She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I think motherhood encompasses a lot of different things and doesn’t necessarily include biology as a prerequisite. I define motherhood as simply maternal qualities and relationships. I think men can be moms, I think that women who have never physically birthed can be moms. Motherhood is a type of relationship built on trust, security, love, and respect. Not every person who gives birth will be a mother and people who don’t will often find themselves mothers.
Before I had children, I spent a lot of time coaching and creating choreography for pole dancers (you read that right.) One of my dancers referred me as her “pole mom.” Our relationship was based on her trust in my instincts and ability to bring out the best in her. She looked to me and I looked out for her. I will never forget this talented girl, who worked so incredibly hard on her routine, break down in tears just days before a big competition. I remember telling her about the journey she had just been on. That she should be proud of how far she’d come. I remember feeling this need to move the sun and Earth to keep her from feeling the fear of failure that was bringing her to tears. I felt nothing but pride for all that she had accomplished. She did place second in her competition and she went on to join the circus. Yes, you’re reading that right. We’ve lost touch over the years but every now and then those memories pop up in social media feeds and we repost gushing about the magic we made as “pole mom” and “pole daughter.”
When I started my broadcasting career my very first job was given to me by a woman. She was my radio mom. Throughout my short-lived radio career we would talk, have lunches, and she would advise me. I trusted her. I had a better relationship with her than I had had with my own mother who passed when I was 20. I doubt she knows it, but she was one of the most influential people in my life and her guidance helped me see myself as someone who was strong, talented, and worthy of my goals. She was to me what I was to my “pole daughter.” She is an incredibly strong, vibrant, and empowered woman, everything I wanted to be.
When I was in labor with my now toddler one of the doctors said to me as I complained that the baby wasn’t vacating fast enough “There are two kinds of women in this world, ones who believe this is all worth it and they’re good mom’s and there are ones who don’t and they’re bad moms.” It stuck with me because it was the worst time to educate me on motherhood. I was tired, exhausted, scared, and I hadn’t eaten in over a day. Of course, I just wanted it to be over. Those 18 hours and 41 minutes that I labored with my son were the first of years that I would labor with him. I would go on to labor with nighttime feedings, fevers, coughs, vomit, tantrums, sadness, over-excitement, teaching him empathy and compassion, feeding him vegetables, and the labor continues. I often feel just as exhausted at the end of the day as I did at the end of that long day. The labor continues to this day.
Maybe you’re a teacher who’s never had children but you labor each day to educate our young minds and get them ready for the world. Maybe your kids are grown and you are laboring to help raise grandchildren. Maybe you’re a single parent who’s filling both feminine and masculine roles and you’re laboring to be the best of both worlds. Maybe you’re pregnant now and wondering if you’re going to be a good enough parent or you’re a second or third-time parent wondering if you have the love, energy, and excitement to give this next child. Maybe you’ve walked into a relationship and you’re trying to figure out what your role is as a step-parent. Maybe you’re adopting a child and you’re wondering if it’s the same as having birthed that child, you’re scared you won’t be enough. Maybe you’re struggling to find parenthood and working through infertility. You’re a mom. We are all moms. We are all laboring and birthing for people who rely on us, trust us, people we would do anything on earth for, whether they are in front of us right this second or not. Not only are we mothers but we are good mothers.
What kind of mom are you? I’m a pole mom. I’ve been a work mom to people in their late teens or early twenties. I am a mom to a toddler and I am about to be a mom again after battling infertility. I’m a boy mom. I’m a tired mom. Just like all of you, I’m a mom doing her best.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the maternal figures you’ve put in our lives. We are grateful for the responsibility that these amazing people have risen to in order to guide us, shape us, and mold us into who we are. Amen
Focus For the Day: This mother’s day let’s reach beyond literal motherhood and look at those relationships we have with all of the mothers in our lives because being a mother is more than biology and gender, it’s an intrinsic bond that we have with certain people who we have trusted and who have shaped and molded us into who we are today.