Allison Greiner is a petite, warm mother of three from Greensboro, North Carolina. Like many other moms, she is busy. She enjoys a robust life with her family, she works hard at her job, she gives her time and service to the church and the community and she occasionally relies on "The Egg Song," one of many made-up-mom tunes in her arsenal, to coax her children into eating that squiggly yellow protein. She is also a caregiver striving to give her son, Matthew, a young boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and the millions of others like him, a fighting chance of living a long, healthy adulthood.
Allison is one of a legion of women who prove every day that they certainly are "mom enough" as the title of this week's TIME magazine taunts. Women make up more than 60% of the nation's caregiving force, with many operating in a private capacity, in the home and unpaid for their work. Like Allison, many are also holding down professions outside the home, tending to their additional able-bodied children, while also trying to find time for friends, activities and community involvement that fulfills and nourishes them. Yet the representations of motherhood and moms we see in the media, the mothers supposedly caught in the increasingly amplified and ingratiating "mommy wars" (again, see TIME magazine's contribution to this farce), elide the moms actively caring for loved ones with chronic illnesses or long-term health conditions. We rarely see representations of these mothers doing the advocacy, education, activism and compassionate work that caregiving often requires. We do not devote precious media space to lauding the efforts of these women who, most would insist, are simply doing what must be done as mothers, but who are in reality handling enormous responsibilities inconceivable to some with consistent courage, dignity, grace and the occasional "Egg Song" thrown in for good measure.
In 2011 Allison launched a movement called Inspired Wining, a way for women to gather and wine/"whine" (a loose designation that actually stands for turning anger into productive action) while also raising money for a cause of their choosing. Allison's cause is Duchenne and the organization that receives the benefits of hers and others activism is Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, the leading organization in the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Allison is transforming the way measurable difference can be achieved; she is also changing ideas about what it means to be both a mom and a caregiver. Our caregivers deserve recognition and attention for the rich and complex lives they lead as unique individuals, not media stereotypes. Our caregivers are more than "mom enough" -- they are women who are more than enough in every sense of the phrase.
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