It's not yet 6am, and I am ticking today's to-dos off the list. I add mayonnaise to the mental grocery list and feel life breathe hot on my neck. These past 11 years, I've given birth to five babies. Most days, the responsibilities heap like laundry and sit heavy on my chest while the sun sleeps.
Motherhood is hard work. It is a sacred calling as well. So I can appreciate Michelle Obama's recent remarks at the Democratic Convention. "My most important title is still 'mom-in-chief," declared the First Lady. I can also be made to agree with the woman who tweeted post-Convention that she longed "for the day when powerful women don't need to assure Americans that they're moms above all else."
With her claim as "Mom-in-Chief," the First Lady may have regrettably played into the hands of a society that demands performance reviews from its mothers. Although we do not agree on the standards to which we judge our public moms, it is true that we feel the presumptive imperative to do so. As discussed here on Her.meneutics, Marissa Mayer, new hired CEO of Yahoo!, was both hailed and criticized when she announced in July that her maternity leave would be a "few weeks long" and that she would "work throughout it." Ann-Marie Slaughter, with her Atlantic article, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," inspired simultaneous fury and applause when she admitted to having made professional concessions for her family's sake. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, mother of two, has made herself national hero—and villain—with her public entreaties for more women to fill leadership roles in the workplace. The commentary on Mayer, Slaughter, Sandberg, and Obama are only the most recent examples of how we publicly scrutinize our moms.
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