When the time comes to put pen to paper, to carve out utterances as I share a collective awareness among mothers, there is an intention that lies beneath. This intention is like the roots of a tree, sprawled deep underground, weaving their way through soil and dirt until they locate their stronghold. These roots of intention stake their claim and shoot the remaining cells upward. Trunk, leaves, and branches become visible. So too do the words on the page. The roots establish a foundation and provide the nutrients necessary for growth.

My intention is the same. The intention supporting this literary forest is one of hope, clarity, inspiration and accountability. The intention which provides the nurturing and growth for every mother; for all of us.

There is no fiercer role than that of a mother. No human equivalent which allows our hearts to expand and break in the space of a second, and possibly, several times a day. As I sit here, scrawling my thoughts to you, I question myself; if I could offer one piece of advice to support the positive development of families, to encourage meaningful and beneficial relationships between mothers and their children, what would it be?

Would I err on the side of lyrics that have been on repeat on my mind recently, which state ‘give them your best, when they are at their worst’? Would I urge every mother to grasp the power she holds? The power of influence, the power to impact, to shape, rise or ruin the children she cares for. Would I steadfastly insist mothers must soldier on, putting their own needs aside as they prioritize the emotional needs of their children? Children first at all costs!

But I stop myself. Ruin? Is that even possible? How harsh it sounds. In addition, aren’t mothers one of the most guilt-laden of all collectives? Surely I would not utter such intensity, and so I continue to mull.

In contrast, would I not speak of mothers putting their best self first, always? Would I not dare request one more responsibility they must undertake? Rather, would I speak to mothers from a place of utter empathy and compassion, “look after yourself, care for yourself, this is how best to provide for your child, everything you are doing is fine”?

 

I pause.

 

Neither viewpoint is aligned, or do I agree with them both? Could this be so? Is it possible to be the mother who gives her best to her child each time her child is at their worst while remaining the mother who prioritizes her own self-care? I remain undecided, but also undeterred.

I return to the vision of my roots of intention, that these words I write may bring hope, clarity, inspiration and accountability to you, the mother who reads them. The roots of purpose were laid, and from them comes my steadfast determination indicating this is the right option for mothers. To absolutely give your best when others are at their worst, but to also support the nurturing of yourself. This I believe, is your only choice.

To all the mums showing up day after monotonous day, to the mums incorporating their child’s literacy, numeracy and musical exposure between early morning drop-offs, to the mums being screamed at because you turned the tap off, or cut triangles instead of squares, I salute you. To the mothers who seek out the positive in all things, to the mothers who begrudgingly bite down on a carrot stick instead of the chocolate bar, to the mothers who brushed their hair or deliberately chose matching underwear (just because!), I applaud you.

You are the example of each of us, trying every day to be the best for our children, our partners, friends, and family, by being the best for ourselves. As an educator of young children, I can’t thank you enough. In all the tiny moments, you may wonder if any of it matters, and I promise you, all of it does.