This year, more than any other, I have taken a long look at what it means to be a mother, how we define our effectiveness/worth as mothers, and how much my children and my mother mean to me. I’ve looked at motherhood through the eyes of both mothers and fathers and here are some of the things I’ve learned /conclusions I’ve come to:
1. You NEVER, EVER stop being a mother. Whether your child is 7 months, 7 years or 7 decades old, if you are alive you still want to protect them from any and all negativity and harm.
2. Whether you are a single parent, an intact couple, or co-parenting you are still your children’s mother. This is regardless of how much time they spend with you.
“Traditional families” and traditional roles within the family are shifting. Some dads are “Mr. Mom” either by choice, circumstance, or vocation. More and more women are afforded the chance by the men in their lives to expand their professional horizons while the men take care of the kid(s). With the divorce rate remaining constant at about 50%, many children are co-parented. There are also a number of single, never married, parents who also co-parent. We are moving past the point in our society where we assume that because a woman does not have her child(ren) with her, does not have custody, or is pursuing professional goals that she is a bad mother. Though the time together may be affected, both the children and the mother still feel the ever-present bond of motherhood.
3. Motherhood is the most undervalued job on the planet.
Yes, both men and women serve as parents, but the woman puts in almost a year in advance to get the baby here. If anything goes wrong during the gestational period, the baby is oftentimes affected for life. Though it is not talked about as often, a mother puts her life at risk to bring a baby to life. There is gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and a host of other potentially fatal symptoms associated with childbirth, and though she may sometimes make her kids aware of said fact, few realize how true it actually is (before adulthood that is. )
4. You do not have to give birth to a child to a mother it. There are grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, church members, members of the community, teachers- all of whom often play very vital roles in the rearing of a child.
5. Mother’s Day is not about the gifts, or what is served as a meal. Most mothers just REALLY want to know (even if it is only on a mandated date) that their efforts are truly appreciated and that they are loved. That truly is the best gift of all.
6. The greatest gifts for any occasion don’t come from the store but come from the heart.
A handwritten poem, something personally made by my kids is really all I need.
7. Thanking the people in your life for their contributions to your life on a regular basis ought to become our goal. If accomplished, Mother’s Day is just another Hallmark moment and not the end all, be all.
8. Treasure your children while you have them. You never know what twist of fate may change your circumstances.