Being a mother in today's Mexico

Teenage pregnancies, stay at home moms, single moms... it's a good time to reflect about the complexities of motherhood in Mexico

Being a mother in today's Mexico
Mother & daughter – Photo: Yadin Xolalpa/EL UNIVERSAL
English 10/05/2018 09:00 Mexico City Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 09:00
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Mexican culture regarding women and their role in society is, at the very least, ambivalent. In the background, we have a deeply-rooted sexism that places them secondary to men only because of their gender. But in the Mexican mind, two concepts coexist: the way we see mothers and how we view the rest of our women.

Mothers have a special day in Mexico, a day traditionally surrounded by a halo of romanticism which has helped build a myth around this family figure. And, incidentally, this celebration has also boosted commerce and consumerism. However, seeing today it's Mother's Day, it's good to reflect about the complexities of motherhood in today's Mexico.

First of all, Mexico was ranked this year as the country with the most teenage pregnancies amongst OECD countries. Thus, thousands of minors are giving birth every year in vulnerable conditions, with low education, and with few chances of being part of social mobility dynamics. How can we celebrate Mother's Day under these circumstances?

Another element to consider is the decrease in fertility rate. Mexican women are having fewer children than in any other period in recent history, which means sooner or later we will experience an unprecedented demographic winter. Yet at the same time, the number of single women who have decided to have children – for a multitude of reasons – has increased.

These phenomena are proof of the reconfiguration of the family-building processes, processes which have been set aside when devising policies aimed to protect, paradoxically, the members of a family. Due to its relevance and impact on the population's dynamics, motherhood needs to be supported by Government institutions so we can transcend the myth built around mothers and acknowledge their dignity as women.

Stay at home moms, even if they aren't paid for their work, contribute enormously to the dynamic of the national economy in the same way that those who have paid jobs in addition to being mothers. We have to revise what it means to be a mother today, in Mexico.

The role of a mother goes beyond the need of being recognized; it demands a more serious cultural, social, and governmental effort. The union of Mexican families, in which mothers play a vital role, is a value worthy of being promoted and preserved but it's also necessary to vanish sexism towards women and demystify the mother figure. Only then we'll we be able to justly understand their valuable contribution to the country. We owe them that much.


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