As much as being a Mom today is not what it used to be, the basics still apply. It’s all about unconditional, never-ending, patience and kind love. That said, for some it is also about drinking lots of wine!! There are even those Moms who are known to literally hide from their kids in the same house….my mom in law which I love to bits.…use to lock herself in the bathroom, with a tin of condense milk (she kept behind the toilet) to take a break from her 3 children.
Most of us will agree, that it’s by far the most relentless and mostly thankless job any woman will endure, but it is also the most natural thing to be for so many of us. It’s plain horrible and incredibly amazing all in one. With Mother’s Day just passed, I think it is fair to say that not only do we celebrate Mothers, but women in general. There are so many incredible women who impact our lives, and in their own way portray themselves as Mothers to so many. I also 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. If I just look at myself and the many women whom have been in my life……I am so blessed to have had grandmothers showing me how to bake and how to knit – I know only one pattern, but my kids and my dogs love my work. There is also my family and friends, whom I know I can call on when I am stuck, and for loving my kids the same way I do and my own mother, always willing to make time and help where she can – giving so generously and being a very active grandmother to so many children. 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, and I also include our fury kids.
The meaning of being a mother is virtually endless. A mother is a protector, disciplinarian and friend. A mother is a selfless, loving human who must sacrifice many of their wants and needs for the wants and needs of their children. A mother works hard to make sure their child is equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities to make it as a competent human being. Being a mother is perhaps the hardest, most rewarding job a woman will ever experience. It’s about giving. Selflessly, all the time and worrying – I find myself worrying ALL.THE.TIME. about my kids – balance diets, school, friends, tv, social media – the list goes on!
Equally it is also about receiving infinite amounts of love and watching as your child grows and becomes their very own person. Surviving that independent and strong-willed child, you pretty much created yourself is probably our biggest challenge. There is my son – he turns 8 this week. Ehrik biggest dream is to surf and to walk the great wall of China, eating Sushi and Chinese noodles. My old self would have told him off, but I realized over December how much I underestimated my kids. With a little freedom and lots of love and support – they are capable of so much more. He surfed after one lesson and we are working on a plan for China (on excel, yes). “You are all going to buy home baked rusks from me, because I will make this happen for him”.
My little girl is something else though, and she has taught me very different things – lots and lots and lots of patience. She might only be three, but she is a brave individual with likes and dislikes just like most of us. She has good and bad days – the bad days are really something, I must tell you. She will push boundaries and not always follow a plan. Whilst this might annoy or upset some people, for me, it’s a lesson in NOT sweating the small stuff. Having come from a large corporate background the past 20 years, (pretty much burnt out), this up close and personal parenting, has been a revelation. So, we wear slippers to school and adore batman, I would wear my slippers if I could every day, and in fact, since leaving the corporate space, I have had a real wardrobe crisis. The truth is that they are people, just little, and they need us Mothers to help guide them – into the best versions of themselves. It may be a journey that resembles a rollercoaster ride on fire, but it is our privilege and the reason they will always love us for what we bring to them. The same for all the female role models in their lives. Grannies, aunties, friends, housekeepers and helpers. Each one brings something different to the term Mother.
If we had to take a sneak peek into South Africa’s demographics about motherhood, you would soon see that the outlook is bleak. More the 64% of households are headed by single Mothers. This figure has probably increased even more now, but what it tells us, is that Mothers are fundamental to the success of this country. In saying this, there is no malice intended towards men, I have been blessed with a Superman of a husband and father. It’s just so many are not as lucky as I am – and its breeding a different culture, and one I particular like, despite the struggles. Independence, self-belief and the will to succeed without the typical structures of the past. This is our role now! We need to raise these delights! Balancing discipline with free will.
So, this month, I honour all the Mothers – past, present and future. Our role is vital to the world. We are amazing, and I am excited about what we can achieve with tomorrow’s generation of leaders. Take care – and always be yourself, unless you can be Batman!