Being a mother of five, I have at this point in my life spent a combined total of 75 years as a mother. And at this juncture, I am now able to look back and clearly identify the skills that I have amassed.
When I first considered going to college, I knew its purpose was to prepare one to make money, impart a specific skill set, as in the case of a doctor, and teach one about life and how to do things in a systematic manner -- all unquestionably valid reasons to invest the time and wherewithal. But what of those whose goal in life was to be a mother? As far as I could tell, college had no part in mothering. And even though I ultimately chose the latter, I yet began to see a parallel in the two as I traveled down this uniquely fulfilling road.
When I first enrolled into Motherhood, it never occurred to me that there'd be no curriculum description. Nor did I realize I'd be signing up for what would eventually amount to acquiring a BA, MBA, PhD and, maybe the most valued of the bunch, a BH (Badge of Honor). There were no applications to fill out, no formidable or invasive interviews, no prior grades to be vetted, no one to reject me, and dropping out was not an option. If I now had to write a syllabus, it might describe some of the qualities gained or needed as such: an increased perception and alertness, proficiency in time management, the driving skills of a chauffeur, the palate of a chef, the unbiased viewpoint of an expert mediator, the abilities of an accomplished analyst to dissect, interpret, analyze and reason, and the sensibilities of a gifted artist. But even these qualities fail to fully sum up the skill set of a mother. In fact, many of the required abilities reside not only beyond the current collegiate curriculum, but also somewhat beyond description itself, which is to say: There are things in life that are just that -- LIFE -- and cannot be qualified, quantified or described in any other way.
From what I can see, women who study at what I call the University of Home, as mothers, wives and homemakers, often engage in work that in this day and age seems to have become considerably devalued. It's a sad observation that I for one would like to see change. Even though countless work hours are being put in by mothers and homemakers on a daily basis, they go unrecorded -- and the subject has never been included in employment figures. On top of that, most of those who choose it as their career yet remain dependent on their husbands financially, which begs another question that is somewhat, but not entirely, off subject: What might the salary for such be? And how could it be quantified? What would the lifelong earnings of a nanny, chef, event coordinator, secretary, security guard or chauffeur be? What might one pay them as a bonus if their jobs were executed well? And what might you additionally owe someone who actually followed through on the above with genuine heart and vigor? If you ask me, there could be no price for such.
In my opinion, there is really no room for a mother to be employed in the working world, not if she is to truly and fully function at either. I realize this could be seen to step on the feet of working mothers, but I'm simply looking at things in practical terms. Even full-time mothers are often heard to say, "There just aren't enough hours in the day," "I need two of me," which is because, from the time they awake until the time they pass out at night, they are taking care of their children, husband, family, and home. Mothering is no small task, as anyone who has experienced it can confirm. It is a full-time, lifelong activity. This is not to say that such a woman shouldn't or couldn't engage in activities outside of her family; neither is it to say that she should have no choice in the matter, because it is also my firm belief that everyone has the right to choose their own path in life. All I'm really saying here is, for at least their formative years, I feel it would be nice and perhaps even proper for every child to have the undiminished love and care of a mother.
Once upon a time, the job of being a housewife was considered a respectable one. Women were proud to be homemakers with their houses and children proudly taken care of. But in more recent times, we see these jobs being relinquished to daycare, nannies and housekeepers. To me, this is a case of the most precious parts of life being handed down to hired help. And while hired help can be beneficial and at times clearly necessary, I believe very few would argue that it cannot compare to the unconditional love and care a mother can provide.
Over the years, sadly, I have endured the unwelcome looks of those who fail to recognize the importance of the title. As a result, I have been reluctant to fully admit the truth, which is in itself an unfortunate sign of the times. It has taken me some 20 years to be able to poke my chest out and respond with great pride that being a mother is all that I have ever wanted to be. Having and raising my children has been my single greatest and most fulfilling achievement. It was the most meaningful path I could ever have taken -- and I wouldn't have had it any other way. I'm here to state that I'm proponent of the University of Home, and that I'd like to see a Master's Degree in Motherhood be given its due respect. To me, it's a worthwhile cause -- and possibly one of the worthiest callings of all.
For more information on Daphne, please visit: daphnewayans.com.