Is it possible to do something more meaningful than mothering?
As a young Catholic girl who grew up in the American Midwest on white bread and Jesus, Erin S. Lane was given two options for a life well-lived: Mother or Mother Superior. She could marry a man and mother her own children, or she could marry God, so to speak, and mother the world’s children. Both were good outcomes for someone else’s life. Neither would fit the shape of hers.
Interweaving Lane’s story with those of other women—including singles and couples, stepparents and foster parents, the infertile and the ambivalent—Someone Other Than a Mother challenges the social scripts that put moms on an impossible pedestal and shame childless women and nontraditional families for not measuring up. You may have heard these lines before:
– “Motherhood is the toughest job.” This script diminishes the work of non-moms and pressures moms to make parenting their full-time gig.
– “It’ll be different with your own.” This script underestimates the love of nonbiological kin and pushes unfair expectations onto nuclear families.
– “Family is the greatest legacy.” This script turns children into the ultimate sign of a woman’s worth and discounts the quieter ways we leave our mark.
With candor and verve, Someone Other Than a Mother tears up the shaming social scripts that are bad for moms and non-moms alike and rewrites the story of a life well-lived, one in which purpose is bigger than body parts, identity is fuller than offspring, and legacy is so much more than DNA.