This week’s blog post is an excerpt from my interview with the Mothers’ Centers Voices Spotlight Series. Read the full interview here. A big thanks goes to the National Association of Mothers Centers for all their hard work in raising awareness about mothers rights in America.
We inadvertently become researchers of life and motherhood when we study our own as well as other mothers’ experiences and journeys.
This idea is the concept behind our Summer MC Voices Spotlight Series on Mothers Central. Once a month we are honored to share an interview with a different NAMC member who is a part of our MC Voices community in hopes that you, our readers, will continue to research motherhood through your own lens.
This summer we’ve already welcomed NAMC Advocacy Coordinator Valerie Young and Individual NAMC Member Heather Polifka-Rivas as our spotlight interviews. In July we are excited to introduce you to Ginger Garner, a nationally recognized medical yoga educator and mother of three boys, who shares her experiences and professional wisdom via her blog: Breathing in this Life (for woman and moms).
Q: What topics/stories are you most passionate writing about.
A: My favorite posts are the ones that empower women and give women the real tools we so desperately need to succeed at work and life and to be happy and healthy. My motivation in blogging is singular: I want to build a community of support that educates women about their rights to healthcare –and to pay it forward by working to improve health care and its delivery.
Q: What is your favorite blog post and why?
A: How America’s Broken Health Care System Affects Women and Why Childbirth Needs to Change are both favorites because they establish the urgent need to improve women and maternal health care in America. Perhaps the color of my entire blog is based on these two posts.
Q: What are some of your personal passions, hobbies and interests.
A: My passion is my family. Nothing on this earth is more important, and more powerful, than the work I do at home. There I have the ability to impact the future by raising my three sons to be feminists – a positive word embracing the simple ideal that the contributions of women and mothers in society are equally valuable to those of men, and should be recognized as such.
My most recognizable interest and hobby is that I moonlight as a jazz musician and folk/gospel singer. I believe music heals and transports. If the world had more music (plus a little meditation) everyday, I’m convinced we could be healthier and more harmonious with one another.
Q: What is one of your favorite memories as a parent?
A: Learning from my children. They are (in yoga speak) the REAL gurus. One of my favorite lessons from my children happened in 2009 as I was hurrying both my boys into their car seats in an attempt to get them home, fed and down for a nap before one (or both) of them imploded. In the midst of my own stressful and impatient moment, my 3-year-old – through his limited ability to speak and express himself – signed “I love you.” In the early days of my blog, many of my posts (including this one telling the above story) centered around the wisdom I’ve gained from simply being with, and listening to, my children.
Q: What is one of your biggest challenges as a parent?
A: Overcoming the obstacles that society places in the way of mothers. Statistics tell mothers that we earn 5% less for every child we have (and I have three sons) on top of the existing wage gap. Yet for men, having children is a career booster. This means that with the same education and experience as a childless woman or a man – I will make less money while working hard in my career, even though I am making the sacrifice and contribution to raise the next generation.
Discrimination against mothers at work can:
- Make it very hard to justify going to work
- Sap you of your motivation and self-worth
- Leave you at higher risk for poverty later in life
- Contributes to the sad truth that women suffer from more chronic disease(s) than men in America leading to more incidence of depression and prescription drug use
Sure, children are challenging to raise – it is far more difficult to have a day at home with them than a day in the office. However, I think my biggest challenge as a mother comes from outside oppression and discrimination, not from inside my home.
Q: How has having children changed you? Do you think your views of what motherhood would be like were unrealistic before having children?
A: As a young woman I could not have possibly fathomed the REAL amount of energy that would be required in raising three children. My body, mind, and spirit were put to the ultimate test – first through pregnancy, then through childbirth (a transformative and empowering experience for me), and now through the 24/7 job of parenting.
Yet I love to learn and becoming a mother has brought LOTS of learning experiences for me. Having children has made me bolder, given me courage and most of all – a voice.
Mothers secretly have the greatest power of all: Our willingness to be a mother and take on the role of primary caregiver and parent (as most mothers are). The future of our country is determined by us, we just have to recognize and own that power. If we do, the next generation will bring great progress and change for American mothers.
Thank you Ginger, for sharing your voice, passion and experience as a woman and a mother.
Continue researching motherhood through your own lens by reading more of of Ginger’s words. Visit Ginger on her blog Breathing in this Life (for woman and moms) through the MC Voices Page of the Mothers Central Blog.
Read the full interview here.