Walking Away from Motherhood

Over the years through my own experience, being with other mothers, observations of the social structure of motherhood and joining the dots through education, I have become entirely suspicious of the concept and construct of Motherhood. I consider it a MOTHERHOOD INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX with the sole purpose to perpetuate the moralised suppression of women as mothers. I have written about this before.

This article in The Australian Left Reveiw was written in 1972. Written a few years after I was born.

Psychologically not much has changed. When a woman becomes a mother she is put under the scrutiny and microscope of the lore of motherhood. She is measured and judged by these lores, that though they may morph in their packaging still firmly dissect up what it is to be a mother into tiny pieces.

The premise is that there is a scale:


and you will be measured in accordance with this scale and then you will be critiqued and judged accordingly. It is this scale, created for the purpose of policing women as mothers, that is used to justify the perpetuation of the industrialised world and the capitalist economy as well as the politics of controlling women’s bodies.

And yes men as father’s are harmed and miss out also because of this scale, and women have now internalised this myth of motherhood so entirely to think it was their idea and it is ‘right’ and ‘good’. Look at all the motherhood ‘influencers’ perpetuating the experience of inadequacy amongst mothers, who push themselves harder and harder to get it right.

Fuck you Gwenyth Paltrow and your GOOP empire.

It is entirely a modern day construct that puts the mother central to all blame and obligation of raising children. This article is a 30+ page read and well worth it for anyone wanting to explore the premise of modern motherhood. I highly encourage it as food for thought.


What I find interesting as a soundbite is how there was a consideration of children being put into early childcare to allow them the independence from the mother for their own wellbeing {see maternal overprotection} and this was suggested to be created as free. Now we live in a society where mostly both parents need to work to afford their own children and now childcare is privatised and so costly that it creates a dog eating it’s own tail experience. Women continually say how guilty they feel about putting their children into early child care { see maternal deprivation}.

Since this article was written there is a phenomenal rise in single parenting because of the right for women to own their own money. In the Gough Whitlam era women left their underwhelming marriages in droves once they could get a free education and have their own bank accounts.

However mothers are largely assumed still to be obligated to provide the lion share of child care { see Maternal Deprivation }. Women as mother’s are expected to pull rabbits out of their hats, turning water into wine, or turning scraps of Child Support money from part time fathers and spit out well functioning children with all their needs met. Any dereliction {term used in the article} of children is put squarely on the mother’s shoulders.

After speaking with my love yesterday and inquiring into how men as father’s experience and process the challenges of fatherhood, and the lores that father’s are expected to uphold, I am again convinced that men as father’s do not have a similar scale nor are they dissected under the microscope of a suppressed morality as women as mother’s are.

MY CONCLUSION has been and continues to be that women as mother’s and non mother’s need to deconstruct this internalised scale in every crevice of our psychology.

* To be a mother is not the ultimate summit of being a woman.

* We need to divorce ourselves and each other from the obligation to explain and justify our choices and our experience and instead be in a compassionate conversation about what it means to travers mothering as a job.

* We need to stop dissecting ourselves and each other under the microscope of this moral suppressive scale, deeming each other as either good or bad mothers in comparison to a benchmark that is in itself a complete lie.

* We need to stop romanticising and idolising mothering, stop lying about how hard mothering is.

* We need to stop the righteous self importance of mothering that comes from this moralised ‘good’.

* We need to walk entirely away from the pursuit of meeting the expectations of the hood of mothering and hold ourselves to a far more personal compassionate account.

* We also need to hold men as fathers to account and not perpetuate the abdication of their involvement or weaponise our children for personal power and control.

* We need to give up the myth of martyrdom of the good mother that impoverishes entire generations.

* Stop watching Supernanny and the like.

* And of course we need to rally for equity in all sectors of society and stop allowing ourselves collectively and in the relationships with the father and family to be economically invisible and presenting exhaustion and poverty, as ultraism.

* Women as mother’s and women not as mothers, as well as men need to debase this suppressive structure of Motherhood.

I have found it has started with my own work, inquiry, questioning, observations, joining the dots, changing my thoughts, what I agree with, what I no longer agree with, what I no longer will participate in and my willingness to give up anywhere I find the moral ‘good’ embedded in my psyche.

I have walked away, I think almost entirely from the suppressive model of motherhood and actively inquire into anywhere it still resides in me.

I am done. I encourage you to also be done with it.

Much Love ♥️ Lotus


Comments are closed.