To all the mamas and grannies and fairy stepmothers, the cool aunts, and the nurturing daddies, we see you; we love you and appreciate you.
Having babies is beautiful and valuable. Yet just as the success of a marriage is not solely determined by the wedding, successful parenting has little to do with a successful birth.
On this day, as we honor our mothers, we acknowledge and honor all the individuals who step in to nurture and care for lives that they did not personally bring into the world: the adoptive parents, aunties, uncles, godparents, stepparents, friends, and neighbors. The capacity to nurture and care exists within all people to some extent, regardless of gender.
Nurturing involves fostering the potential of a young life and creating a safe and trusting environment where each child’s unique gifts can flourish, with qualities such as patience, empathy, warmth, support, deep listening, and compassion. In addition to the seemingly endless practical responsibilities of providing food, clothing, education, and medical care, there is also the ongoing task of providing nuanced and subtle guidance to help children become integrated and whole adults: encouraging self-expression, collaboration, assertiveness, and clarity.
This matters for all of us: how children are parented creates the society of the future. Research has shown that parental warmth is crucial for children’s social development, as a lack of warmth can lead to antisocial and aggressive behaviors. On the other hand, nurtured children tend to have lower levels of anxiety and depression.
Not everyone is naturally inclined to be a mother or father. There can be various reasons a parent may struggle to be nurturing, which may be beyond their control. For instance, a mother may be dealing with her own mental health issues, financial stress, or relationship problems, making it challenging to engage emotionally with her children. Similarly, a father may be affected by generational patterns of trauma, addiction, or other circumstances. Mothers and fathers can be absent; they can die early and be incapacitated. While we may hope for every parent to be fully present for their child, the reality is that this is not always possible. This is where other individuals can and do step in and fill that void.
For all those who do the archetypal tasks of mothering, thank you, and many blessings.
Happy Mother’s Day,
Your Rosebud Team