I dream of the day when becoming a mother does not come with impossible expectations and an inevitable guilt trip.
I dream of an evolving view of motherhood that retains the tenderness and wish to nurture together with an honest recognition of the pressures of being a parent.
I dream of the day when new mothers are not told to “enjoy the newborn days – they go so quickly” but instead are told that amongst the difficult times there will be moments of magic to keep them going. A day when new mothers do not feel guilty for not enjoying the first weeks, months or even the first year of being a mother.
I dream of the day when women are no longer told that “the best place for them is to be at home with their children” and are told instead that the best place for them to be is wherever it is that they feel they should be.
I dream of the day when being a parent is not about spending all your time with your child, giving in to all their demands, and shielding them from all frustration and disappointment, but is instead about raising a child to be a decent human being, including developing the abilities to contribute to society, cope with difficult emotions, manage anger and sadness, empathise with fellow humans, and control impulses and delay gratification.
I dream of the day when becoming a mother is not all about breastfeeding, when there is support for mothers who were unable to continue breastfeeding and recognition that this beautiful function of our bodies does not always work out for everyone despite the best efforts.
I dream of the day when society recognises that becoming a mother does not automatically gift a woman with the infinite patience that a mother is reputed to have, and of the day when mothers learn to look after themselves first in order to be more patient with their children.
I dream of the day when being a good mother is not about creating elaborate artworks for school lunches, but is about instilling (by example) the values of respect for others, honesty, gratitude, a positive attitude, hard work, self-sufficiency, and nurturing relationships with others.
I dream of the day when being a mother is just one of the roles a woman may have, and that she has adequate time and energy to keep cultivating her other roles as well.
I dream of the day when removing the burden of societal pressures and “mother guilt” frees women to become even better mothers than they were before.