Let’s be honest ladies, we aren’t always known for being each other’s champions. We too often place each other into categories and anybody who is out – is out. It’s like Mean Girls we don’t grow up from. Apparently, we haven’t matured out of high school cliques simply because we no longer have history exams or pass notes to cute boys.
The craziest part: all this female division, judgment, and rivalry is so often based upon reproduction. A basic scientific truth is that we can grow babies within our bodies. We have sex, then sometimes a human-creature-baby emerges in an otherwise useless body part: The Uterus. Then that human-creature-baby grows eyelashes and fingernails and eventually escapes The Uterus. Our lives are forever changed and forever divided by that truth. Women are classified by our relation to this scientific phenomenon of birth.
The Stay-at-Home-Mom and the The Working Mom camps.
The “I never want kids!” camp.
The Organic, Baby-Wearing Mom camp.
The “Let the kids eat GMOs, I did and survived” camp.
The Unwed Mother camp.
The “Oops, the condom broke” camp.
The “I want kids, but can’t” camp.
The Adoptive Mother camp.
The Abortive Mother camp.
The Young Mother and the Old Mother camps.
The Grandma camp.
The Mother-in-Law camp.
The “I’d Rather Be an Auntie” camp.
The “Maybe I want kids someday, but stop asking me when that will be” camp.
The I just have sex because I love it camp.
We are categorized as women based on our mommy (or not-mommy) status and, all too often, are judged for the camp we’re in.
I don’t have kids and I don’t want them right now. I believe in birth control, lots of it. But I might want kids someday. I can see myself being strict when it comes to education, lax when it comes to cleaning up. I can see myself ordering out most meals, hiring a nanny so I can work some, and caring more about messy, glittery art projects than paying bills on time. All of this might be entirely untrue, I might surprise myself. Or I may never have a biological child. I honestly don’t know.
But this I do know: My worth to this universe does not hang solely on my Mommy-status or lack thereof. My worth does not depend entirely on what my Uterus does or does not do. Neither does yours.
We each have our own stories, every woman is an individual. But our individual stories weave into a beautiful tapestry of interesting textures and colors. Motherhood (in all its various modes) or lack of motherhood (for all its various reasons) are not the ONLY aspects of our lives.
Mothers are important and special and wonderful. But no woman is ever only a mother. In the same way no man is ever only a father. We have complex, interesting lives. And within those lives are various chapters. When we boil down our lives to one aspect, we lose out on the whole story. And we make lots of room for attacks, judgement, and unhealthy competition.
In Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, Amy shares her motto: “Good for her, not for me.” This should be our response to the women around us. Good for her that she adopted that baby from China. Good for her that she decided to have twelve kids. Good for her that cooks every single organic meal. Good for her that she works that killer job instead. Good for her that she decided to remain childless. Good for her that she fosters. Good for her that she uses breast milk OR uses formula (that means she’s FEEDING HER CHILD!). Good for her that she wants to wait a long time before having kids. Good for her.
You can know with every ounce of your being that her decision is not for you. And you can still extend a hug instead of an eye roll.
Here’s the bottom line: I don’t want to be judged by my Uterus. And I’m guessing you don’t want to be either.
Let’s cut it out.