Leave-it-to-Beaver view on mothers fuels stereotypes
While I appreciated the intent of your tribute to mothers (“Remember mom - thank her for who you’ve become,” May 4 edition), I was surprised and disappointed that you relied in part on such an old-fashioned, stereotypical, Leave-it-to-Beaver view of the roles mothers play in our lives, by encouraging us to celebrate our mothers for doing our laundry and preparing “fresh, homecooked meals … every night.”
Yes, many mothers still do much of the cleaning, laundering, grocery shopping and cooking in their families. But that is slowly changing, so let’s not have our media perpetuate the gendered image of the 1950s selfless mom who seldom gets any appreciation for what she does. This image also does a disservice to all the dads out there who share these household tasks (and, in some cases, take on the lion’s share).
Despite the progress we have made in increasing choices for women in Canada, being a mom is still fraught with judgment from family, friends and society.
Every decision we make – from breastfeeding to choosing to work or stay home, when and if to send our kids to daycare, how much time we take for self-care, to whether to prepare that home-cooked supper or pick up a pizza on the way home after working an 8-hour day – is seen by others through their own lens of what the ideal mother should be.
For example, your statement that “Mom’s [sic] don’t stop” suggests that the ideal mom doesn’t take time for herself. She’s constantly running around doing things for everyone else and being a hero. For me, as a mom, a lot of this external judgment is so ingrained that I don’t even need reminders of it. I direct it to myself, constantly questioning my choices as a woman and mother and striving to be “better.” I doubt I am alone.
Rather than celebrating a particular type of mother, we need to support and appreciate all mothers, regardless of their choices and without judgment. Here’s to a feminist Mother’s Day.
Megan Nichols is a Chelsea resident.