In praise of good mothers

Even though the consciousness of humanity has evolved in many ways, the concept of parenting as a sacred ‘calling’ is almost as rare as ever. Historically in our patriarchal societies, children (and women as well) were seen as property, and not so very different from slaves. Obeying the husband and bearing his children was pretty much the best thing the average woman could hope and strive for in life. And all too often her children provided her the only authority that she personally had.

We can surmise that natural maternal instincts of caring, protection and nurturance reigned supreme in spite of the weird social dynamics of the past 5000 years, but it stands to reason that this was (and is) not always the case. There were then, as now, good mothers and delinquent mothers who were not ’emotionally intelligent’. The ability to have babies in and of itself guaranteed neither outcome.

Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that in these more enlightened times, most mothers are naturally good — they do not put their own emotional needs ahead of the emotional needs of their helpless infants, they do not regard their children as their possessions or mere extensions of themselves.

As Mother’s Day comes and goes let us pause long enough to praise conscious parenting and express gratitude for however much unconditional love we managed to receive from our mothers. But let us not stop there. May we also reinforce the aspiration within ourselves to honor the individuality of children — our own or any children we know — so that they may grow up to be the caring people we ourselves continue to strive to be.