“Mother” is a verb, a true action word, and a choice.
I often find it interesting on Mother’s Day, that those without children feel that they too need to be celebrated for being an aunt, a godmother, a friend who helps mother a child. As a biologically childless woman, each year I often receive text messages exclaiming “happy women’s day” or “happy mother’s day” or “happy momtie” day. And while I certainly appreciate the acknowledgment for my contributions to the lives of my niece, nephew, and legions of college students, I would personally like the focus of the day to be on those women who have provided meals daily, homes for children daily, and made sacrifices of their own lives.
Having children requires major sacrifices, especially for women. I have many high school & college friends, and cousins who are mothers. I havw watched as they have given to their children when they had little give themselves, in the servitude of another — for 18+ years.
Giving selflessly to another is the act of mothering.
I didn’t understand this until a therapist shared with me four years ago that my deep sense of aloneness was due to the lack of mothering, due to my own mother’s passing in my twenties. Upon sharing this, I proactively reached out to those I felt could be a mother figure to me, as I realized the benefit of being mothered. My life has been greatly improved since then thanks to two cousins and two of my mothers friends “mothering” me from time to time.
In the lion’s share of witnessing those who mother, they sacrifice career, public recognition and often personal wealth accumulation. In mothering, they pour into others. I have personally found that in relation to most of those I know who have had children, my worldly success exceeds theirs. Yet, let me be clear, success does not equal happiness. Yet my reference here is to illustrate that in making the choice to mother, they often sacrificed the potential of their own talent.
NOTE: This is NOT about women who desired them and could not biologically bear them.
Because of my life experience, I feel compelled to exalt and acknowledge the women who chose to have children (biologically or adoption). Children are miracles and mothering is a choice, a mission and a path. And as such, I honor every single woman (or man) who has chosen to mother.
Olivia F. Scott, Consultant/Business Owner/Professor @NYU & Loyola University New Orleans.