Mothering As A Verb

 Like every year, we took some photos on Mother’s Day. Our day was long, beautiful, special, and extremely easy. As every Mother’s Day should be. The sky’s were dark in the morning, and the sun shined through in the afternoon. A few photos and some powerful words on Mothering as a verb…

Mother As A verb | Gloria Steinem 
I’ve been thinking about Mother’s Day, and why I and others, who are not mothers, identify with this day just as much as if we were. Of course, it’s partly because we all owe our lives to our own mothers — which would be enough — but I think there is another reason. Even if we are not mothers, the noun, we may be mothering, the verb. Indeed, unless mothering is a verb, it is not an action in the world. Think about it: As a noun, mother is limited to half the human race, and also to the accident of fertility and age and intention. In some societies, motherhood is honored only in women who are married, or who have sons. In most societies, a woman is more encouraged to give birth to another person than she is to give birth to herself.

As a noun, mother may be good or bad, willing or unwilling, on welfare or rich, worshipped or blamed, dominating or nurturing, accidental or chosen. Perhaps that’s why the word mother is so much used in profanity; in war, as in “the Mother of All Bombs;” or by war-makers who honor Hero Mothers who give birth to soldiers. But when mother is a verb – as in to be mothered and to mother — ah, then the very best of human possibilities come into our imaginations. And we are all able to mother, whatever our sex or our age or our abilities. To mother is to care about the welfare of another person as much as one’s own. To mother depends on empathy and thoughtfulness, noticing and caring. To mother creates the only pairing in which the older and the younger, the stronger and the weaker, are perfectly matched. It is also about free will. One can be forced to become a mother, but one cannot be forced to mother. What Julia Ward Howe had in mind in 1870 when she invented Mother’s Day was a day on which we oppose war and advance peace. In other words, it was not Mother’s Day, but a Mothering Day. It reminds us all, whether we are young or old, male or female, of the possibilities that lie within us and that we cherish in others.

I hope you had a beautiful weekend.

0 thoughts on “Mothering As A Verb

  • Reply Aspen Cross May 11, 2016 at 12:27 am

    LaTonya…these photos are absolutely beautiful. I love the way you document your family and your lessons and motherhood moments. Seeing your happiness, especially River's joy in particular, just made my day! 🙂

  • Reply KEEN Kids May 19, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Love this! Your words and photos are always so beautiful and full of grace! 💓

  • Reply Sarah Jean June 17, 2016 at 2:06 am

    I just found your blog through this post- love it & I'm loving your blog. Thank you!

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