By Jane Clayson Johnson
One day, I received a phone call from a friend I hadn’t seen in quite some time. This friend spent a few minutes telling me about her exciting career, then asked me the dreaded question: “So, what have you been up to?”
Frantically, I tried to think of something to tell her. Should I tell her about my potty-training woes? Our recent afternoon at the park? My daughter’s triumphs at Kindergarten? “Well,” I said lamely, “I’m a stay-at-home mom.”
There was a long pause. “Aren’t you lucky!” my friend finally said brightly.
The conversation pretty much died at that point, but it illustrates my point: mothers, especially full-time moms, don’t get the respect they deserve. To be honest, most days, I don’t even respect the job myself. It’s hard for me to find fulfillment in the endless rounds of diapers, tantrums and cleaning.
Jane Clayson Johnson is the former co-host of The Early Show on CBS. At ABC News, she covered national and international stories for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and Good Morning America. She gave it all up to be a full-time mother. She wrote I Am a Mother to encourage mothers to be proud of their role, to stand up and say, with dignity, “I am a mother!”
Johnson uses numerous inspirational scriptures, quotes and stories as well as her own experiences to laud the importance of mothers. These serve as a great pep talk, but since I already know how important mothers are (thank you very much!), I found the most wisdom in a chapter titled “Walking in Each Other’s Shoes.” In that chapter, Johnson encourages women not to judge one another; an important reminder, I think, as battles rage over working vs. staying at home and breastfed vs. bottle-fed and the number of children to have. Sometimes we women are our own worst enemies, and it shouldn’t be that way.
I think it will be a long time before the world respects moms the same way it reveres doctors and lawyers and actors, but perhaps Johnson’s suggestion is a good place to start: stand up proudly and announce to the world that I am a mother! Maybe if we learn to respect ourselves, others will start to respect us, too. 3 stars
DISCLAIMER: Most everyone I know loves this book and gives it five stars. The only reason I didn’t is because I am a crusty, cynical, evil woman and I don’t enjoy inspirational books as much as most people.