Why is it that motherhood is an anomaly in our social structure? Why is motherhood such an under-mined, invisible asset and not treated like the golden resource that it is? Because it’s value is immeasurable, not able to be monetized? Does it only count if it can be boiled down to its net worth?
Perhaps motherhood is outside the box because it was there before the box was built, and the blokes that built the box just took it for granted.
Mothering is like the sunset; important, always been there, we need it, we love it, it’ll keep happening regardless. But where it differs is that when we admire a sunset, the sunset doesn’t care or hear, it makes no difference to the sun. Mothers however need to be valued, recognized, appreciated, in real terms. How are we doing this?
Current social structures aren’t so good for mothers so we have an opportunity. If we get behind and foreground the importance of mothers in social health we would go a long way to addressing our larger social, mental and physical health issues. What do we need to do as a society so that our mothers and therefore our families and children thrive too?
Maternal mental health has some funding to support those in crisis, as with Post Natal Distress. A handful of scattered, disconnected volunteer organisations struggle along hand-to-mouth putting out free workshops, support for those in desperate circumstances, or put out simple magazines dominated by advertising and tips on how to avoid nappy rash, what makes a good lunchbox, and where to take your family holiday. But it’s not enough. Maternal mental health services for ALL mothers, education for ALL mothers, support connection and care for ALL mothers, should be as big a focus in our system as the military, bigger even.
Imagine if government centralized the care of mothers, the role of mothers and valued the input of mothers into our social health? Imagine if mothers were really supported, really valued, seen as central contributors to solutions to ALL of our societal ills, the ones that rack up our biggest bills; obesity, mental health, suicide, depression, education, dental health, literacy, domestic violence, drug abuse… Imagine if mothers were valued as first teachers, who primarily educating in language development, literacy, imagination, care for the environment, connection, sustainable relationships in work and life, exercise, knowledge of law, science, maths, nature, anatomy. It’s all there, happening every day, mothers invisibly caring for our future people, the ones that’ll inherit the earth, and look after you when you’re dribbling in your age-care bed. I tell you, my kids would nail that job, because they know about love, and being alongside.