for sacrificing their families in the process. In many ways, mothers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, which reflects the fine line that mothers walk in this world on a constant basis.
We demand that they be perfect, even though we are imperfect. Our expectations of them are higher than all others, and they are often burdened with being all things to all people. We clutch our pearls and shake our heads in disbelief when mothers have nervous breakdowns, suffer from post-partum depression, hurt their children or God forbid, seem overwhelmed because our grand narrative of mothers involves purity, piety and perfection.
Mothers are not perfect, but they are resilient and that is why we love them so much. This is why we can’t live with them or without them for too long. They are central to our existence and it feels weird or uncomfortable when they reside on the margins of our lives. Even if we aren’t lucky enough to have a mother, we find that we are often blessed enough to have mother figures — women who step-up and step-in on behalf of children, peers, co-workers and the like to fill that void when life happens.
Even when we have lost our mothers, their presence usually lives in others who cannot ever replace them, but find a way to make the loss more bearable. It is with this in mind that we celebrate mothers, for all that they are and all that they do.
Happy Mother’s Day!
This post originally appeared on RushmoreDrive.com.