When I got pregnant, I did what many mothers do: I had the sudden, astounding realisation that I had absolutely no clue about being a mum.
I didn’t know what it meant, how to raise happy children, how to raise children full stop.
It wasn’t so much the practical aspects of raising kids – feeding and clothing them – but how to do the best parenting job possible. How could I be the best mother to a human being whose emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health would be a direct consequence of my actions?
To top it off, my excitement was also mixed with overwhelm and – if I’m honest – dread at leaving my ‘old’ life behind. I’d only been in a happy marriage for a year, and I was finally in great place in my career – not a few years before, I’d gone from earning a £22k salary to starting a six-figure business almost overnight.
I was particularly attached to these two things because I’d recently spent four years in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship where I had no control over any aspect of my life – from my thoughts (it literally felt like he was inside my head and knew everything I was thinking) and my money, to whom I saw and didn’t see.
Having a baby now could jeopordise my new found happiness and freedom. Or so I thought.
I needed direction.
I sought help from the first place that came to me: the Baha’i Writings. In it, I found one particular quote from Abdu’l Baha which had a colossal impact. It was:
“Motherhood is the most noble of professions”
This quote changed everything I knew or thought about motherhood. It wasn’t just something that you do, something that was expected, an instinct, etc, IT WAS A PROFESSION. A profession?!
And a most noble one, at that.
Well, that changed things. I no longer began to attach so much importance to my career. Being a mother was a profession. Why was this thought so mind blowing to me? Well, let’s take a look at how much society values motherhood. Erm, it doesn’t.
Women are told that they “should be well educated. Have a good job and be successful in their careers. Look amazing the whole time whilst doing it. And if you want to be a mum, well, that’s great – but get your body and your profession back on track ASAP, dear”. In other words, motherhood is a side note.
To me, it’s no wonder so many women have such a hard time after they become mothers. If their role isn’t valued in society, they lose their sense of purpose – which is all tied up in career and body image. (Note, this is not to say, don’t work, or that there’s anything wrong with working and being a mum – I had to go back to work very soon after having kids but fortunately, being my own boss, I was able to insert huge flexibility into my work/family life).
If you really think about it, the current system doesn’t care much for families or children. If it did, it would allow mothers to stay with their children as long as needed, it would applaud the work of mothers, support them back into work or retraining schemes, and would assist financially… This is a subject I could rave about for years, so I’m going to put the brakes on.
This is just to say, if you’re a mum, know how important your role is. The world may not, and I know that’s frustrating. And I know it’s easy to get pulled into the belief that being a mum isn’t that big a deal. But it is. Seriously, being the CEO of coca-cola or raising a human being? No contest.
I went on a little sidetrack there. The other thing about the word profession that really struck me was this: you take a job seriously, you practice your craft everyday, you invest in CPD – continuous professional development – i.e. courses, on the job training, reviews, acknowledgment of progress and areas to level-up, and so on. And, of course, for anyone who is a mum, you’ll know it’s more than a full-time job. It’s a role for life. And the most important one since you’re raising a human being.
CPD isn’t available for mums though. Or, at least, hasn’t been. That’s where mums all over the world are stepping in to share what they know and collectively support other mothers. It’s a reason I created Such a Gritty Girl – because the system needs to change.
Next time you think ‘I’m just a mum’, rethink it. You’re a superhero to kids. You’re their role model. What you do matters more than any job, ever.
Fellow mother from another mother,