Today my family celebrated Mother’s Day. As the mother of four adult children who have now all left home to spread their wings it is so special when we can all come together. This year our get together for Mother’s Day was made even more special due to the recent social restrictions due to Covid-19.
The celebration of mothers and motherhood has existed throughout the world over thousands of years but our more recent version of Mother’s Day became an official US holiday in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a day of “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country”.
In our modern society girls and young women are often told that they can have it all, a family and a career but the actual reality of having both a family and career can be a very difficult thing to manage. Often women are left feeling that they have sacrificed spending time with their children or jeopardised their career by not working.
A child’s family and home environment is so important for their development and in today’s busy world with both parents working young children are often placed in child care from a very young age. This means that life is extremely busy for families and there is often less time they can spend and grow together. I am reminded of the Cat Stevens song “The Cat in the Cradle”, which tells the story of a father who never has time for his son and when the son grows up, he never has time for his father. In today’s world this song could equally equate to mothers.
Since Covid-19, some parents I know who are normally juggling busy work schedules and family life, have described to me how much pressure they feel has been taken off them and how much they have enjoyed spending more time with their children.
Now that my children are all adults, every moment I have the opportunity to spend with them is so precious and I realise how short our time is in being ‘hands on’ Mothers. I think that the following poem on Children by Kahlil Gibran explains our role beautifully:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who continue to love and care for their families whatever their situation. It is no small thing. When Mother Teresa was asked how to promote world peace, she replied “Go Home and Love your Family”.