Weekly Column: I am Mama, hear me roar

©Stephenie Freeman

It was never my life’s ambition to be a mother.

Growing up, I never fantasized about becoming a mommy. I was busy playing War outside, running my own pretend library or teaching my stuffed animals their ABC’s. I was never drawn to playing with baby or Barbie dolls. The only Barbie-like dolls that I owned were three Charlie’s Angels dolls that I received Christmas of 1977.

My Charlie’s Angels dolls weren’t your typical Barbie dolls. They weren’t about looking pretty and trying on new clothes. These dolls didn’t clean house while they waited for their husbands to bring home the bacon.

These dolls were about fighting crime and catching the bad guy. These dolls knew how to use their beauty as a source of power, and as soon as I learned to feather my hair and master the art of karate, I would too.

I was born a decade after Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique rocked the world and started what was considered the “second wave” of the feminist movement. So, it should come as no surprise that I was raised by a strong, self-sufficient mother who taught me about less about domesticity and more about independence.

A mother who made sure that crime fighting, karate kicking dolls were waiting for me under the Christmas tree.

My mother knew that I had been born into a world filled with opportunities; opportunities that weren’t solely tied to the titles of “wife” or “mother” even though she hoped I would end up as both one day.

My mother was never a radical. I wouldn’t label her as a feminist. Her simple hints of wisdom were subtle; teaching me things like how to reconcile my bank account and check the oil in my car because “you should never have to depend on anyone else to do those things for you.” Needless to say, my husband is quite grateful and my marriage is better for it.

There were two things that I wanted to be when I grew up: either a veterinarian or Princess Leia from Star Wars. After I realized that I would have to go to the “other” state school to become a veterinarian, Princess Leia became my obvious first choice.

Princess Leia was the strongest, most powerful woman I had ever seen. Who wouldn’t want to be her? All of the men loved her, she ran her own planet, and knew how to shoot a laser-firing blaster. Not to mention that she had a really cool hair-do.

As much as my boys wish things had turned out differently, I did not grow up to be Princess Leia. I don’t run my own planet, I don’t know how to shoot a gun, and I have never solved a crime or saved the world (although that last one is still on the top of my “To-Do” list.) I did not grow up to be a veterinarian, a private investigator or a crime fighter, but at least I had the choice.

My grandmothers didn’t have a choice. You were either a wife and a mother or you were a business woman out in the world beyond your kitchen. They couldn’t be both. They couldn’t have it all.

My mother’s generation had more choice, but it was still a radical idea to try and raise a family and have a career outside of the home. That’s why they poured all of their efforts into raising women who would grow up to have it all.

Thanks, Mom, but I don’t want it.

I don’t want it all.

I’m happy with my small piece of the pie; my little corner of the world. I don’t need the whole enchilada. I don’t want to have my cake and eat it too.

I have enough dieting issues as it is.

I am not any of the things that I thought I would grow up to be, but I’m proud that my current resume contains one simple word: Mother. I spend my days making a difference in the lives of my children which surprisingly makes me happier than solving crimes ever could.

I do have a choice and I can confidently say that in all ways that matter, I do have it all.

And I think that would make any feminist proud.

4 comments :

Leslee said...

Thank you, once again, for making my day. As another long summer day with my two girls at home comes to rest, I sit in front of the computer for a little "me" time and I see your blog. Just what I needed. Perfectly written, poetic, and so true. I am thankful for your gift.

mama wants more said...

Oh, thank you so much Leslee. That's one of the nicest compliments ever.

TLC said...

great blog post! and here i was thinking i was the only girl who wanted to grow up to be Princess Leia. :)

Anonymous said...

One of your best, and not just because you mention your mom. I thought that you might get a lot of comment on this one...