My post today is about Mother’s Day. Before I write what I really want to say, I want to first acknowledge that for some humans this holiday can be painful and I want to honor that. For some, it feels like another manifestation of overconsumption and unhealthy capitalism and I have mixed feelings about societal norms around and the broader implications of this holiday.
And yet, this is also one of my favorite holidays of the year. It reminds me of the beautiful and powerful work mothers do every single day. It’s a reminder that I am worthy of my own love and belonging even before expecting that from anyone else. It’s a reminder to savor and celebrate the abundance, privilege, and blessing I have to be a mother to two (sometimes wild) humans that I have the honor of calling my children.
When I worked at Linkedin, Shannon Brayton who was the CMO at the time sent out a simple but powerful email every year wishing all the mothers.
I know for many that email was incredibly meaningful – it had an impact because it made us feel seen, heard, valued, and respected for the work we did not just for Linkedin but for all that we did in our homes, with our families, and our communities at large.
I’d often get to the end of the email and both smile and wipe a tear from my cheeks.
It is 2022 and we still live in a world where a mother’s rights, her work as a caregiver, and her place in our society don’t get the respect it rightly deserves. The fact that there is such a steep motherhood penalty at work, the lack of acknowledgment for all the invisible labor that mothers do to keep our institutions afloat and thriving, and that the standards of excellence at work and at home are so different for mothers and fathers deeply angers, hurts and saddens me. Yet, I also see change and hope and believe that each of us has a role to play to be a part of the solution which is my motivation to do some of the work that I do in the world.
On the eve of this mother’s day, I’d invite all mothers reading this to take a moment and savor and celebrate all that you are and all that you do – for showing up for what matters even when it’s tough and our systems are unfair, for being the foundation on which so much of our society rests on and for being brave and wise leaders in the world that desperately needs your voice, your talents and your leadership no matter what role or title you hold in an organization including being a leader in your home.
And finally, I celebrate the mothers who came before us who paved the way to enable all that mothers are able to do today, for the seat at the table both at work and at home that was almost unthinkable decades ago. Yes, there is a lot that needs to be done and while we continue to do the difficult work to give mothers the respect they rightfully deserve, let’s also celebrate the wonderful work of each mother and how far we have come as a modern, human species to fuel us to do better.