On a day for mothers, let’s think about what it means to mother

Posted on: 28th March 2014


Well, we’ve all been born from one. Many of us have been one, either directly or though caring for others – children or adults.  And I’m not being gender exclusive here, in good fathering, there is mothering too.

So, when we celebrate Mother’s Day, what does it mean? Do we scuttle out to buy a guilt-ridden box of Black Magic for our birth mother or give her a quick call? Or can it mean something more radical than that? I hope so.

I’m writing this blog on International Women’s Day (8th March) and propelling myself forward to Mother’s Day. Whilst the two days complement each other, we miss the point if we conflate the two. And we miss the point badly if we only consider birth mothers (important though they are) on this day which potentially is about something much more radical.

So what’s so radical about this traditional day? Well, let’s consider the whole idea of what mothering is about. Before you read on, take a moment to think what it means for you…

… what did you think of? I imagine it might have been something around love, real love, what we call unconditional love. It may have been something about acceptance, care, understanding, respect and comfort?

Isn’t that, whatever our age, whoever we are, what we all need? Isn’t that what we all long for? And if that is the case, what does it mean for the definition of mothering and our understanding of both mothering and being mothered?

At Body & Soul many of us haven’t been mothered, nor do we mother, in the narrow nuclear family sense. Many mothers have children who they love and long for, who they lost too soon or who are back in their country of origin. Aunts, sisters, friends and cousins mother children as their own; fathers and mothers are sometimes absent; fathers may provide mothering alongside fathering.

As so many of our members tell us, Body & Soul is family. Providing those relationships of care, support, love and compassion across a radical network of connection which is built, not through blood but through compassion, commitment and love.

So, at a time of year when we are called on to celebrate mothering, let us, as so often at Body & Soul, take the more radical step of celebrating love, compassion, care, challenge, support and family in all its manifestations across all divisions.

To all of us, because we all have been mothered and we can all mother each other and ourselves. Let us celebrate our human connections which lie beyond time, geography and blood.

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