COMM 411 Summary
I have a higher opinion of motherhood after taking this class, not because I had a negative one before but solely because I had not taken the time to look at all the ways motherhood is displayed and represented in several different mediums. Mothers are not given near enough credit, but on the flip side of that neither are fathers. I think as children we often do not have the capacity to know what exactly our parents give up for us as they raise us. I also think, as we grow, get married and have our own children that being a mother will only continue to become more difficult. I do not say this because I believe that it has not always been a task and a large responsibility. I do believe, however, that the more controversial topics are brought to the surface, more electronics are out on the market, and more access to rebellious substances becomes available, it will continue to get harder to guide our future children in the right direction.
I look forward to the challenge of keeping my future children on the right path. I think it will be beneficial to have the knowledge of the old movies, books and ads that we studied to help keep myself grounded and not caught up in all of the new age advice and recommendations for mothers as the parenting scene become more secular. I think COMM 411 has been extremely fun and informative. I will seriously cherish all of the completed projects that we now have.
I really enjoyed reading this book at the start of this semester. It was fun to hear the opinions and reality of women back in the last century. This book really made me realize how far we have come in womanhood and in motherhood. I was actually surprised by the confidence of the author of The Feminine Mystique was by publishing this book. It was a learning experience for me to read that many women felt similar to the way Betty Friedan did at that time. I was also under the impression that most women enjoyed this way of life at point in time. I understood that they didn’t have many options but I also did not think that they were as resentful as this book made them seem.
The New Report portion of this class was really interesting and entertaining for me. I am not typically up to date on current events so it was motivating to really find stories that intrigued me and that also contributed to the subject matter of our class. It made me realize the negative light a lot of mothers get in America. It was fascinating to learn about the parenting techniques that different mothers have whether they are being shown in a positive or negative light. It was also fun to get to highlight what children do for their parents. Mothers do so much as the care giver in a household it was always exciting to see kids who get some attention for being able to return that love and care.
Surveys about Mothers
I loved getting to survey mothers, whom I personally know, about the things that directly related to what we were studying in class. It was a lot of fun to get to create the questions and then also look through the free response answers. Although the answers were anonymous, it was interesting to look at the women who responded to the survey and the corresponding information that I received. I enjoyed the multiple choice questions as well, they just did not reveal as much personal information or free thought from my mothers than the open response questions.
Ladies Home Journal Magazine Project
I really enjoyed getting to work with a partner, my friend Claire, on the Magazine Project. First of all it was fun to have to explore what Cushing Library has to offer, that’s not something I had gotten to do in my time at A&M. Secondly it was interesting to see what magazines focused on back in 1945. We found that the majority of the ads in Ladies’ Home Journal during that year were focused on Beauty & Fashion. Then to follow were ads about cooking, then house work. I was not, extremely, surprised by the fact that beauty and fashion came out to be the most featured. Appearance was very important in that time, even when it came to women cleaning the house, they still were expected to look put together.
Novels about Mothers
For our novel presentation, I chose the book The War Room: Prayer is a Powerful Weapon written by Chris Fabry. This book was published in August 2015. This story is really about trusting in what you cannot see. It is about creating a foundation for your family that is unshakable. It taught me more about the power of prayer in our day to day lives. This novel covers not only motherhood with young children but also, the reality of looking at the past when the children are all grown up. The War Room, also emphasized the effects that a struggling marriage can have on parenting and on the development of children. When I become a mother I will definitely keep the lessons of this novel close to my heart.
My favorite book at a child was The Kissing Hand. I read this story nearly every night when I was growing up as a young girl. The day some of our classmates brought children’s books to class was one of the more interesting lessons we had. It was cool to hear about Elizabeth’s knowledge and love for Peter Pan. Many of the facts about the story line that she revealed were all new information to me. I guess I never thought about a lot of the children’s stories that have underlying themes. I suppose I just assumed that they were all very shallow since they were directed at young children.
For the Advertisement Project I chose three different ads from three different companies. The first ad was from Luvs, the second (shown below) was from Old Spice and the third was from the maker of Whirlpool. From my survey, I saw that most of the mothers that responded connected most with the Whirlpool commercial. It depicted a mother following her kids and husband around a house asking tons of questions about their day, or how something got dirty. It ended with her washing clothes in her Whirlpool washer, stating that “clean clothes should be the one thing you don’t have to wonder about.” I also concluded that, potentially, very few ads actually work effectively when it comes to consumers switching brands. About 60% of the mothers said they use the same brands for all of the kids no matter the cost and relevance. When asking what types of ads these moms would like to see more of, many of them did not have an opinion, but they also brought up things like more ads on healthier foods, the presentation of more realistic and practical mothers and also immunizations.
