How sacred is motherhood?
BELGİN AKALTAN - firstname.lastname@example.orgI’m a mother. This Sunday is Mother’s Day. My mother died last year. This is the second year I am celebrating Mother’s Day without a mother. But since I am a mother myself, this day continues to be meaningful to me.
You have just read five cliché sentences about mothers, motherhood or Mother’s Day. Is it only me or is this year the most slushy, juicy, saucy (my English fails me here), oversentimentally commercial of them all? I mean how much more can you sugarcoat mothers and motherhood (and babies and children) so that women work endlessly and quietly?
I think we need to redefine motherhood in these modern times. It should not be restricted to the role society has drawn for us; it should have varieties. We should be given choices, free time, free of prejudices, free of social roles…
According to all religions, social codes, relationship guides, health experts, social experts, sports experts and all kinds of experts, motherhood is perfection. It is the utmost state of being – I don’t know what – my English and my writing ability (if I have one) are failing me again.
Motherhood is pictured as such a great achievement that it is like no other experience in a woman’s life. Although there is a certain truth in the joys of motherhood, I think it is one of the largest traps a woman can fall into. But I will not elaborate.
I need to start writing like nobody will read it. Like dancing like nobody’s watching. But I will not. I know it is a dangerous topic to say that motherhood is not as sacred as they tell you, that it is just another nice shiny packaging for the actual truth.
It is like discussing (male) circumcision in Turkey. (There is no female circumcision in Turkey for those international readers who sometimes get confused.) Try talking about circumcision and say you want to discuss whether it is really a necessity medically or hygienically. And isn’t it against a child’s rights to leave a permanent mark on your child’s body without even asking for his consent or him being aware of what is being done to him? What about sexual life with or without circumcision? Wow. Everybody but everybody will take a stance against you. Everybody will think you are stupid. Here everybody thinks, believes, is conditioned to accept that circumcision is good. End of story.
Now if I start badmouthing motherhood, everybody, but everybody will disagree. It is a positive taboo… All must like it. Mothers are good. Children are good. Motherhood is heaven or a promised heaven. I and we all should accept it and move on.
Have you heard any sacred words for fatherhood? Why it is not called “parenthood” instead of motherhood?
What is expected of mothers and what do mothers do? I took this from a website. It was a long list; I shortened it: They/We plan meals, buy food, prepare and cook food, serve food, wash up after meals, clean the house, organize the home, decorate the home, do seasonal cleaning like washing all the curtains, wash clothes, iron clothes, mend clothes, shop for new clothes and other family needs, get children and partners ready for school and work, bathe and dress children, feed babies, play with children, comfort babies, children and partners, do first aid, care for sick people, care for pets, entertain guests, plan for guests and holidays/celebrations, remember everybody’s birthday, help with homework, read storybooks, stop fights, put people to bed, maintain and water household plants, prepare a budget, research ways to use the household’s income most efficiently and pay bills.
Are you kidding me? Are we all fools? Who are you fooling? I think they are fooling us. Yes, we are being fooled, aren’t we? What do fathers do? Provide for the family and be nice to the wife and children. What kind of a deal is this?
I would like to trade places with them, anytime.
Here is what I came across while surfing the Internet: “I am a homemaker, wife and mother of four.” Oh, yeah? What kind of a fool you are? Have you ever heard a man say, “I am a homemaker, husband and father of four?” OK, there might be a few, but really, why do we do this to ourselves? What is there to be so proud of?
I tell you it is the biggest trap you can fall into in your life. Think before you decide.
Now, don’t get the wrong impression that I regret being a mother. I love my son and I’m trying to be a good mother to him, but I’m not over trying – at least I have learned that. It is a full time job, lifelong job. It is a guaranteed profession; you cannot get fired. There is no going back to being a non-mother.
Look what else I came across on the Internet on redefining motherhood – it is a book promotion: “Motherhood is under attack. Nearly one in five American women ends her childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one in 10 in 1970. In 2007, 47 percent felt that the roles of marriage and motherhood should not be emphasized for women…”
I also wanted to talk about postnatal depression and Elif Şafak’s “Black Milk,” but there’s no time or space left…Wait until next year…