Mother’s Day 2018 – Thank You, High Producers

Mother's Day
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That’s my High Producing Mom, circa 1965
More important than what I’ve written here are these two links. Watch this illuminating 6-minute video, please. And for shock value, suffer through the ad to get to this startling verbiage from this crazy parliament dude.

To all the high producing women of the world, Thank you.

Women get things done.

And they get things done with barriers men don’t have, and often don’t even know exist.

The obstacles vary with time and place and range from idiotic (women can’t run marathons), to dangerous (honor killings, increased risk of domestic abuse), to excruciatingly frustrating (women still earn less than men and complete most of the household tasks). And yet, women show up every day and do what needs to be done.

Your mom’s struggles, unique to her time in history, are part of what made her who she is. As her child, you are part of that story because her experiences most certainly influenced her mothering.

I don’t know what it is to be African-American, Hispanic, Indian or another minority, and there are times I am uncomfortable with the privileges my whiteness has afforded me. But understand: I know what it is to not be male. And so does or did your mom. If you are asking yourself what it means to “not be male” one of three things is true.

  1. You are male.
  2. Things are really good for women where you live.
  3. Things are really bad for women where you live.

The #MeToo movement has been a long time coming.

I promise you: your mom has a #MeToo story or two.

#MeToo extends way past sexual harassment. It is also about limited access to money, power, and education. Which means #MeToo is inextricably coupled to the unique skills women have cultivated to negotiate a world of limited access. We know how to succeed against a stacked deck, how to create change even when resistance is strong, and we know it is our children who will be the real beneficiaries of our work. And we care deeply about that: That something will be good for the next generation.

Restricting access to education is, without a doubt, a brilliantly effective strategy to keep power and money in the hands of those who already possess them. This should not be confused with it being a good idea for our species as a whole.

Peter Temin’s research that suggests in America, it takes 20 years with nothing going wrong to break the cycle of poverty

Legal Momentum estimates that 70% of our nation’s poor are women and children.

Twenty Years. With Nothing Going Wrong.

70% Of Our Poor Are Women And Children …

I am thirty-plus years into a career in healthcare and I haven’t met one male who made it through high school, college, medical school, CRNA, or nursing school, as a single dad with sole custody of his kids.

But I can’t even the count the number of women I know who did.

In fact, there’s only one single-because-of-divorce-working-dad-with-sole-custody-of-his-kids in my circle. Perhaps that’s more of a reflection on my own race and income than a reflection on America in general, but we all know: women get things done, they get them done without the freedom men have, and they generally do it with a kid on their back, and the things they get done benefit many people..

Plus, these women do NOT think of being a mom as something that went wrong. This cannot be undervalued.

The Girl Effect.

The Girl Effect is the idea that “when given the opportunity, girls and women are more effective at lifting themselves and their families out of poverty, thereby having a multiplier effect within their villages, cities, and nations.”

In my world, evidence of this is the many female techs, nurses, and doctors who finished school while working and having sole custody of their children.

According to Karen Sherman, Executive Director of Global Programs at Women for Women, a non-profit that provides financial aid, job training, rights awareness and leadership education to women in conflict and post-conflict countries,

“When you invest in women, they typically invest 90% back into the health, nutrition, and education of their families, as opposed to 30-40% for men.”

Now, there have to be millions of things that influence how people use their resources. But the take-home message is the same: women get things done and they get them done despite doors that are closed, while being a full-time mom, with less education, power, and money than men.

Collectively, Women Are “High Producers”

This is my opinion, born of years of working, mothering, volunteering, observing and asking people their stories. The grit of these high producing women is inspiring.

But can you imagine what it would look like if all the oppressed women in the world were able to contribute their 90%? It boggles the mind.

Certainly, it boggles the mind of this frightened Polish Lawmaker. (Spoiler, he actually says women “must earn less than men.”)

Globally, there is no scenario where men are fighting battles like the one in that video clip.

It is possible that the women in your life, the high producers who came before you, have a broader view of the world and women’s place in it. They might want to move through the world/contribute with the same ease men do. And they want you, the beneficiary of their work, to continue to improve upon it.

High Producing women want a world where:

  • Women are in charge of countries. Not because they are power hungry but because men have been at the helm a long time and things are a mess. Time to try something new.
  • World Peace is a real goal, not a fairy tale.
  • There is never a reason for a refugee camp.
  • No one, anywhere, thinks it’s a good idea to marry off a girl-child to an adult man. And that this idea would be common sense – not something that requires a new law.
  • People start asking men “How do you do it all?” Because men actually do it all.
  • There is no need for commercials stating “Take time to be a dad.”
  • There is no need for #MeToo.

Flowers and cards are a start.

On this Mother’s Day, go ahead and make your female peeps a nice meal, and maybe throw some money at flowers, cards, and chocolate. Then dig deep and honor the high produces in your life by thoughtfully figuring out a way to make the world a little less idiotic, a little less dangerous, and a little less excruciatingly frustrating.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Rounding Up Undies This is a program specific to Medical Missions Foundation but it has connections to the larger organization Afripads. Getting your period in underdeveloped countries means you can’t go to school because you have no way to manage the bleeding. When you quit showing up at school, everyone knows why and you are identified as “marriage material.” The harassment really begins …
  2. The Global Fund For Women Dedicated to the idea that women’s human rights are essential to the social, economic, and political change that benefits us all.
  3. Check out this video which is an explanation of how long it takes a country to become industrialized, which is directly coupled to the emancipation of women.
  4. If you are a man, make sure you are never part of the reason #MeToo exists.

“Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.” William Golding. William’s vision was limited to hearth and home, but he was right.

Happy Mother’s Day,

J

My 3-year old mom – preparing for a life of producing.

 


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