I take issue with the word “mom.” For one, it further divides women into the haves and have-nots and we already have enough competition and cliques among us.
But I also think it’s too slippery to define. Does it mean you gave birth? Some women wear this title with a badge of honor and believe their stretch marks are proof that they have earned their right to be called “mom” and hold the moniker over the heads of other women.
But if giving birth is what makes you a mom, then what about the billions of women who have adopted children into their lives, into their homes, into their hearts? The women who know that love knows nothing about genetics or DNA or blood? What about the women who have become unexpected mothers because they agreed to be a godparent, never expecting that “What if?” scenario would play out?
Does it mean you have the ability to create and carry a child? Is the woman who has been unfailing in her determination to get pregnant, nurturing her body and soul for years to create a hospitable environment, never wavering in her desire to see those two blue lines any less of a mother than someone who got pregnant by accident and had never previously envisioned her life with a child in it?
Does it mean you raised a child? Well then what exactly does that mean? Is my sister, who loves and cares for and plays with and reads to my daughter, any less of a mother than I am? Is a teacher or neighbor or friend who protects and educates and encourages and answers to Mrs. So-and-so any less of a mother than someone who answers to “Mom”?
I think that we as women spend our whole lives being “moms”. We communicate, we make mistakes, we learn lessons, we hold hands, we listen without judgment, we work hard, we cultivate relationships, we stand up for what we believe in. Children watch us. They become inspired by us. They grow and develop and thrive because of us. Not because we gave birth to them, or because they have a piece of our bodies, or because they lived in our homes, but simply because we were there.
So, I’m redefining “mom”. Because at some point, every woman has been, is, or will be important in the life of someone else. Every woman will exhibit the qualities of a mom. Every woman will love, encourage, acknowledge. And in my mind, that makes every woman a mom. Moms who make the future stronger, brighter, better. Happy Mother’s Day. If you’re a woman, that means you.