1. It’s extremely hard, but most of us are capable of it. My mom has taught me that the act of mothering is perhaps THE greatest challenge—and THE greatest gift—of this human experience. She also taught me to fully reject the social construction of the Western world that says that nurturing has everything to do with gender and biology. I have had multiple Moms and Grandmas, some of them are related to me, many of them are not. And some aren’t even women. The blessed gift of maternal care springs forth from our spiritual essence and has so little to do with our biological realities. A great mom senses this, and is willing to make the unthinkable commitments associated with it, while seeing the vast rewards—both present and future.
2. Take pride in it! For my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary, I threw a big party in the town square of Clarkdale, Arizona. Friends and I spent weeks planning it. The gazebo in the center was transformed into one of three stages for a fast-moving show that included readings, dramatic (and comedic) presentations, a narrator, as well as music and song. It was rather elaborate, but the main takeaway and memory to this day was when the volunteer-actress (an old friend) portraying Mom adlibbed a line in which she said to me, “Oh you’re SUCH a good son.” The crowd roared at the familiar refrain of my mom taking pride in one of her kids. Meet my mom, meet my fan. It’s embarrassing, but it’s something I now do with my own kids—with purpose.
3. Be honest. I continue to be amazed at the level of dishonesty—or perhaps more accurately said—the level of inauthenticity—that exists in family relationships. Mom and I, though, would rather have a good old fashioned fight than have a “fauxly” friendly exchange to keep the peace. This human experience is too real, and too brief for the fake.
4. Be purposeful. The power of intention to inform both short- and long-term outcomes should not be overlooked. The mother-to-child relationship is complicated to be sure. It is nuanced and layered. And that’s what makes it badass. Many can breed. The choice, the intention, the use of purpose to summon excellence from the ordinary, though, requires a mom who is willing to tap into sacred heart-places, into resources often only available through sacrifice, and into that which most are too afraid to explore.