Who is a mother? What makes a mother a mother? Does it only denote "one who has a child" or is it something more? Can a mother be someone who has no children?

As I think of Mother's Day and all that it entails, I think about those who may be sad or feel left out because they want children, but do not yet have any due to infertility or other circumstances. I think of many moms with children who feel they are not worthy of the normal accolades that usually accompany the Mother's Day celebration because of perceived inadequacies. I also think of women who were not my birth mother, but who treated me with love, nurtured me and helped me become who I am. Regardless of what category you fall under as a woman, might I suggest that you are a mother?

Who are mothers?

Official definitions of 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 has the capacity to be a mother whether they have children or not.

Sheri Dew, an author, business woman and religious leader declared, "Motherhood is more than bearing children, though it is certainly that. It is the essence of who we are as women. It defines our very identity, our divine stature and nature, and the unique traits our Father gave us." Mothers are found in all shapes and forms. They can be sisters, aunts, leaders, teachers or anyone who is willing to reach out to another human being with love. As the saying goes, "it takes a village to raise a child."

Attributes of mothers

Mothers are full of various traits that the adults and children of the world need. Often, mothers are nurturing, loving, kind, comforting and leaders. Mothers protect their children, or those close to them, from harm. Teaching either intentionally or by example is what mothers do best. The eyes of a child are always watching and observing and learning from the mothers around them. Every mother has a special blend of attributes that she can use to lead, guide and lift others.

No two mothers are alike

Moms have a tendency to compare themselves to seemingly "perfect" mothers and then proceed with negative self-talk about what a terrible mother they think are. Stop it! The "seemingly perfect mom" has strengths, but she also has weaknesses. And you have weaknesses, but you also have many strengths that are perfect for your family or those you mother. Some moms have one child while others have several. Some homeschool and others use public schooling. Avoid the "mommy wars." One is not better than the other; they are just different.

In a blog post by mother and singer Whitney Permann, she stated, "God made YOU the mother of your children because he needs you to do "you" things with them. That doesn't mean we can't try new things, or do things with our children that THEY enjoy. It simply means we can stop worrying that we aren't mothering our kids the way our friends are mothering theirs.There IS a right way to mother YOUR kids, and that's by capitalizing on your own God-given strengths. They're yours because they need what you have."

Mother's Day is a day to be celebrated

Though we as moms may not like Mother's Day all that much, the people in our lives want to show their love for us. Every day, moms selflessly cook, clean, nurture, lift, inspire and a myriad of other duties. Remember to enjoy and be grateful to those who want to celebrate YOU. Likewise, tell the women in your life how much they mean to you. There is nothing like witnessing the joy on the faces of a small child, a spouse or friends as they do something kind for you to show their love and appreciation. Be grateful and let them shower you with love this Mother's Day.

Whether you are a mom with no children or many, an empty-nester or a new mother, a loving aunt or 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.

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