Looking ahead to Children’s Mental Health Month and Mother’s Day in May, our Change Matrix team took time to reflect on the importance of mothers and mother figures to nurture and promote the mental health of children.
Sandra – Helping a child feel safe and secure is so critical to the mental health development of children. I think of a mother’s special ability to reinforce safety and security as I see my friends raising their children. They are affectionate and loving. They console if there’s hurt or sadness. They reassure if something is confusing or scary. They constantly reinforce to their children how much they are loved, both through their words and actions.
Rachele – Being a mother is the best and most rewarding, joyful relationship! I’ve embraced every emotion and experience – from the very beginning phases of motherhood and experiencing all the “firsts” to navigating life with teenage boys. Being a loving constant for them, no matter what they are experiencing, is one of the most important things I can do.
Elizabeth – The moments of pure joy in my life are mostly those I experience as a mom. And most of them are related to movement towards claiming their lives – walking, riding their bike for the first time, going on a first sleepover, going to college…From the safety of our loving relationship, they have taken reasonable risks, fallen down, gotten up, and learned from it all.
Suganya – The giver of life! In all cultures mothers are revered and honored. Though this is not a personal experience for me, I see the nurturing, the care, the love, my partners, colleagues, friends, nieces, sisters give to this important role in their life and I realize how important it is to safeguard their ability to do so – to protect and care for the next generation. This gives meaning to our work.
Shannon – Motherhood. The birthing of life. All the parts of motherhood. Inceptions, gestations, and births. The planet as mother. The mothers of invention, of non human relatives, of other species. Sacred bonds. My experiences of motherhood. My experiences of being with mothers. Birth mother. Other mothers. Miracle makers. Those are some of my thoughts about motherhood today. I am grateful that I am living a life time where I get to experience the miracle of motherhood in all its many expressions.
London – Right before the morning alarm, young voices call, “Mooommm, Daaaddd.” Kids are climbing into our bed, arms and legs are everywhere. It’s time to get up before someone…ouch! Breakfast is made, mouths are fed, teeth are brushed, bodies are clothed, “put your shoes on, put your shoes on, put your shoes on!” They’re out the door. I gingerly step over Lego, other toys and goldfish crackers (how did those get there?) scattered across the floor. There’s time to pick up after a cup of tea, a deep breath, a reflection on the fact that life is richer – and often more hectic – with these two fine people in our lives. And aren’t we lucky? Because, life’s purpose was found the moment his first breath was taken in the outside world and then found again when his brother came to be. Motherhood is the greatest gift and privilege ever bestowed upon me.
Alina – In thinking about the roles a mother plays in developing who we are, I see such a parallel between people and the earth. Both have taught me to see beauty and art in all things, both have shown me the importance of nurturing others. I am grateful for the mothers I’ve had the chance to know and learn from, including the many accompanying me on this team!
Tennille – Being a mother is my favorite thing. My aunt once said, “Having children is like having broke best friends.” She was right. My children are my best friends. After having a difficult relationship with my own mother I strive to not repeat her mistakes. However, I also strive to maintain the good parts with my children. My mother and I had our issues but one thing I can say is “She was always there!” Every class trip, recital, band performances, sporting events, school dance, first date, award, etc. My mother never missed an event. My children can say the same thing. No matter where I am at in my career my most important title is “Mom”.
Jennifer – Motherhood has so many roles and nurturing skills. I’m in awe of the strength it takes them to guide the children through the world as it is — the courage to have them explore on their own.
Karla – Motherhood brings to mind the act of nurturing. In a traditional sense, we think mothers and mother figures. Their roles being of significant value to the development of young minds. But more than that, motherhood is felt by all who have every received and offered love, nurture, generosity, and acceptance to others. We are not all mothers, but we have all experienced motherhood – in the connection we hold with those we love, in the relationship we share with our Mother Earth, and in the way we “mother” ourselves.
Sarah – When I think of motherhood, I think of “growth.” Whether it’s a mother, a motherly-figure, Mother Nature, or even just “the mom friend,” the only constants seem to be growth. I was a shy, anxious kid, but my mother always taught my sister and I that no one is going to do the work for you. You have to work for yourself, take care of yourself, be strong and independent. (Though she somewhat laments that last one now, as my sister and I both moved across the country – oops!) Even when I was a live-in nanny for my then-young cousins, I felt that motherly pull. I was obviously not their mother, and only a few years older than them, but all I wanted was for them to be the best they could be and did what I could for that goal. And even if a relationship with a mother isn’t what society thinks it should be, I think it still develops that growth. For many, they think “I will not treat my children/family this way when I’m older” and use it as a what NOT to do, creating an unintentional growth. So, good or bad, biological or the colorful nature around us, motherhood, to me, is growth – something none of us can survive without.