As this is the month when we celebrate Mother’s Day, I want to address all of you moms out there.
I’m including soon-to-be mommies, moms of multiples and/or multiple generations, single moms, foster and adoptive moms, and mothers who have lost their children (whether by death or separation).
I know our personalities and situations are as varied as the children we have birthed or raised; but our status nonetheless unites us into this subcategory of women.
Some of you may have dreamed about being a mother one day, playing ‘mommy’ with your dolls as a child. Some of you may have consciously chosen to not be a mother, but then accepted life’s ‘fate’ when the time came. Some of you may not have thought about it much, and ended up being one anyway.
Whatever the origins, here we are at the same place . . .
As for me, I played teacher, prima ballerina, and superhero (Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman) in my childhood. I don’t recall desiring to be a mother (or even a wife).
I assumed that I would be overseas somewhere remote, and adopt an orphan who would be left on my doorstep. Strange how I ended up with six of my own!
I remember my impressions during university that, as a woman, I could have it all – the successful career, a fulfilling family life and an abundant social life. It seemed that after I had my first child, these were still attainable. It was only after the second that I envisioned two pathways laid before me: one leading down to my dream job, and the other toward motherhood. At the time, it did not seem that the two were compatible for me.
Whatever decisions you have made as to working inside and/or outside the home, what we hold in common as mothers is the irreplaceable role we provide for our children – especially the security of belonging.
Do you know that, if given the choice, a child abused or given up by their biological mother would still choose her over anyone?
Such is the power of the mother and child bond. As for the mother, in the first trimester of her pregnancy, her brain’s stem cells are physically changed with the imprint of the baby’s and the father’s stem cells. How’s that for a bond?
As well, when we become mothers, there is an unwritten expectation that we will become better people and thus better citizens. For example, I remember in the last stages of pregnancy, I thought and prayed daily for people who were limited in their body movements – by extreme obesity, arthritis, back injury or frail age.
When we lived and travelled overseas with our first-born (as a one year old), I became very conscious of wheelchair accessibility while trying to use the stroller on pot-holed sidewalks and in buildings with no elevators.
Out of concern for our children’s futures, mothers become more aware and active in political decisions, environmental issues, crime prevention and educational influences.
Remember that your gift as a mother is yourself – giving wholly and without condition.
Whether you are domestically-inclined or not, whether you enjoy being with ‘little people’ or not, and whether you perceive yourself as being competent and nurturing or not, you have been ordained a mother.
It is up to us to constantly seek for God’s mercy and grace, to help us claim our vocation. Remember, too, that you need to be gifted with mothering, as well – be that from your own mother or from other women. You need support and encouragement; so it is important to set aside time for talking to girlfriends and female extended family members.
I heard from a pastor that, in a study conducted on the ways parents can most help their children, the number one on the dad’s list was to treat his wife well; and the number one for the mother was to take care of herself.
Our well-being is of utmost importance to our children’s development. As the saying goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” So with that, Happy Mother’s Day, my comrades. I hope you treat yourselves kindly. I respect and applaud all of you for taking up the challenge of motherhood!
With love, Jean. firstname.lastname@example.org