The art of mothering

This is my ‘editorial’ from our publications that was in all our May editions for Mother’s Day. I’ve changed it slightly as it’s not just relevant on Mother’s Day. I’ve had a request for it online for the purposes of sharing. I’m more than happy to oblige, of course. Here it is 🙂

Sadly, for many the relationship with their mother is not an easy or pleasant one. I’ve been fortunate to have had a steady, loving, supportive relationship with mine, and because of this, my heart breaks for those who don’t.

I was chatting about mothers with some friends the other day, and out of the conversation came a recognition for the need for mothering types of relationships, for all of us but more so if our relationship with our mother is not the best.

In the street I spent my teenage years, I had a few mothers. They were women who offered a different perspective than my own mother, and who were a little removed emotionally from me. Because they weren’t as emotionally invested in me as my own mother, they could perhaps see things from another angle and give unique insight. I will always be thankful for those who took an interest in me as a growing young woman and for the time they spent listening to me and my teenage angst, most of which was unwarranted, mind you!

During the conversation with my friends, I said the words “we need to embrace universal motherhood”. We all chuckled at the slightly ‘hippy’ turn of phrase but it’s true, we need to be ‘mothering’ one another.

Let’s get a definition of what it means to ‘mother’ someone. According to my trusty dictionary it means to look after, care for, take care of, nurse, protect, tend, raise, rear, pamper, coddle, cosset, fuss over. 

So, really, mothering shouldn’t just be left to mothers, or even women. Mothering should be what we all do for everyone. As adults, we don’t need ‘mothering’ all the time but there are times we need to be looked after, taken care of, or fussed over. In our friendships, we need to be looking for opportunities to show care and nurture our friends.

Mothering others means we give them attention, we listen, we take note of when they need some extra care and pampering. It was interesting to note that the antonym for ‘mothering’ is neglect. And when you think about it, when we neglect something, we give it no attention at all, no care or interest.

Why not take some time to appreciate those ‘mothers’ who fill the need in your life for that little bit of TLC? And while you’re appreciating them, take a look around for those people in your life who might need some mothering themselves, after all, we do need to ‘embrace universal motherhood’!

8 thoughts on “The art of mothering

  1. I was mothered very well. In fact, I had two loving mothers – one, my actual mom, and one, my Aunt Agnes – she took us in after my father took off. I had a wonderful childhood. I did the best I could for my son…now I have another chance to mother with my grandchildren. Just wonderful all around!


  2. I, too, was fortunate to have a wonderful mother…one I lost way too soon. But at least I had her there for my growing up years and was almost launched into adulthood when I lost her. I doubt that I lived up to her example, but then I don’t know what she went through to be the mother that she was. I know I’ve been more honest with my feelings with my children (for better or worse), and I know I’ve taught them to deal with those feelings. One of the difficulties of losing a mother before you become one yourself is not being able to ask her “OMIGOSH, Mom, how did you do this??!!”
    Other “mothering”, supportive women would have been a big help. Thanks for the reminder, Susannah, that we all need to help each other be better mothers.


    • Sorry to hear your mum was taken early 😦 Sounds like you’ve done a wonderful job of mothering your own children despite not having your mother there to ask for advice. And we don’t just need to help each other be better mothers, we need to remember that everyone needs mothering – to be cared for, tended and cherished 🙂


  3. I ‘adopted’ an extra mother when I was 14. She lives in Florida and I in Washington state now, but I still call her mom and she calls me daughter. We have stayed in touch all these many years. My life would not have been the same without her.


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