I get a lot of press releases and news alerts about health-related stories in my job. Some are interesting, some are less so, but they share one defining characteristic: If someone is pitching a product or doing a study aimed at mothers, it's addressing us only in our role as mothers. Most of us are also daughters, wives, workers, friends.
But we get reduced to a one-dimensional person known as Mom.
(Or Mommy. Note to PR people everywhere: There are exactly two people on this planet who can call me Mommy. If you did not in fact grow in my uterus, it's just plain patronizing).
Columbia University psychology professor Suniya S. Luthar sees the same thing in her work. She's studying the needs and attitudes of, as she puts it, "mothers as people."
A press release looking for respondents stated it this way: "This survey will help explore how mothers feel about their different roles not only as a mother, but also as a spouse, as a friend and an individual with various hopes and fears and how they cope with the challenges of balancing multiple roles."
I got about halfway through the survey (it's really long), and it asks about things like the amount of social support and friends you have, your relationships with your kids, and your feelings toward the job you're doing as a mother. It's pretty intense, but all your responses will be anonymous.
Luthar is working on a book, called "Who Mothers Mommy?" (there it is again) that will look at who looks out for us while we support everybody else. You can also get a copy of the survey's findings, once they're complete. Go to momsaspeople.com to take the survey.
Image via madaboutasia/flickr