This Sunday is Mother’s Day.
It is a beautiful day that reminds us of all that our dear mothers did for us. We pay respect to the women who did all they could to give us better lives. Mothers deserve this day to be universally recognized. We often think of the women who carried and gave birth to children, or who adopted a child, as the only mothers around us.
The sacrifice and selflessness of those mothers is incredible, but I offer an additional perspective—I think every woman, in one way or another, is a mother.
Women in general have an amazing capacity for kindness. The stereotype of a warm, cheerful, and loving mother is based on an instinct to nurture and love. Many women feel a natural impulse to take care of others. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the only, or even the most meaningful way to care for others, is to have children. I have a few friends who are amazing, sweet, loving people—and for some of them, having children is not something they desire. Many of them choose instead to nurture plants, animals, or show their love by taking care of friends and family.
Many other women ache to be mothers but don’t get the chance, or they have to wait a very long, painful amount of time to have the privilege. Some never marry, some can never conceive, some can’t afford to adopt, and some marry a partner who doesn’t want children. It was not until last year that I realized that Mother’s Day can be extremely painful for some women. Yet these women still take care of others every day. They still help and love and care for the children in the community, in their families, in their church congregations, and all around them. Are these women mothers? I think so.
While the rest of us find ourselves occasionally complaining that we have to sacrifice sleep, time, and sometimes sanity to raise children, these women patiently and kindly empathize with us, sometimes feeling that they would have gladly sacrificed those things if they had the chance. Often, they carry silently within them a deep sadness that they never had the opportunity of child rearing and the ache and pain that brings. In spite of those feelings, these women still listen and reach out in love to those around them.
Take a moment and consider each woman who has ever had an impact on your life, even if it was in a small way.
For example, many of my school teachers I had growing up were single and without children. They taught me so much and sacrificed greatly to help me learn.
There were many women in my church whose service influenced me in one way or another: primary teacher, Sunday school teacher, young women’s leader, Bishop’s wife, and others. Not all of these women had children of their own.
I would like to consider myself a product of not just one amazing, beautiful mother, but of hundreds (although my own mother definitely deserves the majority of the credit). Hundreds of different women helped shaped me into who I am today. They may not even realize they impacted my life, but they did. I am who I am today because of what they did for me; how they taught me, and loved me, and worried about me. They never stopped caring.
Many women that aren’t physical mothers have helped to nurture children in one way or another. These women should be celebrated on Mother’s day as well. Please consider those in your church congregations, families and neighborhoods who may not have children and find ways to celebrate and recognize them on this special day.
It is important to not take away the joy of Mother’s Day and all it means for our dear mothers who certainly deserve an outpouring of love and respect for all they have done. I am just suggesting that we simply broaden our perspective so that we can lift others with us in our joy instead of accidentally causing harm and pain that could have been avoided.
Thank you to each of you wonderful women who have impacted my life and who continue to do so each day, and thank you to all of the mothers out there who nurture and love all around them!
Happy Mother’s Day!