If you think Mother’s Day was contrived by the savvy folks at Hallmark, think again. Though Hallmark is certainly a big part of today’s Mother’s Day celebrations, this heartfelt day, which recognizes women across the world who all have one thing in common — the honor and privilege of being called “Mom,” “Mum,” “Mommy,” “Mama,” “Mother,” etc. – is steeped in history dating back to the 1600s when a clerical decree in England referred to the day as Mothering Day.
Eventually, when the English settlers came to America they discontinued the acknowledgement of Mothering Day because it conflicted with their Puritan ideals. The first North American Mother’s Day was conceptualized with Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870 which was basically born for mothers who wanted to recognize peace amongst war. There was much back and forth about how this holiday would actually play out but finally in 1912 West Virginia became the first state to officially recognize Mother’s Day, and in 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed it into national observance, declaring the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Many countries followed suit shortly after and now over 40 countries celebrate this special day throughout the world.
Sunday, we will celebrate the women who put their family’s first and know unconditional love despite the trying circumstances they sometimes find themselves’ facing—mothers! Here is a collection of mom’s best advice for new and fellow moms.
Parenting is a dance. It can be beautifully fluid or clumsy and disconnected. Like any dance with someone we love, the key to achieving a satisfying dance is not scripting your own footwork, it’s really about hearing (and feeling) the music your partner is dancing to and responding in kind. At every stage of the continuum of parenthood, parents have the opportunity to create their own internal images of what their dance with their child will look like. And, although we have more resources about child development than our parents ever did, we often design our images based on our own memories of our childhood and feelings about enhanced media images. (She will sleep through the night, I will have time to clean the house, bake organic brownies, and even bathe, I will not be the disciplinarian my father was, my child will not talk back or argue with siblings, please and thank yous will be abundant, my child will love the activities I love, etc.)
We all have images that we have created about who we and our children will be at certain times in our lives. The “rub” of the dance begins when we are challenged in our ability to reconcile our image with the reality of our partner’s music. Mr. Rogers said “The best thing parents can do for their children is to listen to them,” and I have to agree. In the lifelong dance of parenting development, this simple wisdom is all the music you need! –Brenda L. Potter
I think that the best advice I would have for a new mother is to be patient. There are going to be so many days that she is going to feel like she has absolutely none, but somehow she needs to dig deep and search for her patience. Motherhood isn’t the easiest job in the world, but it is probably the best job a woman will ever have. It is the most rewarding for sure and honestly, when have you ever had a job where you received a “hug” and a “kiss” as payment for your services. That is simply the best! Maryann Clarke
My eight kids range in ages from 5 to 17. After six years of infertility, a blessed adoption and seven pregnancies later, I can tell you without a doubt that motherhood is absolutely NOTHING like I expected it to be. I assumed that I had paid my dues with the struggle of three miscarriages and years of infertility and that my coveted role as a mom would be full of endless, carefree moments and the feelings of indescribable love that I would have for each of them would take my breath away. One of the predictions came true: the love I have for all eight of them truly does leave me breathless sometimes. As for the endless, carefree moments—not even close.
They say motherhood is the toughest job you’ll ever love for a reason. Kids need boundaries and they need unconditional love, support and acceptance. The day I realized that, was the day I was able to take a deep breath and love each of them for the individuals they are, not for who I thought they should be. When you hear that old cliché “don’t sweat the small stuff”, listen—truly listen. Our children are gifts to us: they are on loan for a short period of time, and will soon go off and live their own lives as individuals. They are sneaky little observers of us! Remember you have little eyes watching you when you least expect it so be the best role model you can possibly be at all given times, even when you are absolutely beat and don’t feel like it–especially then! Catch them doing things that are good—and let them know it! Better yet—catch yourself being a good mom and let yourself know it! Cheryl Butler
Feel free to add your own motherly advice.
Wishing you a very Happy Mother’s Day!