Texas gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis — and her pink sneakers — became a household name last June when she conducted an 11-hour filibuster against legislation in Texas that would impose new abortion regulations. In her current capacity as a candidate, who is also a woman, her role as a mother is under the microscope seemingly as much as her political track record.
In recent days, some have bizarrely criticized Davis’s success because early on in her life, her then-husband helped finance her college tuition. It doesn’t matter that, as a mostly single mom, she overcame little-to-no education and next-to-no money and went on to become a lawyer. Instead, in a grossly sexist move, she has been accused of abandoning her kids and mooching off her spouse instead of being praised for powering through a hard start to an astonishingly impressive finish.
It’s a credit to her then, especially, that her daughters have jumped to her defense. In open letters to the people of Texas, Dru and Amber Davis want to “set the record straight” about their mom.
Dru said, in part:
“[My mom] was a remarkable mother and continues to be so to this day. She was there on my first day of school and my last, and so many days in between. She never missed a school performance or a parent-teacher conference. Even if that meant she had to miss something else important. My sister and I were always her first priority. She was there when I needed her and even when I thought I didn’t. My mom was my Brownie Troop leader. I still remember camping out in the backyard with my troop after our trip was cancelled because of bad weather. She was also my field hockey team mom during my senior year of high school, not to mention that she went with me to every single field hockey camp, tryout, program that I ever had. She helped me sort through college possibilities, helped me with my applications and visited colleges with me.”
“Although she was married for a short period of time, parenthood was her sole responsibility. Yes, we lived in a trailer. Does it matter how long? Not to me . . . I know that I was my mother’s first priority and that she wanted a better life for me than the one she was living. She worked 2 jobs and went to community college at night. She refused to repeat the life her family struggled in growing up.”
It’s hard not to be moved by the testaments of these articulate young women. And it’s hard not to be nauseated by anyone who could criticize a mom who works as hard as Davis has at providing a life full of love and good examples for her daughters. But really, the attacks on Davis are not so different than the attacks on so many working moms.
I was having dinner with my mom earlier this week when I told her with a sigh about how relieved I am that my younger daughter is just months away from starting preschool.
“When I look back someday at this time period, though,” I said, “as hard as it was to balance working from home with caring for the kids full-time, I will always be thankful that I had all these precious early years with the girls, and that I didn’t have to put them in daycare before they started school.”
“Yes, I know what you mean.” she said. “I didn’t go back to work until you and your sister were in school, too.”
“Really?” I asked.
Which is when I realized that me figuring out how to work from home was for my girls, but more so, it was for me. Just as I don’t remember being home with my mom as a toddler, my girls will have little to no memory of our time in music class, at the library for story hour, or taking walks before and after nap time.
There are valid arguments on both sides of the working mom debate. Of course, there are plenty of moms who have no choice but to work, so pick at them all you want, although for them it’s simply not relevant. Wendy Davis is among those moms.
When all you know as a kid is a working mom, often times it’s just as meaningful if not more so when she can make it to volunteer for an hour in school or attend a school play. So many of us do the very best we can for our kids, even if it doesn’t look the same as a mom who has the ability to stay home and do it all herself. (What do you want to bet that Davis’ critics would have sniped even louder had she chosen not to work but instead relied on government assistance when she was in need?) In the end, does it really matter what the early days looked like as long as the outcome is happy, healthy and loved children?
How about instead of mewling that Wendy Davis and other working moms aren’t around as much, we commend them for being around as much as they are (or were) and for setting an example of family first while also showing how much hard work and sacrifice benefits everyone in the end?
Photo credit: Wikipedia
More from Meredith on Babble:
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- Hey, Bill Keller. I Was Just Diagnosed With Cancer, You Want to Tell Me How to Suffer, Too?