Dr. Carrie Gress is the author of the book: “The End of Woman: How Smashing the Patriarchy Has Destroyed Us“ (Aug. 15, 2023). She is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the founder and co-editor of the online women’s magazine Theology of Home.
Published August 15, 2023
The battle between parents and school officials continues to rage, with many elected officials, including President Biden, claiming that children belong to the state, not parents.
The latest battle is a face-off in Maryland over books with seemingly innocuous names like “Pride Puppy,” “Born Ready” and “Prince & Knight,” all of which explore LGBTQ+ themes. Parents are asking that they be allowed to let their children opt out from reading these titles. This case is one of many spreading around the country that have parents frustrated by the teaching professionals telling them to mind their own business.
At a large conference I spoke at last spring, another speaker mentioned “radicalized moms,” meaning moms fed up with the ideologies that are tearing apart our country. It was a new term for me, but not a new reality.
I was “radicalized” before the trappings of COVID called out many others, but the fierceness felt by so many mothers like me is the same. Moms all over America have had it with what is happening to our country. Don’t make us pull over.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, led an effective campaign by speaking directly to moms and dads who are frustrated by what they consider indoctrinating materials in local schools, crossing over the usual Republican/Democrat divide. Meanwhile, moms’ groups expanded their reach around the country, including Moms for America and Moms for Liberty.
These types of moms’ networks are giving a voice to women who have long considered themselves isolated and ineffective in the culture wars. Like the pivotal efforts of Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum, which stopped the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, the founders of these groups are not well-known elected officials or celebrities, just women with a Rolodex – or email lists – deeply concerned about our country’s socialist tilt.
Not everyone thinks conservative moms getting into politics is a good thing. The Department of Homeland Security under the Biden administration has called pro-life moms “radicalization suspects” or “domestic terrorists,” particularly those who make their voices heard at school board meetings.
Even the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has chimed in to make sure that everyone is aware of the dangerous moms at Moms for Liberty. The SPLC website labels them as extremists because they “advocate for the abolition of the Department of Education, advance a conspiracy propaganda, and spread hateful imagery and rhetoric against the LGBTQ community.”
The Department of Justice and SPLC are right to be on guard. If Schlafly and a bunch of meddling moms can stop the ERA in its tracks, what might happen if American moms start speaking up, talking with friends, sharing on social media, and worst of all, undoing years of indoctrination of their children? It all means trouble ahead, and this doesn’t even touch the ironclad women’s vote Democrats have counted on for decades.
Moms can evoke this kind of fear because we have the will and perseverance unmatched by most any other demographic. Our allegiance is clear: it is laser-focused on what is best for our families and our children.
Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. Since having children, I’ve finished a doctorate and published 10 books. I’m not sure I would have had the discipline to finish these projects had I remained single.
One of the most difficult moments I had as a mom was shortly after my third child was born. I was up against a deadline for my dissertation and my older two children were sick. The 4-year-old slept through the night, but the 2-year-old had a bad chest cold. I sat next to her on the floor all night as she slept, doing what I could to prevent the cold from slipping into pneumonia while also grinding away on my dissertation.
Every two hours my husband, who was sleeping elsewhere, brought our newborn son up to nurse. I remember thinking at 3:30 a.m. that the situation was so crazy and so hard it was almost surreal. We got through it. I think of that night when other things seem difficult. Every deadline since has been a cakewalk compared to that one.
Events like this (and a lot of coffee) have helped me get beyond my own inclinations, allowing me to focus on what needs to be done instead of what I want to do. These are the types of demands that make moms a considerable force.
In my book “The End of Woman: How Smashing the Patriarchy Has Destroyed Us,” I write about the strong women largely ignored by American institutions, from Hollywood to academia and fashion magazines to politics. These are the forgotten fly-over women whom most of us know but rarely see in the media or culture. Fly-over women are everyday women who, through their small acts of love, hold this country together.
I explain in the book, “From Maine to Hawaii, these women have opened themselves up to the dramatic and self-sacrificial love required when one person truly loves another. They carry children in their wombs, their arms, their hearts, their minds. They know the preciousness of a tender embrace from small arms, a little face learning to offer kisses, the peppering of questions from a curious child, and the dig-deep challenges of teenagers – sometimes all in the same hour.
“Some know the struggle of children with broken bodies, or broken minds, or both. And some know the gaping hole that will never be filled when a child or children are lost. But among them all, there isn’t a single regret in bringing another soul into the world.”
These are the women who are being “radicalized,” and these are the moms who will help change our world, one home at a time.
No one fights like a mother.