For anyone who's ever been told that they don't "look like a mom," it might have been meant as a compliment, but it likely didn't feel like one. When Gylisa Jayne got a similar backhanded statement from a friend, she'd finally heard enough.
"Someone said to me a few days ago, that she hadn't thought i was the type 'to be a mum,'" she wrote in a Facebook post. "I shrugged it off because if there's one thing I have learned about motherhood, it's that people will say c*nty stuff a lot, and they don't always mean it."
But when this encounter kept being "played on my mind," she decided to set a few people straight.
"It's one of those common phrases . . . we label 'mother' and have a stereotype in our heads," she said before listing off the exemptions that come with such a title:
Mothers are meant to sacrifice every aspect of themselves, to fulfill their role.
Mothers aren't allowed expensive bags, or shopping trips out, or to have a fresh manicure every few weeks.
Mothers aren't meant to have tattoos, or colored hair or piercings.
Mothers aren't supposed to have histories of being reckless, feckless or just plain fun.
Mothers aren't meant to have had a colorful life of experiences before they bear children, they are expected to forget their identity to raise someone else.
"But how can we raise our children effectively if we haven't experienced a bit of life beforehand?" she asked. "Without navigating my own checkered past, how could I possibly hope to guide a new soul through similar times?"
As she said, most women don't become mothers because "we are just dying to wipe someone else's arse" — instead, it's because "we want to add to our lives, and watch someone else grow." In her case, too, she said that after everything she'd been through, she finally found some stability — and having a family of her own helped her feel grounded.
To her, motherhood isn't an "exclusive club" where you have to look and act a certain way to gain admission. Instead, "it's full of women that all have lives and tales and colorful histories . . . women that swear, women that don't, women that are real, and women that don't give a f*ck about what you think."
To all those who make those snap judgments and false compliments about someone not being the mothering type, Gylisa has this to reply:
"I might not fit someone else's expectations of how I should be, but my daughter reckons I'm doing a pretty good job."