Since we have been discussing breastfeeding and healthy food I thought it would also be nice to chat about Mothering. This one is a bit more serious and a little political, hope you do not mind. I think that motherhood is undervalued.
The thing with Mothering is that it is is hard to define, so many types, hard to quantify and completely undervalued in our western cultures. I am going to focus on the undervaluing of motherhood in this post. When I am referring to motherhood I am not just meaning mothers that stay at home, I am including all mothers as all mothers, mother!
One of my favourite books on mothering is called What Mothers Do- especially when it looks like nothing by Naomi Stadlen. Basically the book is written to support mothers. Rather than trying to tell you what you should be doing it can help you to recognise much better many of the ‘nameless’ everyday things that mothers keep doing which usually go unnoticed.
I really like the term the things that go ‘unnoticed’ and I reckon they are things like bonding, love, stability, nurturing etc all those things that are hard to quantify. I reckon the political debate on getting mums back to work as soon as possible has totally undervalued motherhood and have totally avoided taking into consideration all those ‘unnoticed’ things that mothers do to create a warm, loving society. Even for mothers who work or work part time, it is saying that paid work needs are more important. Particularly for societies that do not legally cater for child sick leave or child emergency leave.
Unfortunately the main argument is that there is no immediate mainstream economic value or immediate mainstream productivity when you consider mothering in the economic sense. However I reckon you can make an argument that mothering does create immediate economic value as they are ensuring we are bringing up sain loving individuals who know how to bond and live in a community. As for the immediate productivity, no new upstart business venture makes a profit in the first three years, so why should one expect that from babies and mothers. It is all about creating long term investment.
Mothering is also undervalued due to comments like ‘try working in the real world’ or the ‘ you need to spend more time in the real world….. ‘ In fact there are so many real worlds as there are so many realities as we are all individuals. The problem with this is that often people create hierarchies on which world is better and often people believe that the paid world is the better one which in turn undervalues mothering. Associated with that is that politicians are trying to get mothers back to work as soon as possible without the necessary legal and social supports, which in turn says they place no value on mothering. So that is saying to society bonding, nurturing, forming relationships and all those other ‘unnoticed’ things are of no value.
So mummies, remember Munch believes strongly that mothering is a vital and important role in society. Keep valuing all those ‘unnoticed’ things we all do even if we are mummies at home, mummies working part time, mummies working full time, solo mummies, mummies and mummies…so many combinations but we all know how to naturally do all those valuable ‘unnoticed’ things that ensure we all live in warm, loving communities. And whatever you do, don’t ever succumb to the Mummy Guilt syndrome.
Want to read more of our breastfeeding content? Check out these posts: What are the breastfeeding positions?, Breastfeeding awareness week 1-7 August, How to stop breastfeeding and of course History of baby formula.
Munch Mum, Anna