Dear 2016…

Recently I was with a group of young mothers.

Some worked outside the home and some were stay-at-home moms.

While I sat there listening to them, it dawned on me that they are still struggling with the issues we struggled with back in the 80s and 90s.

Just when I think “we have come a long way, baby” I have to ask the question: Have we?

So I penned this letter to “2016.”

My hope is that it will push us a little bit further toward a culture that will have more compassion and understanding for each other.

Enjoy. Ponder. Reflect. And feel free to share with a woman you want to support today.

 

Dear 2016,

You are a brand new year and I want you to start off with a pronouncement, a declaration if you will.

It’s about women—mothers and stepmothers and women who choose not be mothers.

It’s for all women everywhere.

 

2016, let’s first give a break to the mothers/stepmothers among us.

Let’s give every single mother permission to work outside the home or work inside the home. Guilt free. Take away the g-word and replace it with understanding and empathy for women regardless of the path they choose.

News Flash 2016:  Some mothers are “better” mothers when they have a full-time or part-time vocation separate from “mother” and a “wife.”

News Flash 2016:  Some mothers are “better” mothers when they feel a call to be at home, to make their vocation motherhood (maybe even home school their children).

Both types of mothers can embrace identities for themselves outside of “mother” or “wife.” Both acknowledge they did a good job. Both are proud of the sacrifices they made to get their children where they are today.

Both embrace life and they go on to lead fulfilled lives after their children leave the nest.

They know that—no matter how old their children are—they can still claim proudly, “I am still your mother.”

You see, 2016, “better” is defined by the mother herself, not by culture, and certainly not by the media.  “Better” is not defined by the well-meaning remarks of friends and family.

It is the mom’s choice.

If she is fulfilled and happy and energized going to work every day and being a mother, that is her “better.”

If she is fulfilled and happy and energized by staying at home with her children every day, that is her “better.”

And get this: BOTH “betters” are great… fabulous… perfect.

It’s time we as a society stopped judging moms.

Right now.

2016, it stops with you.

Working moms don’t produce Unibombers. Stay at home Moms don’t produce Einsteins.

Stay at home Moms don’t eat bon-bons and watch soap operas all day. Working moms don’t neglect their kids.

Whoever came up with such notions?

So, 2016, let’s officially give every mother permission to be her best self. Find out who that is.

Choose it. Own it.

Because the best thing a mom can do for her kids is to take care of her kid’s mother.

 

2016, let’s next give a break to those women who choose, for whatever reason, not to be mothers.

Let these women also give themselves permission to be whomever they choose to be.

For the exact same reasons I gave above.

It’s a tall order, but we know you can do it!

You can empower all women everywhere to give themselves permission from this day forth to find who they were meant to be and to go for it.

No more living in the past. No more living in guilt. Let’s look to our future.

 

Finally, 2016, get this: All it takes is love.

And you know what, 2016? We women are wired that way. Every woman has the capacity in her heart to designate the right amount of time to love enough… to love her children, her family, her work, her friends, and her world.  We are amazing creatures.

We can do this! It starts now.

Sincerely,

Janet

(One happy working mom who proudly made the choice to be fulfilled as a career woman, mother, step-mother, community volunteer, and wife all at once.)

p.s. – It’s also time we women stopped judging ourselves. Kick guilt to the curb!

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