Regardless of whether we inhabit a serene mothering landscape or a landscape perpetually filled with challenge after challenge, we are all walking the same Mother Lands and dodging the same societal landmines.
Though at times we could all be forgiven for undervaluing our crucial interconnectedness.
With every debate that rages over breast-feeding versus bottle feeding or whether or not we should strive to be stay at home mum’s instead of working mother’s, there seems to be a gradual lessening of common mothering ground to stand on.
It seems every aspect of motherhood these days is up for debate.
Yet always, within these debates, the role of men remains safely tucked out of harms way.
There is no call to action against father’s who bottle feed their children.
Nor is there any debate surrounding whether or not father’s can adequately parent and work at the same time.
Mother’s it appears, are always the one side of the parenting equation, whose actions, beliefs and virtues are consistently being singled out for public scrutiny and divisive debate.
It was not so long ago that single mother‘s were being told they were to blame for the rise in teenage delinquency. That it’s their fault that the lack of a male role model in a teenager’s life, leads to aggressive and insolent behaviors.
Even when the role of the father appears to be the sticking point, it is the mother who has her own lifestyle held up to ransom. Unfortunately there is nothing new in that.
In the 60’s and 70’s married stay at home mother‘s were being told that their own lack of ambition and levels of depression were to blame for their daughter’s outrageous sexual behaviors and overwhelming dissatisfaction with society.
Despite the fact that young men were also actively engaged in the same behaviors and exhibiting the same level of dissatisfaction with societies status quo.
In the 40’s and 50’s mother’s of children with special needs were being labeled cold and uncaring, ‘Refrigerator Mother‘s’, and told their detached mothering style was the to blame for their child‘s condition.
All of the above antiquated ideas are the same ideas that are now being successfully inverted to form the basis for the latest wave of public blame, crashing down once again exclusively on the backs of mother’s.
Instead of being accused of creating maladaptive children through cold and detached parenting, mother’s are now being told that they fuss over their children too much.
That they hover like helicopters around their off spring and in so doing prevent them from growing up into successful adults capable of taking responsibility for their own actions.
Mother’s who have staved off depression and found a sense of self-worth by showing personal ambition and engaging in the work force are now being blamed for creating confused young men, who are now said to be acting out in aggression due to the lack of clear gender roles that women’s participation in the workforce are said to have caused.
Yet on the flip side of the debate surrounding the supposed lack of gender lines, mothers are now being told that they are failing their daughter’s by letting them wear the latest, overtly feminized and sexualized, fashion trends.
Well who designs these fashion trends? It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the multitude of male designers and male arbiters who have for centuries decided what women should wear…. could it?
It seems the only constant variable in this never-ending re-invention of mother’s as the root of all evil, is the continuing denigration of single mothers.
Whom, despite the mounting evidence from their successful adult off spring, find themselves time and time again rolled out as the whipping posts for all of societies ills.
The chances are, that what ever you life circumstances, or style of mothering may be, you will at some stage have to face an endless list of mothering prejudices along the way.
So I think sometimes we need to be reminded, that no matter what our individual circumstances may be, at the end of the day, we are all, each and every one of us, doing out best to dodge the multiple landmines of mothering blame, laid out before us.
We are all walking the same Mother Lands and none of us knows who the next target will be.