All the hype and excitement of MOTHER’S DAY is over but that begets the question, WHO REALLY IS A MOTHER? While listening to a Mother’s Day message recently, I found myself asking the above question among others.
THE ORIGIN: Both the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran reverence the role of motherhood and so do our various cultures. Gen.3.16 NLT version of the bible refers to the procreative role of the woman and states “…I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy and in pain, you will give birth”. Similarly, the Holy Quran 46:15 refers to the pain of birthing children. Both books also refer to the process of weaning children with references to Isaac and Samuel in the Bible and to the Quran 31:14. Does it, therefore, follow that all women are mothers and conversely so?
To enable us a better understanding, we will consider some definitions and roles.
DEFINITIONS: The keywords in that question are “Women” and “Mothers”.
A WOMAN is an adult female human being as defined by Oxford languages and Google.
A MOTHER on the other hand can be defined as a woman in relation to her child or children (Noun). Please note that it does not prefix child or children with the word biological.
The verb definition however describes what she does as a female human being who either gives birth to an offspring and/ or brings up (nurtures and mentors) a child with care and affection. This, therefore, presupposes that not all mothers give birth to offspring. Some only nurture and mentor other women’s children.
CLASSES OF MOTHER: There are therefore a minimum of five categories of mothers who play the role of mothering and every woman falls into a minimum of one category:
- Biological Mother (She could be married or single)
- Adoptive Mother (Legal adoption)
- Foster Mother (Informal arrangement)
- Stepmother (A result of marrying a divorced or widowed father)
- Spiritual Mother (One who superintends over spiritual matters)
Do we, therefore, see mothering as a Task or a call?
A task is a piece of work to be done or undertaken. A Calling
on the other hand stems out of an internal passion requiring responsibility and commitment to making an impact in the lives of the children you mother. It is a passion from within which pervades the exterior in action, impacting lives.
A quotation on The Call to serve our families culled from the book – The Leadership Gap – by Lolly Daskal reads “Make sure those you love know you’re there for them, even when they are not there for you. If you are called to serve you show up with the best of what you have to offer – and when it comes to serving our families, there’s no such thing as going too far”.
Therefore, the most important function common to all classes of mothers is that of nurturing and mentoring with care and affection. In the process of training a child, discipline is often necessary, and most often it is better appreciated later in the child’s life, Proverbs13:24 says “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. A mother who exhibits the right mix of love attention and discipline will have her children rise up and call her blessed and her memory will continually be a blessing.
THE POSER: Gbeminiyi is confused as to who to invite for her graduation. She is entitled to only one invitee. Her mother left her with her father when she was six years old and eloped with a lover. Her stepmother played the role of a loving mother and even paid her fees when her father passed on. Her mother has been reaching out to her in recent times and she is torn between acknowledging her Stepmother and her biological mother especially since she must choose one over the other for the occasion. A difficult decision but what would you advise? Please place your comments on the blog or revert to me in person through firstname.lastname@example.org.
I doff my hat to all TRUE mothers and potential mothers as well as fathers who have had to play dual roles as father and mother. May their labor of love never go unrewarded.
9 thoughts on “MOTHERING – A CALLING OR A TASK”
If I were to be in Gbeminiyi’s shoes. I would easily go for my stepmother who stood by me even when there was no father, rather than that woman who didn’t even have the heart to stay back with my father for my sake. No thinking twice.
A suggestion The step mum gets the invite – for all the support given to get the graduate to this point 👏🏽but mum gets to come too for the after party too -wait outside the ceremony ( siblings do this too as there’s only 2 invites for mum & dad) Birth mum could, maybe prepare food for guests and show that she is indeed ‘ reaching out’ for real.
The above was a comment received off line. Wisdom!!!
I applaud that tiny population of men who have had cause to play this noble role which some jocularly refer to as being ‘Mr. Mum’ It is indeed not easy. God bless all mothers and those who play the role.
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Yes indeed. The dad/mums. Kudos to them!
I don’t think there should be any confusion here. The stepmother is the only mother Gbeminiyi knows. He can connect with the biological mother later, but for the program, the stepmother it is.
Thanks Adeola, I am in agreement.
Mothering as for me is a calling. If I were Gbeminiyi I would invite my stepmother to the occasion. Many so called biological mothers have shown that they don’t qualify for the role. It takes more than birthing to nurture a child..
Thanks ma. I agree.
Thanks ma. Your commrnt is perfectly true.