This time of year, there's always a lot of talk about freedom and independence. Usually, it has to do with the basic rights we have in this country. Or appreciation of the brave military men and women who give/gave/will give their lives to defend this freedom.
However, late last night while I was up pumping, it occurred to me that the idea of independence has shaped motherhood as well.
We are able to put off being mothers until we are ready and able. We are able to use science and technology to help us be mothers when our bodies need support. We are able to choose to mother other's children when they cannot. We are free to talk about the struggle of not being able to be a mother and advocate for the funding etc to help support those in this struggle.
We are able to choose whether to work or stay at home. We are able to decide whether to breastfeed or formula feed. Our babies can co-sleep, sleep in a crib/bassinet or wherever we can get them to sleep. We have the independence to choose what parenting "methods" we want to use---whether it be discipline, sleep training, attachment parenting etc. We have the freedom to cloth or disposable diaper. We are have the freedom to research and learn about how we want to raise our children. And we have the equality in the home to have our voices heard about these issues. The list goes on and on.
Being a mother today is much different than our mothers and grandmothers. The freedom and independence that a mother today has is a special thing. And it will only continue to grow. Our babies (or their wives, partners etc) will be even more independent from the guilt that accompanies many of our parenting decisions. They will have an independence that allows them to "mother" their children that women generations ago could only dream of.
So, on this Independence Day, be thankful for this special kind of independence we enjoy---it's made possible by all of the other freedoms we celebrate today.