Ah, Mother’s Day. This is the day of the year when greeting card companies, women’s stores and restaurants encourage everyone to remember and celebrate Mom, the person who has hopefully been remembering and celebrating them for the rest of the year. When I think of “Mom”, I think of a dedicated nurturer whether they were born in a female or male body . A dedicated nurturer is wise, loving, understanding, encouraging, and rational. She loves her children unconditionally, knows how to set reasonable boundaries on their behavior, and urges them to find and follow their life’s purpose. Let’s face it. That is a special set of super-powers, one not very common in today’s world.
I want to celebrate all the mothers who have these super powers, as well as the rest of us who strive to give our children as much love and support as we can. In this time when women are encouraged to do the impossible by having it all and doing it all, you have chosen to give the best of your heart energy to your children. You deserve to have breakfast in bed with someone else having to clean up the kitchen, or brunch or dinner at a special restaurant. You deserve the cards, the gifts, the expressions of love not only on Mother’s Day, but throughout the year. And you are the mothers who want to know how to do better at raising incredible human beings. What follows are some suggestions I have gleaned from a life of working to improve my nurturing ability in spiritual, psychological, and practical ways.
First, this caveat: whenever I have taught or discussed raising children, someone in the audience or circle has come to me feeling guilty because they raised their child in a way different from what I presented. Try not to feel guilty. It is a monumental waste of emotion. We can’t change things we have done in the past, but we can improve what we do in the future. It is difficult to raise a child. It is impossible to do so perfectly. We are human and we make mistakes. But, if we are wise, we learn from them.
It takes strength to nurture, and a willingness to put your children’s needs before your own. It takes the ability to always remember it is more difficult to be a child than to raise one. Think about that. Infants and children are powerless to fully express their needs or to defend themselves. They are totally dependent upon those who care for them. While we all agree it takes a village to raise a child well, there are very few villages or families dedicated to this undertaking, and a number of them that exist I find downright scary in their belief systems. Most people tend to fall into parenthood ill prepared for the demands parenthood makes. Their only role models are the families who raised them. I deeply believe the most destructive “old boy’s network” belief system in the world is the one that teaches: the way my parents raised me was good enough to make me pretty okay so it is the way I am going to raise my children.
If you didn’t feel loved as a child, you have probably spent much of your adult life looking for a way to fill the hole you feel in your heart. Many of these ways have little to do with love and end up making us feel emptier than we did before. Consequently we have a society of love-starved people all looking for some way to find love. And there are far too few natural nurturers to give it.
Ending love starvation all starts with creating and supporting dedicated nurturers who can raise children who are not hungry for love. I implore those of you who have children, are thinking of having children or are working with children to put aside your own love starvation as much as you can and appropriately nurture the young people in your care. By doing so, you will help to raise a generation of love-filled people. Just one generation that knows Mom really did her best to love them would make an incredible change for the good in our world.
A very happy Mother’s Day to all the nurturers reading this. Glad you had the time to sit down and do something for yourself.