If you would have told me that I’d be sitting here at 35 years old with a guinea pig in my lap… but I guess motherhood presents many unexpected turns.
It’s in my nature to “break stuff down.” So I was thinking last night about what being a mother necessitates at its core. Sure, there are many things that people think mothers should do. Mothers have myriad responsibilities thrust upon them. But if you really take it down to the core, to the basic, all a mother actually has to do is get the being out of her. Of course, nurturing, protecting and other elements of that ilk are necessary and lovely and lots of other adjectives are great but that comes next, and honestly, those things can come from anywhere. In fact, I think we benefit when they come from multiple, safe sources. I very much subscribe to the It Takes a Village philosophy.
Many mothers that I know, those who are mothers to their biological children and those who are mothers to beings they did not birth, have to handle a lot—you literally feel the pressure to keep another being alive while keeping yourself alive. And of course we take the responsibility beyond that (in many ways we should), like keeping our beings, our babies, hooked up with an excess of toys and treats. I’m all for spoiling—as I often remind you, I’m an only child with no cousins. But I think some of us mothers can benefit from taking a page from the furry moms handbook. Think about a rabbit mom or a bird mom. They make the babies; they get them out of themselves. They give them a few weeks and then those offspring leave the nest. Damn, I feel for you human mommas with full nests of 30+ year olds… because that’s a lot of nurturing, of giving of yourself, your time, your resources. Please make sure you’re putting yourself first sometimes, too. Don’t forget you have a village out there for support.
Our Rescue has a private Facebook group for adopters, volunteers and supporters that I think of as a parenting group in many ways. The members give advice about nutrition, shelter, toys and other creature comforts. We support each other when behaviors of our children are tough to manage. We celebrate the cute hops and silly antics of our cotton-bottom babies. We are the village, coming together to save and raise these big-eared children.
This Mother’s Day is a celebration but I want you to celebrate every day. Appreciate, recognize, bask in the connection that family brings. Family can and should look and feel differently for everyone. My immediate family has as many furry members as it does ones with just skin. I home-school and cage my children. I don’t recommend that for every mother out there. Families of 1, families of 2, families of 222 and all the fams in between, feel the blessing. Much love.
Hoppy Mother’s Day.