I'm Every Woman....
Boss, employee, teacher, student, confidante, leader, traveller, adventurer, mentor, influencer, dog-owner, cat lover, daughter, sister, girlfriend, wifey, friend, MOTHER?
Women play a multitude of roles, all weighted, all filled with a level of passion or at the very least, commitment. Roles that demand care and time and often pull us in various directions all at once. I imagine it isn't easy being a man (though I can't say for sure...) but I truly believe it is not always easy and straightforward being a woman. There are expectations - and whether rightly or wrongly so, one of them is Motherhood.
Motherhood is everywhere, especially for a woman (married or in a committed relationship) in and around age 30/35 mark. The questions, oh the questions!! Innocently put but potentially scalding 'So, what about kids then, are you not into children?' 'Oh, is it taking some time?' and the comments 'She must be a career girl'.
In launching Mamabox, we created a service for mothers/parents to offer them a little bit of respite from the intensity of looking after and keeping alive these mini but all consuming humans, because it's hard and for some - really hard. Having children is arguably the biggest commitment you might ever make and man, do we feel sorry for ourselves from time to time (guilty! and mainly at 3am, in my defence!) but it is also arguably, amongst the biggest privileges.
A privilege that some choose not to have - and a privilege that others do not have the option to take up. How must that make one feel? I can vaguely imagine, from being told 3 years ago that my chances of having children might be greatly reduced as a result of a fairly common condition called endometriosis. From being unsure at that point whether my husband and I wanted to go down that route anyway - conversations swinging back and forth between feeling the world was potentially already overpopulated... that we were too selfish.... to be delivered this news was a bit of a stab to the heart. If that choice was taken away from me, what then? Would I be content with all my many other roles as a woman? I hoped so and like to think that maybe in time, I would've been but then, in spite of this, we fell pregnant and the the path for us was forever changed.
I always love reading what Helen Mirren has to say and this quote is no exception; ‘It was not my destiny, I kept thinking it would be, waiting for it to happen, but it never did, and I didn’t care what people thought. Whenever boring old men went, “What? No children? Well, you’d better get on with it, old girl,” I’d say “No! Fuck off!”
See the link above for more enlightening and honest quotes from women who have made a choice for the world, for themselves or for their existing family of them and their partner. There are others who didn't have the option and couldn't conceive, suffered miscarriages or may not have had a partner or other support at that time of their life. There are many reasons why a woman might not become 'mum' and all are so valid, so real and in my opinion should never be questioned. At the same time these women need to be acknowledged because for some, they are fighting a battle that is even harder than trying to get that damn nappy on a stubborn, unwilling toddler.
As mothers, we go through a million daily battles and talking, sharing, joking, commiserating about these is absolutely essential to preserve our sanity. Parenthood is a club like no other, the funniest 'IN' joke I have ever known and yet, it is somewhat exclusive isn't it? As a semi-feminist and a heterosexual admirer of women (you are literally, all AMAZING to me) I never want to forget this and that Mother or not, each one of us is going through our own version of the trenches.
Every Woman is amazing in their own right, whatever the predominant and secondary roles they occupy.
As author Francesca Lia Block shares, 'Just like any woman.... we weave our stories out of our bodies. Some of it through our children, or our art; some do it just by living. It's all the same.' We are all valid, we are all wholly, woman.