I picked up a book the other day on getting organized. I could use some inspiration to get my piles of stuff sorted and better organized so I can find things. By the time I search around for something, I forget what I wanted it for. Do you ever do that?
As I started reading this book, I got 2 or 3 pages in, and had read the word Mommy about 37 times. Now, I never had children. And I know I’m not the only woman who hasn’t. So I thought it kind of odd that this author was assuming that the only woman who wants or needs to get organized is the mother of small children.
What about empty nesters? Are they assuming that after your kids are grown your life is no longer full? When you hit 50 is life over?
I put the book down, and never read the rest of the book. It’s not the first time I’ve felt left out because I didn’t have children. I don’t regret my choice, but in the company of other women, especially when the topic gets around to pregnancies and kids, I have nothing to add to the conversation. They assume every woman has children. But that’s not accurate.
Some women can’t have children. Or they choose a demanding career. Or they choose to remain single and free. Or whatever. The fact is, there are plenty of women who don’t have children.
I know plenty of mothers, and I know that raising children is a lot of work. They need to keep on top of their schedule and keep their homes organized and everybody taken care of. But don’t the rest of us? Let’s say you’re a married woman who runs a small business. Your husband works and helps his Dad farm, you have a dog, you garden, you take care of your parents (and his too), and you both love to camp on weekends. Don’t you need to be organized too?
I should think so.
And I happen to think that all women are mothers. I know, the literal meaning of mother is to give birth to a child. But part of the definition is as a verb, to act maternally. What is that? A mother provides love and support, care and nourishment. There are many ways to provide love and care.
I happen to be a pet mom, and I love it! Dogs and horses are my favorite “kids”. I love taking care of them, and feeling the affection I get in return. I just wished they lived longer. When I have to head home to feed my horse or let my dog out I feel needed. Maybe you love being a pet mom too.
Many of us give birth to ideas, or projects. Every author considers her writing to be a “child”. The same with quilters, photographers, and jewelry designers. Everything that you make is a “child” so to speak, a product that we create within ourselves. It’s a part of us.
Many of us “mother” our parents. As they age they get forgetful, and unable to do many of the things they used to. They need us to look out for them, tell them it’s ok, and love them.
Many of us look out for friends and family, coworkers, etc. We love and nurture those we care about. I consider that mothering.
If you aren’t a mother with children of your own, you can always have children in your life (the human kind) if you want to. It’s not the same as having your own, for sure, but for those who regret not having them, it’s something. You may have nephews and nieces (and great nephews and nieces) to have fun with when you want to. And you can send them home when you get tired. You may have friends or neighbors with kids that you can babysit or chat with if you enjoy it.
Being around young people can by interesting and energizing. But if you’re not into kids, or even if you are, there are other ways to give of yourself and feel connected. You may have a charity that you love to support, or maybe a friend or child of a friend that you’ve taken under your wing to mentor.
Maybe you belong to a church group, are involved in your local Chamber of Commerce, tutor college students or teach piano. There are many ways to provide love and support, and get it in return as well. There’s few things so rewarding as giving of yourself.
So the next time the ladies are chatting about their pregnancies or toddlers, and you feel left out, remind yourself of all the pets and people you mother, who need you and love you. No man is an island, as the saying goes. Each life touches so many others. So celebrate the mother you are, and love and treasure the lives around you.