• Bethany Reyes

Redefining the Maternal Role

Updated: Apr 21


I think back to where I first learned about the role of a mother. Of course from my mother, but also beyond that I guess it was impressed on me from society and the media, like most things in life, hahha.


Being a Single Working Mom

Early on in my journey to motherhood, the idea of my maternal role wasn’t really something I thought about or questioned, until I became a single mom.  I began to deeply question my role as I was faced with the idea of changing careers. When I was contemplating the switch from Social Work to Real Estate really I encountered some difficult mindset barriers. In order to switch careers there would be certain sacrifices. I might have to work some weekends, evenings.  But I would be able to drop Gabe off in the morning, let him sleep until school and spend every morning with him. When I worked for the school I would wake up at 5 am drive 20 mins to daycare, drop him off and then drive the opposite way 45 mins to get to work. Work 7:30-2:30 then pick up extra hours after my regular day to make ends meet.  Pick him up around 5 or 6 PM come home and crash. I hated my life, I hated waking him up so early and leaving him there so late. I hated driving so far all day long just to feel underappreciated and underpaid. So why was it so hard to leave? Well I think it's like any bad relationship, they brainwash you into thinking that you are lucky to have them.  Lucky to have a job and health insurance.


What I Was Teaching My Son

So when I was faced with the choice of leaving my career and starting a new one, why was it so hard? A big part of that was the feeling that I had to physically care for my son, cook, clean, make every practice and every game.  But for some reason I pushed past the mommy guilt and the day my son said, “Mom why don’t you just get a new job if your boss makes you cry?” Hearing that from a 3 year old! Wow!. What a slap to wake me up. How could I sit here and tell him that he could be anything in the world and then not tell myself the same thing.  As a single mom, I also realized I was both role models, both mother and father to him. I was forced into showing him not only how to cook, clean, care for himself and others, but to be hard working, goal oriented, business savvy. I would be teaching him how to make a living, how to build a business, how to negotiate, handle high stress situations, and how to be a professional. Why was this surprising to me? Why did I value cooking his meals more than teaching him how to make money? Why did I feel guilty that we would have to sacrifice some evenings and some Saturdays for financial stability, when we would get mornings?,  And it wouldn’t always be like this. It was the initial sacrifice that we had to make to jumpstart the rest of our lives. In that life I wouldn’t continually be stressed about making ends meet or not having enough for my son to have all the opportunities that I wanted to give him. OR a DAMN vacation!


Forced To Be Mother and Father

I was forced into the position of both Maternal and Paternal Roles.  I resented it for a long time and still have times in which I wish it was easier. But also,  now I embrace it! It is my role as his mother to show him how to make money, how to run a business, to teach him about investments, real estate, negotiation, and work effort. Why can’t I fulfill my maternal role by having money to pay someone to clean our house, or pay someone to deliver my groceries, or buy prepared food.  Why isn’t that doing it all?!!?! It is, it is! Doing it all! Because I am working my tail off to provide for us and the time I have available is better spent working or with family, the stuff in between I take care of with the money I make for him, as his mother. I am maternal. I am just breaking the mold of what it used to be.  I love it now. I embrace it now, and I challenge you, even if you are married and or co-parenting. Your role does not have to be defined by others.

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