A Return to Revering Motherhood Will Take Baby Steps

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 May 14, 2017|
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Recently, I traveled to the Midwest to visit my Father and for the purpose to taking him on a trip to visit his newest grandchild, my nephew. During that trip, I noticed that he started, in certain instances, to refer to me as “Mom.” Regular readers at American Greatness may recall that back in January, I wrote an article paralleling my father’s old habit of calling my (sadly missed) mother “Mom” with Mike Pence’s penchant to call his wife “Mother.” That habit, I explained, demonstrates a good, decent, and very Midwestern respect for motherhood. I know many men like my Dad and Mike Pence, and it never occurred to anyone I knew growing up that there was anything weird or disrespectful about it.

But when Dad started calling me “Mom” on this trip, it did throw me for a bit.  I even started to worry about him having a “senior moment” until he saw my concern and explained that he was perfectly well and was not mistaking me for my deceased mother. He called me “Mom” because I am now the “Materfamilias.” I am not taking her place, but am asked to wear her crown, with all the honors and responsibilities now bestowed upon me to fulfill. I was doing this then by bringing him to my brother, his wife, and their new baby.  I was helping to keep the family connected. This duty of motherhood being passed from one generation to the next is in danger of being lost in our culture today. Yet, I remain hopeful.

Jimmy Kimmel’s episode from May 11, 2017 , is a reminder of that the left’s cultural “War on Mothers” continues through subtle and even sometimes humorous cultural nuances and how it confuses the better angels of our natures. We would do well to realize that many episodes like this are intentional and calculated. But this irreverent way of thinking and behaving is so ingrained in our popular culture that it can also happen unintentionally—even when we are trying to convey the opposite meaning.  There is just a reflexive default of disdain that gets the laughs, and we sink into it.

Kimmel did two segments poking fun of the supposed terrible gifts mothers often receive on Mother’s Day from their families. Most of us can probably relate to the all too human humor in this, but it is also an example of humor serving as a gentle rebuke to our inclinations to ungratefulness and thoughtlessness. In this segment, Jimmy Kimmel demonstrated a fundamental agreement with Mike Pence that mothers deserve to be held in the highest esteem by pointing out how they sometimes get a raw deal. It’s only funny because it hits home and because we know most Moms love us enough to forgive us these deficiencies—sometimes even more than we deserve.  This is a kind of self-deprecatory humor. Motherhood isn’t the target. Our unworthiness of its awesome power of love and forgiveness is.

Jimmy Kimmel even referenced Mike Pence in a joke, but he could not bring himself to show the blatant contempt and disgust he has demonstrated in the past as seen from him and his other comedic colleagues. To his credit, Kimmel dedicated several segments in his show to honor mothers while others only paid them lip service. Kimmel, whose wife recently gave birth to their son, seems as if he may have a bit more sympathy for the sentiments of Mike Pence in the aftermath of that drama. His child’s life saving heart operation is a reminder to us all how precious life is, and that mothers in their role of bringing new life into the world and caring so deeply and solicitously for it are not to be diminished.

Jimmy Kimmel stated, “You saw there some bad Mother’s Day gifts and obviously you do not want to be in that boat.” “You know, Mother’s Day is not just what Mike Pence calls “date night” with his wife. It’s an important day. It’s a day to express your love.”

Unfortunately this momentary adoration digressed.  Kimmel went on to state, “And if you don’t have a gift yet, here is a creative idea from those who live in Colorado and California and a handful of other states—Marijuana.” Moving the Left forward in their rediscovery of reverence for motherhood, it seems, is going to take both literal and figurative “baby steps.”

About the Author:

Paula Steiner
Paula Steiner served for more than 12 years with the U.S. House of Representatives. Most recently, she served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. She also served as Legislative Aide to Former U.S. Representatives Ralph Regula, a past Subcommittee Chairman and Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee. Mrs. Steiner graduated with a B.A. from Ashland University in Political Science and Spanish, and also holds an M.A. in Political Science from Ball State University. She has also taught American Political Thought at Indiana University East. She was a Lincoln Fellow at The Claremont Institute and serves on the Board of Advisors for the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University.
  • GrannyAesop

    I like the substance of your article, but for the Love of English, PLEASE hire a copy-editor or take a course in grammar. You misused almost every preposition in this article, and added a few more clauses that were just excruciating.

