The Mommy Vortex: Ode to Moms
From the time we are little girls, we experience so many ups and downs with our fellow females. We often read about the “mean girls,” about the bullying and about being competitive, and when we’re older, about some women making it harder for other women coming up through the ranks. The media lavishes attention on all the drama of women’s relationships with each other, so frequently spun in a negative and demeaning manner.
So, with Mother’s Day fast approaching, I think it’s a perfect opportunity to change our focus for a moment, and reflect on what an inspiration we women – we moms – are to each other and to the world around us.
Despite all of our differences as women, moms have one thing in common: we are all warriors for our children in so many ways. And our stories bind us.
I, for one, could not have survived my pregnancies, the days of early parenting, and even the current daily grind, without my fellow moms. And I don’t just mean those women in my inner circle; no, I am so often inspired by complete strangers: women around the country and around the world, who do battle for their children and their families every day.
There are the moms who fight so hard to get pregnant or to adopt a child; the moms who lay on bed rest for months willing their unborn child to a healthy delivery; the moms who sit in the NICU for hours, shepherding their fragile infants toward health and home; the moms who stay awake all night with a sick or colicky baby, and the moms who struggle to nurse their little ones.
There are the moms who struggle to get their special needs children into needed therapies; the moms who fight to make their kids eat broccoli, and fight even harder to make sure their kids don’t take drugs; the moms who battle on behalf of their sick children, never giving up on a cure or a better quality of life. There are the moms who work tirelessly to put food on the table, to keep their children safe from predators, and to get their kids clean water. There are the moms who have to leave their children too soon; the moms who have to bury their babies.
There are the moms who sacrifice new clothing so they can pay their kids’ tuition; the moms who have no time for a trip to the salon; the moms who would give anything to trade places with their cancer-stricken child. There are the moms who cover the walls with their kids’ artwork, and proudly wear pasta-bracelets as jewelry. There are the moms that make sure their kids’ winter jackets are zipped up at the school bus stop, and the moms who comfort their teens’ broken hearts. There are the moms who care for their own sick mothers; the moms who care for their husbands and their partners; the moms who put everyone else ahead of themselves.
We are all moms who juggle and balance, everyday, fueled by not much more than the sound of our children’s laughter.
And then there are the aunts, grandmothers, and friends who act as surrogate moms when we cannot be there for our own children. We come together as a village to protect and guide our children, never asking for anything in return. We soldier on.
Over the years, I have learned so much from the mothers around me. I have watched in awe as my peers battled difficult pregnancies, endured challenging births, and tirelessly cared for both sick and special needs children. If you’d have asked any of us at age fifteen if we could handle the everyday pressures of being a good mom – never mind the unique challenges so many moms are faced with – most of us would have said no. And yet, as moms, we just do it. We plow ahead, finding strength that we never even knew we had. We grow right alongside of our children.
I can’t help but think that we are more tightly bound together by our shared experiences than we are separated by our differences.
Judging each other for our choices as women and as mothers is so counterproductive to who we are and what we collectively need to do for our children. It is so important that we remember how much common ground we stand on; it is imperative that we consciously support each other in every way that we can.
So, on this Mother’s Day, a special thanks to all you moms out there who continue to be an inspiration to me, to each other, and to the world around us.
Rosemarie Coppola-Baldwin is a practicing attorney and a dedicated mother of two children. A Georgetown University graduate, Rosemarie has practiced law at a major New York City law firm and for the City of New York. Rosemarie has been a guest lecturer on women’s civil rights and related legal issues at St. John’s University (New York), and offers pro bono legal services to a variety of entities.