May 12th, 2013 Last Updated on: May 10th, 2013
This blog is dedicated to all Moms everywhere. Right now, go look in a mirror and say, “Ho-lah, you are BEAUTIFUL and AWESOME!” Now go tell your Mom, or call her (texting, Facebooking, or Tweeting doesn’t count), and tell her how beautiful and awesome she is. And if she has passed on, say a prayer of love and thanks to her because Moms can hear EVERYTHING.
Our ancestors have always been working mothers as evidenced by our traditional equipment such as cradleboards and other baby carriers. They were used so that women could safely secure their infants and still carry on their daily work. Additionally, supporting newborns so that they could be upright and view the world aided in their stimulation and growing awareness of the world. Most importantly they learned about Tribal life, behavior, and responsibilities by participating and observing. There was no need for day care centers or preschools.
As many of us Moms know, winter and late spring are busy times as we prepare our families, relatives, and friends for the upcoming powwow season. But it’s not just before-powwow-season or during-powwow-season or after-powwow-season; we always work hard at our jobs, in our homes, in school, and in our communities. We don’t question why, how, or if. We simply do it and we usually do it well and without complaint or an expectation of thanks or praise.
I just read an article by my friend Gyasi Ross about native women being “superwomen” and it’s time that we just let ourselves be women. I couldn’t agree more. I was raised with two parents but clearly, it was my mother who bore the greatest load in terms of her responsibilities of her job as a nurse, as a wife to my dad, and a mother to us four children. My earliest memories were of her running the wringer washer and hanging laundry to dry. She held steady employment for 54 years–unlike my father, whose employment was sometimes intermittent. She made sure we went to school, cooked dinner (we actually ate together at a table the entire time I grew up), and made sure we had clothes and all the other kid-comforts. We also took in several foster kids and family relatives when I was growing up. She was always there whether it was working on our farm, camping, cultural doings, sports events, and everything else. She is still very much alive and healthy at almost 77 and I know that her lifetime of hard work and love is what has made me what I am today.
But as Gyasi so aptly puts it, we do need to change our attitudes so that we women don’t have to continue taking on superhuman persona. My two daughters and my stepson are the product of divorced parents and I admit I’ve taken on “Superwoman” attributes at one time or another (such as staying up all night to finish that new powwow regalia). Now that my daughters are single mothers themselves, they’ve had a taste of what I experienced. But let’s be reasonable. No child “needs” an xBox at 5, their own laptop at 10, and wheels when they are 16. Nor do they need Pizza Hut or McDonald’s every week and the latest Rocawear and Baby Phat fashions on demand. Not having your every need indulged will not kill you and I have three grown children as proof. Additionally, children need to be taught how to work at an early age such as washing dishes, doing laundry, cooking meals, and so forth. They need to learn the value of working for something so that it will have more meaning. And that’s how they will become better parents for their children when the time comes, and we moms/grandmas/aunties/sisters/daughters don’t have to do everything all the time.
On Sunday relax, indulge yourself in some way, and please don’t do any Superwoman feats on Mother’s Day.
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