    purpose to taking => purpose of taking OR to take
    (conflating two different grammatical phrases)
    http://grammarist.com/usage/for-the-purpose-of/

    penchant to call => penchant for calling
    (the use of “penchant to” is trending, but that doesn’t make it correct, just a popular mistake)
    http://sentence.yourdictionary.com/penchant

    honors and responsibilities now bestowed upon me to fulfill => honors now bestowed and responsibilities given me to fulfill
    (parallelism is less confusing than blending two disparate phrases)

    a reminder of that the => a reminder that the
    (there are a few properly formed double prepositions, but this is not one of the set;
    however, this is probably just a typographical error)
    https://www.ultius.com/glossary/grammar/prepositions/double-preposition.html
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typographical_error

    reflexive default of disdain => default to disdain
    (an analogy to computer default conditions, rather a nice metaphor actually;
    however, although you can embrace disdain, you can’t sink into either disdain or a default)
    (“in default of an agreement” is a properly formed phrase, but conveys a different meaning that “in default of disdain”)
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/default

    servng as a gentle rebuke to our inclinations to ungratefulness and thoughtlessness
    => serving as a gentle rebuke of our inclinations for ungratefulness and thoughtlessness
    (combining prepositions is a tricky business; you have to understand the functions of the cascading phrases, which must also be correctly formed, so let’s take it one step at a time)
    (1) converted two adjectives to nouns by adding -ness;
    (2) linked to “inclinations”; the entire phrase is also a noun
    inclination for SOME THING; inclination to SOME ACTION
    => our inclinations for ungratefulness and thoughtlessness
    (OR “our inclinations to be ungrateful and thoughtless” if you prefer a verb-adjective phrase);
    (3) linked to “rebuke”; the new phrase is still a noun
    rebuke of SOME THING; rebuke for SOME ACTION; rebuke to SOMEONE; rebuke from SOMEONE to someone else; “rebuke of SOMEONE” used as a noun within a phrase)
    https://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/suffix-%E2%80%98-ness%E2%80%99-adjective-noun
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/inclination
    http://sentence.yourdictionary.com/rebuke

    dedicated several segments in his show to honor mothers => to honoring mothers
    (the use of “to” requires the gerund aka verb-noun form; however, the segments could be “dedicated to honor” in the abstract sense)
    (alternately, “used several segments in his show to honor mothers” is fine)
    http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/grammar-can-a-gerund-be-used-after-to/
    http://forum.thefreedictionary.com/postst142526_difference-between–to-dedicate-to–and–to-dedicate-for–.aspx (bonus grammar tip)

    Unfortunately this momentary adoration digressed => adoration deteriorated or devolved OR Kimmel digressed from this momentary adoration
    (Only a person can digress)
    http://sentence.yourdictionary.com/digress

    General information:
    http://www.gingersoftware.com/content/grammar-rules/preposition/

  • GrannyAesop

    I’m not really intending to pick on the author here, because almost every blog post I read these days has some grammatical errors, which I usually don’t comment on unless they affect the meaning of the article; however, this is a magnificent example of LOTS of them in one place.
    I fear, considering the author’s bio, that it is indicative of the massive decline of English instruction in our schools.

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    • Novaqt

      Frankly GrannyAesop, I don’t read an article so I can tear it apart. You obviously don’t know the rules of debate. It’s one thing to attack the article and substance and quite another thing to attack the author!

      • GrannyAesop

        I said I liked the substance; I still do.
        But the massive number of grammatical errors, not just a few casual typos, detracted immensely from the content of the message.

        • AEJ

          It’s not AG censoring, it’s Disqus with its auto spam detector. It flags comments and pulls them for inane reasons. Go to your profile; your comment is probably there but it will never see the light of day here – once pulled, they sit in limbo for eternity. There’s no human behind the curtain.

  • SingingMom

    Such a good point that the irreverence of motherhood has become so ingrained in pop culture that we have become insensitive to its existence. Thank you, Mrs. Steiner, for this Mother’s Day challenge. Let’s be more aware and teach our children differently.

  • meadowjackson

    It is so refreshing to read something positive-indeed, something that should bring universal agreement. Thank you Paula Steiner, Scholar, for bringing brightness to us all.

  • Andy

    Here’s How Much America Loves Mothers:
    We let them die preventable deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth
    We let them live in poverty
    We let them live in poverty while raising very young children
    We let them live in poverty while working full-time
    We let their children live in poverty
    We let them go without health insurance
    We let their children go without health insurance
    We let motherhood suppress their wages
    We deny them paid parental leave
    We deny them paid parental leave while similarly wealthy nations do not
    We deny them paid sick leave
    We let high quality childcare consume their budgets or remain entirely out of reach
    http://fusion.kinja.com/heres-how-much-america-loves-mothers-1795164283