Friday, April 23, 2010

Motherhood Is Not a Woman's Sole Purpose: More Thoughts On Octomom's Oprah Revelations and Self-Mythology

The following is an excerpt from my post at on Nadya Suleman's Oprah appearance. While I never felt a desire to have more children to fill a void in my life, I did once realize I was overly-invested in a child's life and using that child's experiences to compensate for something else.
To me ... it's possible for a woman to be overly-invested in raising children.

I left college to get married and didn't finish my degree until 16 years later, and while I have children whom I love and for whom I would do almost anything, I recall a period in my life when it occurred to me I was too enmeshed in my daughter's academic achievement. I was living vicariously through her school life.

When my daughter was in the fourth grade, she had an awful teacher who did not challenge students' skill levels. I still say, "Yes, an awful teacher." While I kept my anger in check in public, I developed a seething rage toward this teacher and questioned that emotion. I realized something must be missing in my personal life separate from whatever fulfillment I found in being a wife and mother, and I needed to address that hole. I decided the root of my rage was regret that I had not completed college. So, I went back to school, finishing my degree at age 36.

Yes, we should be good mothers, but motherhood does not annihilate self. Mother is a role with heavy responsibility and duties that should be executed with love. It's not a sole purpose for a woman's living, however, in my opinion. I know there are plenty of women who disagree, but I can't say motherhood is a woman's sole purpose for living because that would mean I was saying women who aren't mothers have no purpose. That would be a lie.
File this under more on self-mythology as well. Read full post at


Max Reddick said...

I think the healthy self embraces all facets of its identity. It does not overly favor this aspect of its identity or that aspect of its identity but learns to view each of its various identities from the proper perspective.

msladydeborah said...

To me, there are all manner of ways to fill the void in your life. What makes the difference is what is selected to provide fulfillment. It could be food, material items, over commitments to different causes.

My identity as a mother was difficult for me to embrace. Primarily because I had my own way of working that in my life and it was part old school and part new school. That didn't set well with some of the females in our family because their ideas of mothering and being female were rooted somewhere entirely different. It was a struggle for years for me because I refuse to give in to their way of thinking on how I should be.