Balance between motherhood and empowered womanhood

Por Cristina Arola

Empower From en- and power 2.

  1. tr. To make a disadvantaged individual or social group powerful or strong. U. t. c. prnl.
  2. tr. To give someone authority, influence, or knowledge to do something. U. t. c. prnl.

When I am offered the opportunity to write this article, for which I am enormously grateful, and the topic “Balancing Motherhood and Empowerment” is proposed to me, I need to turn to the dictionary and really understand what “empowered woman” means.

Most of the time when I hear this word, it refers to feminism that advocates for the empowerment of the entrepreneurial woman, the businesswoman, the one who breaks the glass ceiling or keeps fighting to break it.

In short. I went to the dictionary to look up the true meaning of the verb “empower” and my surprise was to discover that the word itself defines quite well what it means to be a mother, or at least what it has meant to me these nine years that I have dedicated almost exclusively to being a full-time mother-woman.

When my son Oscar was born in 2013, I had been living in a foreign country for only a couple of years, where for bureaucratic reasons I could not work and where I had no life of my own, but shared the life of my partner, who was the main reason why I moved there. Thanks to being a woman-mom, I met a group of wonderful women and I was lucky enough to make them my partners in experience and share with them the inhospitable adventures of having a baby for weeks, months, years….

Being a mother made me powerful because it brought with it a tribe of “mother women” who acted as lifeguards in the many moments when I thought I was falling off the tightrope of having a child.

Being a mother made me strong because being a mother is an indescribable journey. A high and often a low too, but a wonderful journey after all.

 Being a mother gave me the authority to believe (at least 85% of the time) that I was the best mother for my children. Being a mother filled me with knowledge I didn’t know before, a continuous learning where every day I learned (and still learning 9 years later) a lot of new (and some unimaginable) things, pains, joys… and many many many sleepless nights.

So, I ask myself, if as we see in the definition of empowering and what motherhood represents, being a mother is in itself being an empowered woman.

 Why is it that many women-mothers feel that they are not valuable enough in this society? Why is it that in this day and age when motherhood is mostly lived in solitude, with all that that entails, we do not give more credit to women-mothers? Why does an empowered woman have to be something beyond the very fact of being a woman-mother?

Maybe it’s just a misunderstanding, and maybe we just don’t understand what it really means to be an ’empowered woman’.

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