Sunday, March 31, 2019

Mothering - not just for mothers. Thought for the Day for BBC Cov & Warwickshire

Good morning – and happy Mothers’ Day to you...or is it actually Mothering Sunday.

 And does it matter anyway?

I think it does.

Mother’s Day is all about giving thanks to and for our mums – and that can be a wonderful thing. I remember once working with a class of primary school children on list of all the things they’d like to say thankyou for.
Some were predictable – Thanks mum for giving me cuddles, for cooking me pizza, for washing my football kit.
Some were hard to hear  (from a refugee child)“ Thanks for bringing me to England to keep me safe”
Some were in a class of their own.
I’m really glad that my children never needed to thank ME for defrosting the mice for a pet snake. I love my children more than life itself – but honestly, I don’t think I could do that!

Anyway – Mothers’ Day is all about celebrating that kind of thing and a whole lot more besides. It’s the stuff of tv ads and happily sentimental cards – and that’s great – except when it isn’t.
I always used to feel uncomfortable, when I my children were small, because I never matched up to those perfect tv mums...but actually I had it easy. Mothers’ Day is a really tough time if your own mum has died, or your relationship is broken, if you long to hug and hold your children but they’re living far away, if you’ve longed to be a mum but it just hasn’t happened, or if you’re the parent of a child who has died too soon. Many years ago I suffered a misscarriage just days before Mothers’ Day and it felt as if the whole world was intent on making me even more conscious of my loss.

So – I’m not very keen on Mothers’ Day. I think it carries too much potential for accidental hurt.

Mothering Sunday, though, is quite different! It’s all about the verb. Mothering: the work of nurturing,supporting and encouraging, of being there when you’re needed, of going the extra mile and sharing one other’s burdens.                               That kind of practical love has never been limited to those who have given birth: the year that I broke my arm, on Mothering Sunday I told my church that I’d received the BEST mothering ever from my teenage son.
So yes, of course we can give thanks for those who laboured to bring us into the world – but let’s remember too that we belong to a wider community than simply our biological family and let’s each one of us try to pass on that kind of practical love which is part of being human. At its best you see, that mothering love reflects the love of the God who is a loving parent to us all, no matter what. And that really is something to celebrate.  

1 comment:

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

I think what you've said here is very important. I've decided to start writing my thoughts here again!