A mother is the only person who carries you in her belly for nine months, three years in her arms, and forever in her heart (Eagle, 2020). What makes a mother a mother? Does it only denote “one who has a child” or is it something more? Does someone who has not given birth or has no child qualify to be called a mother?
The official definitions given to the term ‘mother’ range from one who “gives birth to a child” to adoptive or stepmothers to mothering meaning “to watch over, nourish and protect maternally.” This means that every woman can be a mother whether they have children or not. (Jessen, 2014).
Bearing children most certainly makes one a mother, but motherhood is much more than that. Traditionally, we were inclined to think of a mother as a selfless, loving, patient, warm woman. She might be, but that’s not all that makes a mother. A mother is not a devoted and submissive wife who lives patiently and tirelessly for the comfort of others; a selfless, giving, caring creature who ceases to exist outside of her children as soon as they are born. (Harrisson, 2020). A mother is not someone who gives up her entire life and person to raise children; because who are those children, if their mom has no life of her own?
Motherhood is the essence of who we are as women. Mothers are found in all shapes and forms and can be sisters, friends, aunts, leaders, teachers or anyone who is willing to reach out to another human being with love. Every mother has a special blend of attributes that she can use to lead, guide, and lift others, be it an adult or a child.
So, who are mothers?
People who mother the world are part of what makes a mother. These include mentors, foster parents, aunts, single dads who play the role of both mother and father, grandparents, nannies, caregivers, and people who mother their parents through sickness or old age. These are also stepmothers who have earned a bad reputation through fairy tales, but who knowingly choose to take on a child as their own, often navigating tricky adult relationships along the way.
Those who choose not to have children because they genuinely believe it’s not a fit for them, yet they work to improve the world and make it a better place to live in also deserve recognition and celebration. Not everyone wants to be a mother, and that is very much in order.
Mother's Day is a day that focuses on celebrating and honoring mothers and maternal figures for all they do. It's a day that asks people to show gratitude to maternal figures for their impact on our personal lives and their work in society at large. The earliest history of Mothers Day goes back to the ancient Greeks who dedicated the annual spring festivals to celebrating their maternal gods. The occasion was in honor of Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology. Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. The early Christians celebrated a Mother's Day of sorts on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. In England, they expanded the holiday to include all mothers and named it Mothering Sunday.
Mothering Sunday started in the 1600s. After the church service in honor of the Virgin Mary, children were encouraged to bring gifts and flowers in honor of their own mothers. Servants, employees, and apprentices who were working away from their own homes were also encouraged to visit their mothers and celebrate them and with them (MothersDay, 2020).
In the United States, the idea of Mother’s Day was first suggested by Julia Ward Howe, an activist, writer, and poet, in 1872. She suggested that June 2 be annually celebrated as Mothers Day and should be dedicated to peace.
Present-day celebrations are held on the second Sunday of May annually. The day has become very popular in many countries with people gifting and appreciating mothers all over the world. Whether you are a mom with no children or many, an empty-nester or a new mother, a loving aunt or a friend, Mother's Day is for you. Your nurturing and caring ways qualify you as a mother. Mothering is a special gift designed to help and comfort others who need your strength. Regardless of how we mother, we are all doing our best with the circumstances and strengths we have. Though there are no perfect mothers, there are many great ones. (Jessen, 2014).
ReferencesEagle. (2020, April 24).
The Meaning of Life. Retrieved from Timeless Life: https://timelesslife.info/a-mother-is-the-only-person-who-carries-you-for-9-months-in-her-belly-3-years-in-her-arms-and-forever-in-her-heart
Harrisson, K. H. (2020, June 25). What Is a Mother? Not What You’ve Been Told. Retrieved from Undefining Motherhood: https://undefiningmotherhood.com/what-are-mothers/
Jessen, W. (2014, May 9). Who is a mother? Retrieved from Ktar: https://ktar.com/story/300500/who-is-a-mother/
MothersDay. (2020). Mother's Day History. Retrieved from Mothers Day: https://www.mothersdaycelebration.com/mothers-day-history.html
Sarah Hobson, Ph.D. specializes in supporting teams, departments and schools, businesses, and government agencies in building inclusive innovative change-making communities who understand how to connect well with and join diverse populations in providing needed sustainable resources for all youth and families.