Remember a few months ago we had the "Liberal War On Moms" mini-flap after an Obama Campaign staffer dissed Ann Romney for being a stay-at-home mom who "wouldn't understand the struggles of a working mother". Conservative ripped the comment and tried to say that feminists hate mothers and want the government to run families, blah, blah, blah. And most of us just laughed it off saying "Liberals don't really hate mothers. In fact, some of them have two!"
But a new article from columnist Mary Beth Williams in the left-leaning webmag Salon.com has me reconsidering that belief: www.salon.com/2012/07/31/olympic_moms_have_it_all/
In the article, Williams assails NBC coverage and commentators for mentioning over and over again that some of the female athletes competing in London are mothers. She also is fed up with all of the "mom in the crowd" reaction shots and the Proctor and Gamble ads featuring athletes thanking their moms for all the support leading up to the Games. This leads me to wonder, what did moms ever do to Mary Beth Williams?
Her bio doesn't mention if Williams herself is a mother--but I'm guessing she isn't. Otherwise, she would probably appreciate the notoriety given to mothers in the television coverage.
Let's start with the biological fact of what pregnancy does to the female body. Most of the Olympic sports require a level of fitness and training that none of us watching could ever hope to reach. Now give up nine-months of that training time to allow another creature to grow inside of you. And many of these mother/athletes will describe how their bodies changed after their pregnancies--and how that affected their abilities to perform in their respective sports.
As far as the mothers of the athletes are concerned, I'm guessing Ms. Williams didn't spend hours a day, every day in a gymnastics center, or an acquatic center or in the bleachers at basketball games. And she probably didn't give up new clothes, new furniture and new shoes in order to pay for coaches, sports equipment, tournament entry fees and travel expenses so a top level young athlete could compete all around the country. Because if she did, Williams would understand the investment that those moms--and dads--have put into their child's Olympic Dream.
And Ms. Williams must not be familiar with the emotional pull of motherhood that such athletes have to deal with. The next male athlete to leave his sport at the top of his game to "spend more time being a Dad" will be the first male athlete to do so. (Besides, guys like Shawn Kemp and Antonio Cromartie have to keep playing to pay the support for the 12 kids they have by eight different women all around the country.) Yet, you have Hall of Fame female athletes like Annika Sorenstam, Mia Hamm and Lorena Ochoa who walked away from the game while they were on top because they felt being a mother was more fulfilling than winning championships.
So ignore the naysayers Olympic Moms, the rest of us do appreciate the sacrifices you are making to bring home the gold.