MamaBlogger365 – Motherhood by Dorothy (Sue) Laqua

When the lights went out, it was always mom who was the last one that climbed into bed.

She had to wash the last dish or two, and scrub the floor from the day’s dirt that had come in. When the sun began to peek over the hill behind our house, mother was already boiling the water to make the oatmeal or malt o’ meal. She had the bacon sizzling in the pan before we ran down the stairs trying to beat the other children to the bathroom.

Being mom meant working longer hours then anyone else in the house. It meant calling the doctor, calling the dentist, calling the school, writing the notes, taking temperatures, washing clothes, cleaning rooms, making beds, washing windows, cooking meals, scrubbing floors, ironing clothes, dusting, beating the rugs, changing diapers, warming bottles, cooking meals, budgeting the house monies.

Often the only money mom called her own was the pin money she got for babysitting a neighbor’s child or selling a dozen or two of eggs. And even then most of that money did not go to meet her needs but to make the food budget or clothing budget go a bit farther.

Her relaxation only came when, once in a while, we went to grandma and grandpa’s house where grandma made the meal and cleaned up afterward. Or maybe on a Saturday, a wedding dance where the entire family would relax. Moms were the backbone of the family and not often did they get a thank you. Maybe on their birthday or on Christmas, when we all ran out to buy a cheap gift.

The Second Wave feminist movement sought to change all that, and we listed it as unpaid labor. We fought with our husbands, we fought in the courts, we fought the religions and most major institutions to give mom some relief and to improve the living the conditions of the majority of moms. To give them the right to use their own name and not Mrs. something or another. To give them the right to own land, and handle their own financial affairs.

That was 50 years or more ago and as I spend hours in college classes studying about the women who came before me and the women who still fight oppression, I start the list all over again about moms today. Mom wakes up early in the morning before anyone else and starts the water boiling, she is the last one in bed after cleaning the floors. She is the one traveling to and fro taking children to all the events and giving them opportunities she never had, she heats the bottles, changes the diapers, dusts, vacuums ( thank god she doesn’t have to iron anymore): in other words, moms are still moms no matter what our equality fight has done. But hopefully, 50 years later she at least hears “thank you for being my mom.”

BIO: About Dorothy Sue Laqua: I am a 51-year-old woman who is currently attending Minnesota State – Mankato and will be receiving my BS in Gender and Women Studies. I have worked in the human services field all of my life with Developmentally Delayed and Mentally Ill clientele. I earn a master’s degree in my field of study with an emphasis on Ethnic Studies, and would like to work in a reentry program for women who have been incarcerated. I believe these women are the most marginalized in our society, and understand that they are stuck in a revolving door with no way out of poverty. Many of them are mothers who have little chance of rejoining their family and making it safe. I know that being a mother and a feminist can sometimes be at separate ends of the spectrum as we try to protect our daughters and in the same breath give them the freedoms of choice and equality. I have 4 children, and two step-children. I fostered two grandchildren and helped raise three young multi-cultural women. I also have seven grandchildren to complete my family. My husband and I live in a small agricultural community and spend a great deal of time volunteering by helping older persons or persons with disabilities.

I have just opened up a new blog at http://breakingthesilence-sue.blogspot.com.

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Photo credit: oven by seemann|MorgueFile

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