There’s a line in the movie ‘Self Made’ that many of you may have missed, but it stuck with me the minute I heard it. It’s the moment when Madam CJ Walker turns to her daughter and says:
“You are my legacy. My most precious gift. The beauty of my whole world and I will always love you. Always.” – Sarah/Madame C.J.Walker
What she said echoed so deeply within me, because in the last few years I‘ve been witnessing women strive for success, for recognition, for fame and for power, while brushing off their role as a mother.
I feel entitled to say this because I am one of you. A driven, passionate and very competitive girl-boss who loves her work and has always thought of it as my legacy. Besides, we live in a unique time of questioning the old world order, female empowerment and dethroning the infallible father. If not now, when? But do we have to give up our role as a mother? Here comes the dreaded cliche question: can we really have it all?
I guess there’s no universal answer to that! I personally feel motherhood is part of me all the time – even before I became a mother, even when I’m hundreds of miles away from my kids and family… at any given moment of my life. Not even for a second can I forget that I’m a mum. But I keep asking myself, does being a mum change the way I feel about myself, and the way I think of myself? Does it change my behaviour no matter whether my kids are watching or not?
You see, I just don’t want to become that too serious grown-up who sees potential threats everywhere, which I guess affects my approach to risk-taking.
I also don’t want to start looking at myself too seriously, to the point where I start doing those funny old-fashioned dance moves at the next Office Christmas Party!
I don’t want to behave as others expect a mother should behave… never wearing heels, flirting or buying expensive lingerie.
Do you know what I mean? Maybe yes and maybe no, because all of us carry some different idea of what mothers ‘should’ be like. Beliefs that are not even ours, about who we should be and how we should behave (remember Madonna being asked whether her children watch her videos).
I don’t want to give you homework on Mother’s Day, but I would love you to reflect on what you think a mother should be like? What beliefs do you hold about yourself being a mother?
Can you try for a moment to re-imagine these ideas so they serve you personally?! Give yourself permission to be the mother you want to be, not what others think you should be!
Happy Mother’s Day!