Michelle Obama Wants to Rewrite the Definition of Who ‘Should’ Be a Mother & We Want That Dictionary

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The word “mother” may seem simple enough, but the archaic, 1950s catalog image of what it means to be a mom has left an insidious trail in its wake. You know the picture: The one with the smiling housewife with two (white) kids and a matching picket fence. If there was a picture of the bedroom, it would have said, “This marriage bed is where Sally and Jimmy were naturally conceived,” and if there was a shot of them walking to church, the caption would be, “Duh!”

There was no room in that spread for families of color, for mothers who adopted their children, or for those who used IVF. There was no room for LGBTQ+ parents, for mothers with disabilities, or for those who who worked outside of the home. There was no room for single mothers, or blended families, or mothers who had anything but megawatt smiles on their face.

And unfortunately, that image still has ramifications today.

“There’s a woman out there right now, who is single or divorced, who doesn’t see herself as someone who should be a mother, because she didn’t take the ‘right path,’” former First Lady Michelle Obama said in the first episode of her new podcast, Audible Original Michelle Obama: The Light Podcast.

“And you are an amazing mother,” she said, turning to her guest, TODAY Show anchor Hoda Kotb, who some might consider a “Not The Right Path Mom.”

Kotb is an “older mom” (which her peers have agreed has its benefits!) and adopted her two daughters, Haley Joy, 6, and Hope Catherine, 3, with ex-fiancé Joel Schiffman. She breaks a lot of mainstream mom molds, and Obama was quick to highlight the importance of sharing that.

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