Cecilia Rosales Ph.D.

On mothers and motherhood

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For the first time, I’ll celebrate Mothers’ Day without my mother. 

As I mourn her recent passing, I’m comforted in knowing our bond lives on – although I’m also haunted by the time I wasted questioning some of the most important life-lessons she tried to teach me.

Grief is a wildcard emotion; it magnifies the hindsight bias rendering the bereaved vulnerable.

In processing my loss, and its accompanying sense of vulnerability, I’ve indulged my melancholy by rummaging through mother’s old photographs and long-forgotten mementos of my childhood. Much like a child learning how to ride a bike without training wheels, this is an exercise in letting go and holding on.

This is something Robrt Pela knows all too well. In this month’s cover story, he poignantly narrates the experience of losing his mother, one day at a time, as she battles Alzheimer’s disease and slowly forgets the life she lived. This is the gut-wrenching and heart-rending story of a son’s efforts to alleviate a painful, early farewell. 

In My Perspective, you will find the story of a generous mother whose children were conceived in her heart. Martha Duran is brimming with excitement with the recent adoption of three boys to whom she’s vowed to provide unconditional love and a “forever home.” Congrats to the Duran family!

Mothers and motherhood have been a hot topic lately. Last month, when democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Mitt Romney is not connecting with women voters, she inadvertently unleashed a firestorm. She quoted Romney as saying, “My wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues and, when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.”  Then Rosen added, “Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the type of economic issues that a majority of women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and why do we worry about their future.” 

The media led a riot. The national conversation at one point reached 250 tweets per minute on the Rosen-Romney ruckus. Rosen, a mother herself, was criticized for demeaning stay-at-home moms. For her part, Ann Romney told Fox news, “My career choice was to be a mother, and I think all of us need to know that we need to respect choices that women make.” Rosen apologized, but the banter continued. Sigh.

Politicos and pundits from the gamut of ideological perspectives chimed in, mostly commending the unpaid, hard work of stay-at-home moms. Let’s just hope the national conversation continues, this time focusing on issues beyond the trite “mommy wars.” 

Here’s to all the mothers, the ones who (whether by choice or necessity) work at home and the ones who also work out of the home, the soccer and yoga moms, the tiger moms, the grizzly mammas, and even las mamás cuervo.

To all, feliz día de las madres.

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