Everywhere We Blame the Mothers

On this Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think of a conversation I was in recently about girls and self-esteem where I was stunned by how much blame we put on the mothers.   Blaming the mothers for saying and doing and wearing things that “negatively impact a girl’s self esteem,” is pretty much the same thing as blaming the girls themselves.  I kept wanting to scream, “Can’t you see how women and girls are affected by the very same system?!?” Women say and do those things because we have all been brought up in a society that rejects the feminine….teaching us lies…teaching us that strong traits-like care and connection and compassion- are actually weak.  This is confusing and hurtful and is the real source of negative impact on our girls…and our boys.  This is the reason we have such a compassion deficit.

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On this Mother’s Day, I have written this poem for our mothers.

Below is the text of the poem…would love to hear what think.
What would our society look like if we actually praised mothers instead of blaming them?


we blame the mothers

mere humans

with the hardest job on earth

It’s so fun to pick

at their flaws

judge their choices

“I can’t believe anyone would do that…



Hushed tones



even other

mothers themselves

pushing the blame outward in concentric circles like

that kaleidoscope might distract

the rest of us

keep us

from blaming them

which we will

because that’s what we do

It’s why we allow “Toddlers & Tiaras”

to exist on TV

when it should be


The Real Housewives of our own

fear and shame

Kids know that mothers are superheroes

able to leap tall buildings and make us tell the truth each

with her own kryptonite


comes with the job

but so does a cape and maybe

she couldn’t fly but she could

wrap me tight in it and use it to

take care of herself

as needed

It’s why kids get gay marriage.

The thought of having TWO moms just



their little



kids grow up and

learn that mothers are women


they have learned to hate



This superhero must become the fallen angel

the Dark Knight who is the cause of all of my

suffering but

let’s still give her a day

for some flowers & chocolate covered strawberries

She’ll like that.

What if we praised the mothers?

I don’t mean insisting on her superhero status

too much expectation for a

mere human


insisting on her super



Praise Her for her power of creation

Praise Her for having to wake up each day & make 90 million choices that affect 90 million lives & do it again tomorrow even when she’s made

90 million mistakes

Praise Her for her tears

Praise Her for her pains

Praise Her for teaching us that tears & pains aren’t

the whole story but that

no story would be good

without them

Praise Her for making us our own people

(because we can be nothing else)

with our own brains

with our own hearts

with our own choices

with our own children

You know you are no superhero.


a mere human…perhaps…

with a cape.

What if we praised the mothers?

Wrapped that cape around her

for once?

pushed the mute button &

silenced our shrieks &

served her strawberries for being a


with the courage to take the blame

Mother’s Day
Oakland, CA


3 thoughts on “Everywhere We Blame the Mothers

  1. Ezra says:

    this is beautiful… lump in my throat at the level of TRUTH spoken in this poem- hard to find these days. thanks for invoking such a response!

    • Lynn Johnson says:

      Thanks Ezra!!!! It felt like a risk to take…posting it on Mother’s Day when the tone is usually not so heavy. But, I, like you said, I am working on telling the truth these days.

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