Not your mother's mother: Wear Your Voice celebrates all faces of motherhood

The magazine's #morethanmom campaign includes same-sex couples, transgendered parents and other moms you don't see in mainstream depictions.

click to enlarge Sarah and Becca. - Courtesy Wear Your Voice Magazine
Courtesy Wear Your Voice Magazine
Sarah and Becca.

If you grew up in the United States and had a television in your house, around every Mother’s Day you probably saw a commercial showing a WASPy woman smile knowingly as two or three excited kids jumped into her bed while her hapless blue-eyed husband carried breakfast on a tray, complete with a single flower in a vase and a card from Hallmark.

But if you're a mom living in the U.S. today, there’s a good chance the family in that commercial does not represent you or the family you are raising. That’s why Wear Your Voice Magazine, an intersectional feminist publication, launched the #Morethanmom campaign.

The magazine invited seven families to be part of a photo shoot meant to raise awareness about the variety of people who are mothering children. These moms are doing all the hard work and giving all the love, yet they’re often marginalized because they don’t fit into the mainstream notion of what a mother is supposed to be or look like.  

click to enlarge Charlie, Christina and their kids. - Courtesy Wear Your Voice Magazine
Courtesy Wear Your Voice Magazine
Charlie, Christina and their kids.

“These families show that there’s no one right way to parent, or to define family,” says Wear Your Voice CEO and Editor-in-Chief Ravneet Vohra. “Most of the families represented identify as queer or part of the LGBTQIA community... It’s important that we expand the traditional notion of what it means to be mom, and a parent in general to ensure that all families are made to feel welcome and have the same legal protection under the law as heterosexual couples.”

The families in the photo shoot not only include same-sex parents, gender non-conforming parents, transgendered parents and children, but also plus-sized single mothers, moms raising their children while living with long-term illnesses, families of color and multigenerational families. 

“There is this misconception that persons with disabilities or larger bodied people can’t give a child the adequate life they need to thrive — which is inaccurate,“ says Vohra. “What people don’t realize is that these assumptions are ableist and fat phobic.”

click to enlarge Maya Songbird and Ty. - Courtesy Wear Your Voice Magazine
Courtesy Wear Your Voice Magazine
Maya Songbird and Ty.

While the campaign is about representing moms that are breaking the traditional mold of how idealized motherhood has long been portrayed, this issue is important to children being raised in these evolving families, too. 

In the U.S. there are 9.9 million single mothers and 7.8 million children living in the homes of relatives. Of those children, 2.6 million are the cared for solely by their grandparents. 

According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, an independent think tank that conducts research on sexual orientation, gender identity law and public policy, in 2013 as many as six million kids and adults had LGBT parents. Numbers like these mean there are a lot of kids who aren’t seeing families like their own represented in most mainstream forms of media.  

“As a person of color I understand the tolls oppression and marginalization can take on a young person’s psyche,” Vohra says. “As a child growing up, I saw the struggles my parents faced in a predominately white community and internalized it as something being inherently wrong with myself. As a mother of two young children, it’s important that the children we bring into the world are given a limitless imagination, and the freedom to be who they want and define themselves on their own terms — not anyone else’s; especially when someone else's ideas may be based on bigotry and hate.”

Vohra says that her hope for the campaign is that people similar to the families in the photo shoots feel represented, and that those who don’t identify with any of the families who were photographed might open their minds regarding what parenting means.  

click to enlarge Christin, MeLisa, and Westley. - Courtesy Wear Your Voice Magazine
Courtesy Wear Your Voice Magazine
Christin, MeLisa, and Westley.

Wear Your Voice is hoping to drive interest in and awareness of the #MoreThanMom movement by asking that others share photos of themselves and their families with the hashtag #morethanmom.

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