I remember a woman talking about her mother once, and how she always viewed her mother as weak. She always wanted to be like her dad, a big business man carrying a briefcase full of important documents. It would be horrible to be like her mom. What did she do? While dad was busy on the phone discussing important business related things, what was mom doing—she was just in the kitchen making sandwiches for everyone. While dad was busy traveling for work, what was mom doing—she was just shuffling the kids around between home and school and extracurricular activities.
Then she went on to say that one day she asked her mother why she never wanted a career of her own? Her mother was originally from Scotland, and grew up very poor. Her mother also grew up in a time when tuberculosis was widespread throughout Scotland, and many people contracted it. As such, her mother was also affected by it, and in particular, she contracted it in her fallopian tubes. This meant she could not have children. Eventually, her mother immigrated to Australia, found work, met and married her father, and when they decided to have children, though she wanted more than anything to have her own career, they made the decision that it would be best for her to stay home to be available to their children’s needs. Since her mother could not bear children, this woman and her siblings are all adopted. So, the woman she thought of as weak all these years, gave up her career to love and care for children she never had to love or care for.
Suddenly, she realized she never knew the woman she called “mom.” Had she never asked her mother, her mother would have passed on and she would have one day gone to the funeral of a woman she pitied.
I was thinking about this story this week, as Mother's Day in the U.S. is today; and as I get older, I have all these questions I want to ask my mom
Like this Australian woman’s family, in my family my dad was always the busy business man and my mother, though she was not a stay-at-home mom, worked a more "under valued" career path. My mother immigrated to the United States with my father, not knowing much English. In her native Taiwan she had gone to university and was in fact on a very different career path; but coming to this country not knowing the language, altered her job choices. So, for the entirety of my life and most of her life, my mom worked in our local post office, and still does.
I always admired her work ethic, and knew she made a great impact in her office as well as with her customers, so I’ve always been very proud of her. People respect her, and they adore her. On career day in elementary school, my brother and I even wore her uniform to school. I admit though, when people used to ask me what my parents do, I very confidently told them what my dad does (to the extent that I understand what he does), but when I got to telling them what my mother does, I admitI felt a bit self-conscious. Would they think less of her or less of me, because she’s not someone “more important”? She’s not a doctor or a business owner, or an executive at a large company. When I realized this is silly for me to be self-conscious about where my mom works, I started talking about how wonderful she is at her job, and what an impact she has on our community. There's a bit of a small-town charm to her job, because she sees my friends and their parents all the time, and that’s fun—but this “charm” about her job is actually a big statement to the charm of her as a person. My mother is a personable, big-hearted woman, and does not take crap from anyone. She is her own woman, independent, courageous, and full of love. People who meet her, love her.
So, lately I've been thinking a lot about how to show my mom more appreciation for all the love and inspiration she provided and continues to provide.
I always look fondly on my childhood, because I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to be a young mother with 2 young children, trying to keep everything together while my dad was mostly out of the house, traveling overseas for business. She didn’t just keep things together though, there were countless trips to Disneyland, to visit my cousins, roadtrips—my childhood was a constant adventure. My dad always reminds us of this, and reminds us to appreciate her because of this. I honestly do not know how she did it, but I hope I can be as a wonderful a mother as her one day.
We think we know someone, until we really find out who they are. Mom and dad are mom and dad until we discover that mom and dad is a pseudonym for superheroes. I've always looked to my dad to show me the ways of the world, and to be the ambitious, ever curious woman that I am; but my mom is my hero, because she exemplifies strength.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
Sony Has Let Down All Its Female Artists - It's Time To Demand Of The Entertainment Industry What We've Been Demanding of the NFL
I've not been Kesha's most devout musical fan, so admittedly, I didn't realize what she has been going through and pursuing since 2014, until her request for an injunction was denied on Friday, and then I became one of her biggest supporters, because it's not just about her. It's about every woman in the industry who has been through what she has been through and every woman who will go through it. The denial of this injunction basically allows plenty of men to let out a sigh of relief because they can use the "she's like a little sister" excuse to get away with inappropriate behaviour. They can go back to touching your leg and grabbing your waist while trying to reach for lower, and chalk it up to "brotherly love." Labels and other companies can go back to pretending this issue doesn't exist or isn't a big deal, and they don't have to worry about losing out on their "investments."
My mom is your typical, gossiping, always has something to say kind of gal. Recently, over dinner, she was talking about the various girlfriends of cousins and friends and whatnot. She never has much to say about boyfriends, but about girlfriends she always does. She notices how helpful around the house they are, whether they cook or not, how well they put themselves together, etc. The more of those they can do, the better.
I noticed, though not for the first time, that she always expects me to set the table, do the dishes, and serve everyone, but never my brother. At the most, she might ask my brother to pour the wine. As I was doing the dishes after dinner, my brother noticed I was frustrated. He said, it’s because I’m the only one who can be a “good wife.” I laughed. I said, “It’s the 21st Century! You can be a good husband!” And his response…”Yeah, but not a good wife.” He was joking, but also telling the blatant truth.
I’ve always felt extremely blessed about my upbringing. My parents are immigrants, and I come from a very global family--we are literally scattered across the globe. In raising my brother and me, they kept many of their traditional values, and also encouraged us to explore all opportunities that life offers us in order to make the most of our lives. I wasn’t raised to become someone’s wife, I was raised to become my own woman—self-sufficient and self-dependent. So, it ends up being somewhat of an oxymoron doesn’t it? My mother raised me to never need to depend on a man, but she also always expected me to be able to someday be someone's “good wife.” She still has these old world, sexist views that serve as her gauge to judge a woman. Can I cook? Can I clean? Can I put myself together well? Can I take care of my man? Can I take care of my family? And how well?
I don’t have an issue with cooking and cleaning, and taking care of my man and my family, and Lord knows I love dressing up. In fact, I enjoy nurturing my family, and providing a comfortable home, and I find it very rewarding when I can look around and see happy faces on those I love most. My issue with my mother’s notions, is that I am expected to carry out these “duties,” because I am a woman.
When I was in grade school, about 7 or 8 years of age, I remember asking her, “if Andrew (my younger brother) was older, would she ask him to do the dishes, too, or is it because I’m a girl?” I don’t remember her exact response now, but my point is that based on this question, it is clear I was aware of the gender inequality even then.
I don’t think this makes her a bad mother or woman though. This is how she was raised. This is how she has lived her life. She goes to work in the morning, and then she comes home to work in the evening. This is the way it is for many women. This is why it has been calculated that women do 3/4 of the work in the world.
But if we want to fight gender inequality, we must start in our homes. As nurturers, it is natural for women to want to care for our families in every way we can; but it is not our job to do so. That is not what makes us “good wives” or good women.
I don’t have children yet, but when I do, I hope to teach them, boys and girls alike, that what’s most important is to be excellent to each other, that we should all always try to be good people, and that we’re a team.
In fairness to my mom though, my dad has always worked long hours and was essentially the “bread winner” in the family. And my mom always just wanted to be a good teammate, so she brought in what she could at her day job, then tried to make home as comfortable as possible for the rest of us. It was her way of balancing out the work level between my father and her. And it was probably also her OCD.
Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! Be excellent to each other ;)
BIG LOVE & HUGS