I’VE BEEN THINKING
There was a lot of noise in the news this week. A lot of back and forth about firings, suggested hirings, Russia, independent prosecutors, and about who knew what when.
But today… I’m going to focus on mothering because today is Mother’s Day and this role means a lot — not only to me, but to society at large.
So, Happy Mother’s Day to you, to me and to all of us who have mothered and who are mothers today.
Over the years, I’ve thought deeply about motherhood. (Read my previous thoughts on the topic here.) I’ve written about my fears and about my gratitude to my children and for my children. I’ve written about my own mother — about her towering presence in my life and about how I’ve missed her every day since she passed away. I’ve thought a lot about what I learned from her: the values of family, loyalty and giving back to the world. I’ve also thought about the ways I wanted to be a different kind of mother than she was (softer and more affectionate).
I’ve also thought deeply over the years about my own children — about what mistakes I’ve made, about what I wish I had done differently (throwing simpler birthday parties and buying them less “stuff” for sure), and about what I’ve done well. I believe I’ve made my kids feel like they are my priority. I hope they know, without any doubt, that I love and accept them for who they are, not for what they will do in life.
What I’VE learned is that mothering requires work, thought and energy, 24/7. It requires you to show up as gentle and strong, kind and tough, and patient and unconditionally loving. It requires you to do all of this without allowing anyone to walk all over you and the love that you’re providing. And, if you have more than one child, it requires you to adjust and be creative, because no two children can be mothered in exactly the same way. What I’ve learned is that what works for one doesn’t work for the other.
But today, I want to move beyond my own intimate experience with motherhood and focus on what I believe the world at large is yearning for right now. Simply put, that is Mothering — on a big stage and on a big scale.
What do I mean by that? I mean that I believe all of the world’s children — old and young — are looking to be loved, accepted, nurtured, soothed and cared for by mother energy.
Really good mothers make really good leaders because they nurture, they build a solid team, they see your potential, and they build on your strengths, not your fears. They inspire you, they guide you, and they ask of you. Plus, they are really strong and shouldn’t be messed with.
I love that the newly elected president of France said in his acceptance speech last week that he would govern with humility, devotion, and determination, and also that he would “serve with love.”
That’s what mothers do every day.
Day in and day out, mothers serve with humility, devotion, determination, and love. May we all realize that mothering is a presidential-level task and that, done right, it can lead a family, a nation, and a world to fulfill its highest potential.
So, on this day in May, may we honor mothering for what it is: the hardest job in the world. It’s one that deserves our respect, our devotion, and our love.
Mothering: It’s a muscular job. It takes balls.
Happy Mother’s Day.
P.S. Speaking of mothers, this is a video that I made about the gifts my mother gave me. It never gets old and it’s my way of remembering her on this day. I hope it inspires you to think about the gifts the women in your life have given you.
NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
YATES STANDS STRONG
As I’ve said, when it comes to news, there was a mother lode of it this week.
Sally Yates, a mother of two, stood tall and strong on Monday as she testified before the Senate and explained that she had warned President Trump about Michael Flynn in January. She held her ground on this issue and on her decision at the time to not defend Trump’s travel ban, which she told senators she felt was “unlawful.” No matter which side you’re on, I think we can all agree that Yates displayed strength, independence and integrity in her testimony.
COMEY’S SURPRISE FIRING
Meanwhile, FBI Director James Comey dominated the news after he had the rug pulled out from under him on Tuesday. His firing created a lot of noise and speculation and brought comparisons to the Saturday Night Massacre, which many are too young to remember. You look back and decide. The Senate Intelligence Committee has already called Comey back to testify, but he declined. One thing is for sure: whenever he does testify, the world will be listening.
What was your reaction to Comey’s firing? Share your thoughts with us.
A BREASTFEEDING TRIUMPH
And, since this is Mother’s Day, here is a story that made us smile.
Australian Senator Larissa Waters made history on Tuesday when she became the first woman to breastfeed on the Parliament floor. The photo went viral and Waters tweeted that she couldn’t be happier. “So proud that my daughter Alia is the first baby to be breastfed in the federal Parliament! We need more #women & parents in Parli,” she wrote.
We need more women and parents serving in our government here in America, too. Bravo to Larissa Waters.
