Author Janny Scott's account of her interview with Obama himself on the subject of his mother is itself rather moving. She describes Obama himself as "someone whose patience had been tested, by a person he loved, to the point where he had stepped back to a safer distance. Or perhaps it was the knowingness of a grown child seeing his parent as irredeemably human." Is this not a knowingness that we all come to have?
Contrary to popular belief, I do not harbor much guilt or anxiety about being a "working mother." Which I did, esp. when I had to learn how to let go, first of Beanie and then again of Bubbie. However, I am fortunate in that I know that when I am not with them, my children are well cared for (not to mention sometimes better supervised and no doubt more entertained). This frees me to do the other work that I also find engaging.
So, I also especially appreciated Obama's observations about his mother:
Part of being an adult is seeing your parents “as people who have their own strengths, weaknesses, quirks, longings.” He did not believe, he said, that parents served their children well by being unhappy. If his mother had cramped her spirit, it would not have given him a happier childhood. As it was, she gave him the single most important gift a parent can give — “a sense of unconditional love that was big enough that, with all the surface disturbances of our lives, it sustained me, entirely.”
Let us appreciate that enabling women to do meaningful work makes them better mothers, and that being mothers is not the only meaningful work that women do.