To all the women who have raised or help raise children, be they biological mothers or stepmothers, adoptive mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends, or godmothers, my glass is lifted in a toast, to you unbelievable women who have been part of molding the next generation. May I remind you that no one ever gave us a manual on how to raise children. May I remind you that society does not place much value on raising kids or gives out awards for parenting. May I remind you of all the women out there that are raising our future leaders of the world on their own, our amazing single moms. May I remind you of all the moms that hold down full-time jobs and sometimes even multiple jobs and still have the patience and love to raise a small human being.
Allow me this moment of saluting you amazing mothers of the world, because sometimes I feel that parenting has been the hardest thing I’ve done in my life, harder than engineering school, a Harvard MBA, and rocket science. I have to admire those women who make parenting look so effortless. Some of you have hosted babies in your bodies, sometimes for nine months, and others for just a few heartbreaking days. Some of you have struggled with infertility and its emotional roller coaster. Some of you have been entrusted with suddenly caring for a child. We have had to care for, bath, feed, change this baby, and later teach this child the difference between right and wrong. May I praise the mothers who have children with special needs. I was left speechless, when one day at the supermarket I observed a mother with a cerebral palsy child in a huge wheel chair contraption, while she calmly picked her tomatoes in the vegetable aisle and included her child in her conversation. These women find the courage and strength to handle all kinds of challenging situations. Then there is all the worrying. Let’s not forget the nights you stayed up with a feverish child, or the nights you stayed up waiting for your teen to get home. And then there’s the moment when your “pollito”, little chick, must leave its nest. You have completed your mission to a degree and now you can only place your trust in them and send them on their way. You think the worrying ends when they get older and become adults but it seems that it never ends. There are those other difficult moments when nothing you say or do can fix the problem, no amount of holding or supporting can change destiny’s course and only guilt and helplessness consume you. You may not know it but you teach the rest of us so much about endurance, perseverance, and understanding.
I cannot deny the joy of the moment when your child laughs uncontrollably when you tickle them or when they give you a big kiss. These are the happy thoughts that sustain you through your child’s colicky nights or the moments when your annoying teen thinks they know more than you do. There are those amazing moments when a stranger admires your child’s manners or compliments their kindness or performance. You sigh and think to yourself that perhaps you are doing something right after all. Then there are those moments when you feel you are of some great use, when your child’s head wound is bursting with blood, and only your hugs and kisses, can make it feel better or when your child asks you for help in math homework and you can actually be of help.
I would not be the mother I am today if it were not for my role models. Among them, my own mother who deserves the title of saint, a mother who has always had patience and love to guide me through life, a mother who has been unselfish and giving in every aspect imaginable. She is a mother who always has a solution, who always says, “yes, we can do this”, who is always ready to take on a task. She is someone who only knows positivity and possibilities, who never gives up. She is the one who jokes, laughs, dances, and makes me laugh. She is the one who played with me as a child, plays with my children, and finds the playfulness in life. She is the one who practices mindfulness and meditation, and who is thoughtful and magical in her ways. She is a healer, a source of positive and universal energy. How lucky for me to have had this amazing role model.
And then there are all those other great women in my life who have shared with me their wisdom and ways. Everyday I learn something new from the women who surround me, be they mothers or not. I feel blessed to be surrounded by such powerhouses, with amazing insight and experiences. I take all of this in to help me in my most challenging undertaking, that of raising my children.
To my dear fellow women raising children out there, around the world, a big salute to you because I know what a challenge it can be sometimes and I hope you recognize the value of your effort and your amazing contribution to the human race.
My friend wrote something to me in an email the other day, it was an ordinary email response but oh, so powerful. This is a friend who does not have children of her own. She wrote me after I commented to her about my daughter being upset at my not letting her do something. She wrote back,
“Your daughter is fortunate to have you as a mom. It’s not always easy – I say this from watching my sister and closest girlfriends raise children. I admire all of you mothers for the gift you provide to our planet. It’s great to set boundaries and also prioritize yourself!!!! This is something not enough moms do even though everyone benefits! “
Wow, “the gift I provide to the planet”, that sounds very powerful when put that way. And in all of this we also need to follow my sage friend’s advice, to ”prioritize yourself”, find time for yourself too. We must not lose ourselves in the everyday craziness of parenting. We must find time to learn and achieve new things, to better ourselves, and to reward ourselves. We must first take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. Aim for greatness as a person, and greatness is what you’ll hope to impart on your child.
What more can I say, wherever you are in the world, raise that glass of wine, beer, margarita, shot of aguardiente, detox juice, or just a beautiful crystal glass of sparkling water, and join me in this special Mother’s Day toast, in celebration of who we are and the special role we play,
I wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day, and a Happy Mother’s Life.