A U.K. mom’s viral Facebook post is dispelling the notion that mothers have to conform to a specific image.
Blogger Gylisa Jayne of Cornwall shared a photo of herself with her almost 2-year-old daughter, Lily. In the caption, she offered some powerful thoughts about what motherhood really means.
“Someone said to me a few days ago, that she hadn’t thought I was the type ‘to be a Mum,’ Jayne wrote, adding that she initially shrugged the comment off. However, the woman’s words bothered her days later.
“It’s one of those common phrases, we label ‘Mother’ and have a stereotype in our heads,” she said, noting that this label comes with standards beyond simply caring for your child. Jayne wrote:
Mothers are meant to sacrifice every aspect of themselves, to fulfill their role.
Mothers aren’t allowed expensive bags, or shopping trips out, or to have a fresh manicure every few weeks.
Mothers aren’t meant to have tattoos, or coloured hair or piercings.
Mothers aren’t supposed to have histories of being reckless, feckless or just plain fun.
Mothers aren’t meant to have had a colourful life of experiences before they bear children, they are expected to forget their identity to raise someone else.
However, the blogger highlighted the value of “experiencing a bit of life” before becoming a parent. “Without navigating my own chequered past how could I possibly hope to guide a new soul through similar times?” she asked.
Ultimately, Jayne explained that motherhood is not an “exclusive club” requiring all members to look or act a certain way.
Instead, she said the motherhood community is filled with women from countless different backgrounds who take different approaches to parenting.
“So I might not fit someone else’s expectations of how I should be, but my daughter reckons I’m doing a pretty good job,” she concluded.
Jayne told HuffPost the comment that prompted her to write the post came from an old friend she hadn’t seen in awhile but that it was representative of comments and looks she’s gotten from people in the past.
While many “alternative” moms reacted positively to the post’s message that looks and experiences don’t define a mother, some more traditional or “stereotypical” mom figures said they couldn’t relate as much, Jayne noted.
The blogger told HuffPost she believes many dads deal with unfair labels too, as fathers are often thought of as helpless bumbling fools.
Jayne said she mainly wants mothers who read her post to know that you don’t have to lose any part of yourself to become a “good” mom.
“There isn’t a one size fits all to motherhood, quite the opposite ― everything that we experience in life, and the way we express ourselves are paramount to helping raise another individual,” she told HuffPost. “That’s what we want isn’t it? More individuals, instead of everyone being the same. It’s something to embrace. And something to love.”