VIEWS: PASSIONATE VOICES/POWERFUL PERSPECTIVES
“One of My Mom’s Main Messages Was ‘Make the Most of Your Time Here.’” — Paris Rosenthal
Paris Rosenthal is a young woman determined to carry on the legacy of her mother, the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Amy was a children’s book author who may be best remembered for her NY Times column, “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” I recently caught up with Paris to hear about how she is continuing her mom’s mission through her Project 123. Watch our NBC segment and an exclusive video of the two of us below.
“Care for the Children Who Really Need Our Help. Giving Is the True Epitome of Motherhood.” — Caroline Boudreaux
Caroline Boudreaux is a powerful reminder that you don’t have to have children to be a mother. The founder of The Miracle Foundation, Caroline started a nonprofit to help care for the world’s orphans after she traveled to India on Mother’s Day in 2000 and was overwhelmed by a desire to help.
“My Heart Turns To the Little Girl Who Made Me a Mother for the First Time. After All That We’ve Been Through, We’re Still a Happy Family.” — Newtown Mom Alissa Parker
After losing her first-born daughter in the Sandy Hook School tragedy in Newtown, CT, Alissa Parker was left to make sense of how to move forward. Through a faith-filled journey, she tells the touching story of how her other children have reminded her that their family still has the power to have a happy ending.
“Our Mother Is Our First Powerful Role Model.” — Carole Isenberg
When it comes to our mothers, we all have different stories of love, pain, laughter, anger. As the founder of The Mother Project, Carole Isenberg wants to help us reframe the way we view motherhood and re-write our perspective to be one of female empowerment.
“My Children Watched My Every Move For Two Years. They Saw Their Mom Fighting to Make a Better Life For Them.” — Katrina Gilbert Stewart
Katrina Gilbert Stewart is an amazing mother who has demonstrated to her children that anything is possible. I am so incredibly proud of her!
In 2014, I partnered with HBO to produce the award-winning documentary “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert” (available on HBO Now and HBO Go). At the time, Katrina was a single mom of three living paycheck to paycheck in Chatanooga, TN. On Monday, Katrina graduated from Chatanooga State Community College with not one, but two, college degrees!
Today, we honor her as our Architect of Change of the Week and share an essay she wrote about how her achievements have changed her family’s life and shown them the power of fighting for your dreams.
A SUNDAY REFLECTION
This beautiful prayer was written by my friend Mitra Rahbar in honor of mothers around the globe. Mitra works with women in Iran and Afghanistan and her book is called “Miraculous Silence.” There are so many beautiful readings poems and prayers inside. It is a gift for anyone you love.
YOUR MOTHER’S DAY STORIES
On Facebook and Instagram this week, I asked you to share stories about your mother or anyone who mothered you in the big sense of the word. Here are a few selections. I encourage you to add your voice to the conversation as well.
A SPECIAL MOTHER’S DAY MESSAGE
While Maria was asking you to share your motherhood stories on social media this week, her children were composing their own surprise messages of gratitude to share with her here in The Sunday Paper. Happy Mother’s Day, Maria!
A THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
Join Us For a One-of-a-Kind Experience in 8 Cities Across America
Hear from these and other superstars in the fields of brain research, fitness, nutrition, and more on June 4. Join us for a day focused on the mind-body connection and help us raise funds to wipe out Alzheimer’s.
JOIN US FOR AN INSPIRING CONVERSATION
SHOP WITH A PURPOSE
“I Want My Activewear to Make a Difference.”
Teresa Hebert of KORAL Activewear knows Alzheimer’s firsthand. I met her several years ago and like me, she is a daughter of Alzheimer’s and is doing what she can to honor her father. Teresa created these limited-edition KORAL leggings to join us in our effort to wipe out this disease. 100 percent of the proceeds benefit The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement.
“We Wanted to Make Our Kids Proud. We Wanted to Give Back.”
The women of Rivet Revolution have also been touched by Alzheimer’s. Through their passion for jewelry-making, they are using their work to ignite conversations and make their children proud. These “WAM Revolution Bands” are a partnership with The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and benefit women-based research.
“I just put the finishing touches on my first coloring book and I couldn’t be more proud!”
As a daughter of Alzheimer’s, I am pleased to have created “Color Your Mind” – a coloring book filled with resources and activities that are specially designed for individuals with Alzheimer’s and the people who love them. It’s innovative, informative and inspiring. I hope you’ll pre-order a copy and use it to connect with your loved ones.
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