A Thank You Note to My Mom

I feel fairly confident that the majority of American women can relate when I say nobody drives me crazy like my mom does. In fact, on occasion, I don’t feel that "crazy" is a strong enough word so much as this woman has the power to send me into a state of complete, mind-boggling, off-the-wall, totally-bonkers insanity. My father will attest to that.

With that said, I wouldn’t trade her for any other mother in the world. Yes, we’ve had our differences, but every day my mom gives me another reason to be thankful that I have her. To give a few examples: her undying love, endless support, pride, five emails a day, and, of course … life.

With March being "Women’s History Month," I started looking for inspiration from many of the female figures that came before me, who have been revered and honored for their work. During my journey, I happened to stumble upon another reason to give my mom her due. I found this quote from feminist pin-up girl, Gloria Steinem, "Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That’s their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood."

My very first thought after reading this was, "Thank you, Mom." Unlike the many deserved "thanks" that have gone unvoiced, I would like to make sure that this one is heard. So thank you, Mom. Thank you for not raising me with the victim mentality that is the core of modern radical feminism. Thank you for never telling me that I will face only hardship and rejection because of my gender. Thank you for seeing only limitless potential in me, for thinking I’m wonderful, talented, brilliant. At the same time, thank you for never excusing poor grades or unacceptable behavior as the result of a great, inevitable bias the world has had against me from the start.

Thank you for never suggesting to me the ridiculous notion that I should rebel against logic and reason because they fall under the domain of men. The first time I ever faced the notion that all that is neutral in thinking, writing, and speaking is actually "patriarchal" was in college. By that time, thanks to you, Mom, I had already accumulated enough sense to know not to take literary critics like poet Adrianne Rich, who said, "No woman is really an insider in the institutions fathered by masculine consciousness. When we allow ourselves to believe we are, we lose touch with parts of ourselves defined as unacceptable by that consciousness," at face value.

Thank you, Mom, for being such a wonderful example, for showing me that a woman can work outside the home, raise a family, fix the TV when it breaks, and still let a man pump her gas. Thank you for crying sometimes, but never just to get your way.

I suppose I could have easily grown up to be a very negative and bitter person who spent most of my life complaining that I had been given a raw deal, but I didn’t. I know that in today’s world, gender bias has not been totally erased. I know that the playing field still isn’t completely level, and never will be…for either sex. My male counterparts will never have the reproductive responsibilities that I have, nor will they have the advantages that come with motherhood.

On that note, I would also like to say thanks to my mom for waiting until she was married to have my brother and me. Thanks for doing everything in your power to make sure I had anything that would make my life better, including a father. Despite how his oppressive patriarchal fascism has stunted my true greatness, he’s handy to have around when I need cash (Just kidding, Dad). One of Gloria Steinem’s most famous quotes, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle," comes to mind, and I would like to say thank you, Mom, for realizing that, while it is not always possible and not completely necessary to have a positive male figure in a child’s life, it is an incredible asset. Thank you for knowing, despite Ms. Steinem’s claims, that women and men share the same relationship to fish and bicycles as radical feminists do to common sense.

I could have easily grown up to be a very bitter person who sees the world as a threatening, disgusting, and evil place, but I didn’t. Despite all its flaws, I know that the world is beautiful, full of wonderful people, some of whom, happen to have a Y-chromosome. Thank you, Mom, for equipping me to enjoy life, not in spite of, or because of, the fact that I am a woman.