The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

On my first Mother’s Day, here’s what I want for my daughter

I’m not going to pretend that Mother’s Day suddenly became a legitimate holiday just because I had a kid. It remains a Hallmark holiday and always will be. But now it’s a Hallmark holiday with a bit more meaning because I’ll be in the “mothers” category at our celebration.

I love getting flowers, so that’ll be nice. And my Mom, Judy, is making fried chicken, which is delicious. Those things realistically could happen any day, though. What I’ve found genuinely special about my first Mother’s Day is the time I’ve spent reflecting on what being a mom means to me, and what I want for my daughter, Cleo.

Cleo is just shy of 5 months old and in the day-to-day sense, I really hope she rolls over soon. But in the meta sense, I find myself continually overwhelmed by how much I want her to be happy. Whether she’s taking a bath, going to baby gym class, heading to school when the time comes and onto the job market, marriage, her own kids, and beyond, I just want to know that she’s happy.

As a prototypical type-A, overeducated, urban liberal, it astounded me that nothing about levels of achievement or “success” crept into my mind. In my fantasy land, I’m not thinking about whether Cleo will be Harvard-bound or have a hugely powerful job. Maybe that will come in time, but I hope that I stay centered right where I am: focused on happiness, whatever that looks like.

I’m not alone in this. Far from it, in fact. I asked around among family members and friends, both Democrats and Republicans.

To say their answers made me feel part of an incredible community that is looking out for the next generation would be an understatement. Every mother’s response had unique qualities to it, but the emphasis was the same across the board: happiness.

It isn’t lost on me that we’re so focused on happiness at a time when happiness feels so hard to come by. It’s a real challenge in a world that is so complex and scary.

But happiness can be one of the simplest, purest of things. When their answers came streaming in, I immediately thought, “Yes, of course.” Happiness is the emotion that most matches the experience of bringing life into this world. Having just gone through pregnancy and delivery recently, it matches the animal-ness of the whole process. Motherhood is all about the purest of human experiences.

It may sound trite, but it was also refreshing to find something that politics didn’t touch. Especially in a week where politics has featured so prominently, with the news that the Supreme Court plans to remove federal protection for a woman’s right to have an abortion, taking a break for a universal experience made me feel better about the American experiment.

It must be noted, though, that opportunity is inextricably linked to happiness. Circumstances matter and I believe that decisions such as striking down Roe v. Wade will limit opportunities for some women to be happy and lead full lives. That’s a major concern for me and many other moms I’ve spoken to about this, but that’s a piece for another time.

So much of what I heard from moms about their hopes for their children is worth repeating, but here are just a few noteworthy lines:

“… to believe in yourselves and find a passion and follow it fearlessly.”

“We come from such a culture of ‘make an impact,’ but at the core I feel we are here to enjoy our time and love and be loved.”

“That they realize their dreams on their own terms as independent, hard-working, empathetic, warrior-goddesses.”

“To appreciate the good that is in life and be a contribution, and to help make a difference during their lives.”

Another aspect of what made their answers resonate is that they all made room for different definitions of a happy life. We are living in a world of flux where new professions sprout all the time, gender norms evolve, and the definition of success is so malleable.

That’s also what makes our maternal quest for happiness special, too. We’re willing to evolve in whatever direction our kids take us. At least that’s my story as of today.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Jessica Tarlov is head of research at Bustle Digital Group and a Fox News contributor. She earned her Ph.D. at the London School of Economics in political science. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaTarlov.

Tags American life happiness Jessica Tarlov Mother's Day

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Regular the hill posts

See all Hill.TV See all Video

main area bottom custom html

MAIN Area bottom

Main area bottom

Top Stories

See All

Most Popular

Load more