09 May 2014

Happy Mother's Day

I don’t have children, but there are so many babies in my life whom I can’t imagine loving any more than I already do if they were mine biologically. I have celebrated their births and birthdays, their first steps and their first words and their first days of school. I have tended their boo-boos, dried their tears, sung them lullabies, and grieved more than a couple of heartbreaking losses and too-early deaths. I have watched their mothers endure difficult pregnancies, pain, exhaustion, and exasperation while prioritizing the lives and happiness of their babies above their own, and I have witnessed them do so without a second thought, without caveat, and without bitterness or regret. They have fought fiercely for the title of Mama, Mommy, Mom, Mum. Motherhood hasn't come easily or effortlessly, or without cost, to any woman I know. I proudly name these warrior mamas among my family, my closest friends, my most favorite people … my heroines.

For reasons that I cannot comprehend, it’s become posh to criticize motherhood. Mommy bloggers passive-aggressively insinuate themselves into positions of mock authority and through a computer screen, anonymously berate working mothers and stay-at-home mothers, mothers of only children and mothers of multiple children, mothers who breastfeed and mothers who don’t breastfeed, mothers who co-sleep and mothers who place their sleeping babies into cribs, baby-wearing mothers and mothers with strollers, mothers who are indulgent and mothers who emphasize discipline, home-schooling mothers and mothers who sacrifice to pay private school tuition. No mother is immune from their venom; no mother is ever good enough.

I would like for us to acknowledge collectively that being a good mother does not mean adhering to a singular chronology or design. Good mothers are everywhere, and they are just as perfect and just as imperfect as the children that they parent. I love that I get to celebrate mothers this weekend because now more than ever, it is my fervent wish that these women feel valued, respected, appreciated, and empowered. So here’s my message to all the mothers I love:

You are doing a good job. Your babies are fed. Your babies are sheltered and warm. Your babies are held and cuddled, loved and adored, and well looked after. Whatever choices you’ve made, don’t capitulate. You are doing everything right. You are a shining example of what a strong woman should be. You are a blessing to your children, and you show your children in a million ways that they are blessings to you. Your kiss heals in an instant, and your voice comforts the greatest fear. Your lap is a refuge from every storm, and your house will always be home. Your smile is “good morning, sunshine” and “good night, moon” and every sweet, timeless moment in between. Your hands offer the softest touch and the strongest support. With your hugs, your arms celebrate every victory and soothe the worst hurt, but won't do their most difficult job until later, when they let go. I think that you are spectacular, astounding, and miraculous. And I believe that if you ask your children, you will find that they think so, too.