I would like to present you with a poem that I wrote and read to an audience celebrating mothers in Guelph. It was published by Ed VIDEO.

I am mother.
Spelled M-O-T-H-E-R
Call me mother
Not Mum
Only my child calls me "Mum"

That is my child, not my kid
I am not a goat and neither is she!
I am not a chrysanthemum
I am not a flower to be plucked out of the earth
Away from my roots
To be stared at, Isolated, talked about
Until I whither away.

I am a mother and proud to be

But if I were a goat
I would lower my head
Not in shame but in anger
You would see my horns first
Ready to defend and protect my family
From the offence aimed at me by the government

Those in power who have disturbed my home
And robbed me of my income.
Who try to justify their actions by stereotyping me
Calling me a lazy bum,
A beer drinker, a drug user
Irresponsible… whatever!
They are wrong.
The natural caregiver
Homemaker, child care worker, nurturer
Raising up the next generation of workers.

So why does the government harass me?
Because I'm a lone
Because I'm dependent
Because I'm a scapegoat
I am one of the last bastions of family values.

I am my own boss
I am working
Striving to raise a child in the 21st century in poverty
Against all odds
Against discrimination, exploitation, name calling, poor bashing…
While the government is accusing me of being jobless.
Saying I should participate in workfare.
And contribute to society.

Recognize me. I am a mother.
The grassroots of the community
Your neighbour.
The one who calls to her children from a second story window
The one who pushes a shopping cart in the heat of the day
The one who waits at home at mealtime
Waits and worries and frets and hurries
Cooks and cleans and cares
And shops and drops at the end of the day
The one who sits in a courtroom and cries.

I say I deserve recognition
For my work
For my perseverance
My endurance,
my dedication to motherhood and family.

And I will celebrate motherhood
And I will say "CHEERS"
"Cheers to motherhood!"
"Cheers to all mothers!"

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