Monday, July 11, 2011

my own words | Global Motherhood

"my own words" is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion or understanding to unique issues. Remember, one "story" could change a life, and that could be your story.

To submit your own story, click here.

Today's {my own words} submission comes from Lydia. A big thanks to Lydia for sharing her words with us!

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There are very few things more special than motherhood. Through the years, even with the changing definitions and “requirements” for motherhood, this remains to be a truth. With the rapidly changing times, I sometimes wonder if my brand of mothering is changing with the intellectual and cultural landscape of today. Am I preparing my kids adequately for the challenges of the coming years? How much exactly has changed since the days of my mother? What exactly does it mean to be a mother in the 21st century? Riddled with these questions, I’ve explored the different aspects of raising a child into a global culture by looking at motherhood in the past, present, and the future.

Motherhood in the Past

Growing up, it was as if my mom had no choice but to stay home because there was nobody else to take care of us. We did not have enough money to pay for a babysitter and my dad was equally devoted to his paying-job (if not, we wouldn’t have anything to eat!). I knew that this was not isolated to my family as all my friends had stay at home moms as well. In the past, it seemed that motherhood was a choice that you had to make only once. Once you made it, you were in it for life.

When I became a mother of two lovely kids, it was then when I realized that there is no standard way of being a mother. I recognized that it is a constantly changing duty, and its definition is equally shifting. A decade ago, being a mother meant that you had to stay home, do all the chores, take care of your kids, prepare their lunches, make sure they came home early, check on their homework, and so forth. It also meant that you had to take care of your husband who came home from work while showering everyone with the love and affection that they needed. Motherhood was inevitably a selfless fate for women who opted to become a mother. It was a bittersweet responsibility, where women felt fulfilled and at the same exhausted from giving everything to their family while nothing is left for themselves.

Aspects that Affect Motherhood in Today’s World

Before I became a mother, I was not so sure that I wanted a life like that of my mom’s. Yes, it was something very honorable, but I was certain that I did not want to spend the rest of my life practicing home economics and babysitting both young and old people. But the perks and downsides of motherhood have changed since the time of my mom. This further proves that motherhood adapts to the changing world. As the economy and larger society revolutionizes into the global world, motherhood runs along and changes in many different aspects. My own experience has showed me that the role of a mother depends on things such as your personal upbringing, the opinion and belief of your other half, the constantly changing environment and the dictates of the bigger world.

Today, being a mother can mean many things. For some it means taking care of your home and your family while fulfilling your dreams as a career woman. For others, the traditional roles of mothers still hold water. These days, men are becoming more involved in taking care of the kids with many staying at home while their spouse brings home the bacon. As the world progresses and time passes, beliefs and practices change.

Motherhood in the 21st Century

In the coming years, motherhood will further change as the world develops. In the rise of a global culture, raising a child will mean having to become a global mother as well. As we plunge into the future, the rapidly disappearing cultural boundaries (as countries are bridged by the internet) will require you to adapt to cultures, norms, and practices that may have been carried over from other cultures. The exponential development seen in the internet will also require many other adjustments on the part of mothers. To protect children from the dangers of the internet, mothers will have to inculcate tech-savviness into their repertoire. With the popularity of work-at-home moms, many mothers can enjoy the best of both worlds. But with this comes the question of emotional and psychological fulfillment. Does having it all equate to happiness?

We can only surmise about motherhood in the 21st century. Not knowing what changes time will bring, one thing is certain, no matter how much norms and cultures evolve, a mother’s intuition, love, and dedication to her family is constant, unconditional, and always, always special.

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Lydia Quibbin-Jones is a full-time mom and wife, who works part-time at Hinkley Lighting Gallery. While juggling the responsibilities of family life and her job at Hinkley, she makes sure her young boys are well-raised and cared for. Lydia considers motherhood as a commitment and enjoys every minute of it.

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