Story Corp Interview Project
Our Story Corps Interview project was my absolute favorite project that we did. I interviewed my ex-boyfriends grandmother because my grandmother lives so far away. It was such an eye opening and special time that I got to spend with her, just the two of us. I got to hear stories about her childhood, as well as, stories about the generations before and after her. I realized how important it is, as we grow up, to learn from the women who came before us. This is a vital part of growing and learning, so that we may be influenced by the good decisions and redirected by the bad ones. My time with “mom- mom” gave me better insight on how I want to live my life as a young woman, and one day as a wife and a mother. It was a gift to hear and see the influence she has had as the matriarch in her family.
Mothers in Television
My favorite set of mothers on television is all of the mother figures from the series Parenthood. Parenthood was on the air for five seasons from 2010-2015. Camille, Kristina, Sarah, Jasmine, Julia and Amber are all family, whether connected by blood or by law, and all six women mother very differently. Camille is the matriarch of the Braverman family and has four children, three of which are married for the majority of the show and also, she has nine grandchildren and one great grandchild. Kristina has three children. Sarah, Jasmine and Julia each have two kids, and Amber the youngest, in her early twenties, has one. All of the children are different ages and this makes the show really entertaining because you get to see how these women parent at all different stage. They are all very emotional and connected with their children. Out of all of the mothers Sarah is my favorite. Sarah is very aware that she has made huge mistakes in her life. She had Amber and Drew at a very young age, and with a man who left almost immediately. She has had a hard time keeping a job and never quite knows the direction she is going. Although she has put her kids through all of this, she has always been able to admit her short comings. She has always been protective and open to what her kids have to say. She loves them with all she has, and is never afraid to step back and let them make their own decisions.
Teen Movies and Tv Shows
My favorite television series as a young teen and also well into college has been One Tree Hill. The television series came out in 2003 three with I was eleven year old and stay on until my sophomore year of college. Although I didn’t start watching it until my late teens, I love that I really got to grow up with the characters through all nine seasons. I personally have watched the entire series, all the way through, three times. I feel like the depiction of the characters and their time in high school, although always a little extravagant when on television, really showed an accurate idea of what teens go through. Whether it’s love, heartbreak, being let down by your friends or your parents, all of these emotions are things that actual kids go through. It was a well written show that really kept my attention.
Lyrics about Mothers
Our Music Project was my absolute favorite assignment of the semester. I chose one of my favorite songs, “Like My Mother Does” by Lauren Alaina. The lyrics in this song are really representative of how we inherit a lot of our mother’s traits and mannerisms. It was so much fun to get to spend time reflecting on the similarities between my mom and I. Also just getting to create something that really honored her and everything she has done for my siblings and me. I did not learn anything new from this project, but it just reinforced all of the sacrifices and selflessness my mom displayed over the course of being our mom.
Mothers in Film
Little Miss Sunshine was released in 2006. It tells a story of a family who live in Albuquerque, New Mexico but the majority of the plot takes place in a yellow and white VW bus as they travel to Redondo Beach, California. I think it is really important to take notice that Sheryl’s way of “protecting” her daughter is letting her make mistakes and teaching her that her self-worth is not found in make-up and fitting in. Motherhood was shown as a very tough and constant process. It showed that sometimes even when our children are against all odds, no matter the outcome, it is really important to support them.
Much like the rest of girls, growing up and even into college I have continuously turned to Disney movies to make my days better and reminisce on the good days. I had never thought about the negative views or lack of presence that is depicted when it comes to mothers in these films. I found it extremely interesting to learn about how Walt Disney had lost his mother, which then was reflected by the absences of moms in his films. Specifically talking about my favorite Disney film Beauty and the Beast. I think as unfortunate as it is that we never know exactly who Belle’s mom is, we get to see the strength of single father and also the impact mother figures on our lives, much like Ms. Potts and the chest of drawers. Although some girls may not have a biological mother when growing up, that does not necessarily mean they are deprived of the love of a mother for their entire lives.
Letter to my future son or daughter:
Hello sweet child of mine,
I am writing this letter to you as a 23 year old college student who has no idea what the future holds. I have been taking a class this semester all about what it means to be a mother and what that looks like from different points of view.
My sweet baby, I wanted you to know what I thought of you before I even knew you. I am so excited to, one day, find out that you’re coming into this world. I want you to know that I pray for you daily and hope that you love and know your Savior who gave his life to know and love you. I want you to know that there is nothing in this world that could make me love you less and I promise to never stop watching out you or worrying about you. I promise to always put too much pressure on you because I know what great things that you are capable of, but I will never scorn you if you fail, your best will always be enough. I promise to embarrass you in front of you friends and to make you eat your vegetables. This is only because I want to make you laugh and I want you to grow to be big and strong.
This world is hard my love, but I am always going to be there for you. I want you to fail and make mistakes, so you can learn and be an independent individual. I already know you will be smart, kind and loving. I am already so proud of you. I hope you always know that. I can’t wait to meet you one day.