On having a feminist mother
by Malavika BalachandranKatie Roiphe's controversial article on feminism and motherhood sparked a heated debate on the role of women as mothers and whether this really should be mutually exclusive from success in a career. While I am not a mother, I am a child, and I have seen my mother's struggle to balance both.
My mother, raised in a traditional Indian household, was only encouraged to become a housewife. While she has a bachelor's degree, it is a bachelor's degree in home economics. She spent her time in college taking classes on child psychology and cooking. Shortly after, she got married, moved to the United States, and eventually had two daughters.
While my mother adores us more than anything, every day she regrets that her mother didn't push her to become more than a housewife. When my sister and I started school, my mother also went to school, taking accounting classes at LSU, and soon got a job as an accountant with the university. Even though my mother worked, she didn't have to give up being a good mother. She was able to blend both aspects of her life, and thus my sister and I largely grew up on the LSU campus. Instead of staying at home during the summer, my sister and I participated in the youth programs that LSU offered every summer. By the end of high school, I spent half my day at LSU, taking classes and working in my mother's office as a student worker. We even ate lunch together every day. In fact, her work enabled my sister and me to spend more time with her as we got older.
Moreover, the only thing my mother wants is for my sister and me to be independent. She has always pushed us to pursue our dreams. My mother does want us to become wives and mothers one day, but she never wants to see us relying on a husband for survival. She wants us both to be independent and successful in our own right. She has always stood by us and without my mother, we would not have accomplished all that we have achieved, as well as all that we will achieve in the future. Although my mother misses me with all her heart, she is so proud of the fact that I am able to study at one of the best universities in the country. And every day, I am so grateful to my mother, for shaping me into the person I am today.
So if you think that feminists can't be good mothers, I think you are very mistaken. My mother is just one woman among many who prove that you don't have to choose between work and motherhood, and you can succeed at both.