Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: A Mother’s Day Message
“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” — Barbara Kingsolver
I love Mother’s Day because I just love, love, love being a mother.
It’s such an honor to bring a child into this world. It’s such a humbling experience to try to get it “right” and do your best. It’s humbling because you never know if what you’re doing is what your child actually wants or needs. That’s especially the case when you have more than one child because you quickly learn that each of them is different. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to mothering.
Over the years, I’ve learned that you have to feel your way into mothering, a.k.a. the most important job in the world. It’s a job that is unrelenting, but that gives back over and over again.
My favorite Mother’s Day gift is the gift of my children’s presence. They are, without a doubt, my favorite people in the world! I love being in their company. I love laughing with them, playing with them and observing them. I also love listening to their exaggerated stories about all the crazy things they remember me doing when they were young (or even last week!).
Mother’s Day is also an emotional time for me, though, because I miss my own mother. I think it’s hard to fully enjoy Mother’s Day when your mother has passed because, the truth is, I miss her each and every day of the year. There is so much I’d love to discuss with her at this moment in my life. I still need her advice, her counsel, her wisdom and her judgment. I just need her.
When I see other women with their mothers, I feel a tug at my heart. When I see other kids with their grandmothers, I wonder if they know how blessed they are to be in their company. I wonder whether they are doing all they can to soak up the wisdom from their lessons and their stories.
I’ve written a lot about my mother over the years. I even did an ESPN film called “Brave in the Attempt” about her mission to change the world for those with special needs. But at this time in my life, I find myself wondering how deeply I truly knew my mother. I mean, how well did I really know her inner-most thoughts and feelings? Did I really understand her struggles, her pain, her anguish, and her joy?
I find myself wondering how she really felt about so many of life’s biggest moments. Now that my oldest daughter is engaged, I think about what was going through my own mother’s heart and mind when I stood on the brink of my own marriage. Did she feel what I’m feeling now?
I also wonder how she got through the days when all her children left home. Did she feel lonely? Did we hurt her by moving away? I wonder how she truly felt about getting old. I know she didn’t like it, but how did she manage her fears? I wonder how she managed her loneliness, grief and loss?
I once tried to ask my mother a few of these questions and she said she didn’t know what I was talking about. She came from a tough family and an even tougher generation. It was an era when there was no talk of self-care or self-love. There was no talk of feelings or emotions.
If my mother were here today, I guess the most important thing I’d like to tell her is the same thing I told her in the hospital as she took her final breaths:
“Mummy, you did such a good job as a mother and I’m so honored to be your daughter. I’m so sorry for you that you were never nurtured, hugged or even loved in a deeply personal and intimate way. That must have been so hard for you. It must have been tiring, pretending to be so tough and so strong.”
If my mother were here today, I would hold her. She would hate it, but I wouldn’t let her push me away because, as a mother myself, I know that everyone responds to love, nurture and safety.
I know that if she were here today, she would eventually soften into my embrace. Deep in my heart, I know she would love it. At the end of the day, I believe that the greatest gift we can give someone we love is to see them, hold them, nurture them, and know them for who they really are.
So on this Mother’s Day, if your mother is here, hug her, hold her and comfort her. If she pulls away, stay the course. Look deep into her eyes and tell her that you see her. If you can, thank her for doing her best.
And if you’re gathering with your own children this morning, thank them for the joy they have brought into your life. Thank them for the honor and privilege it’s been to raise them.
Mothering requires us to do our best all the time. No one gets it totally right, but it has been my honor to try. That’s why this morning, I’m going to be loving on my kids. And if one of them hugs me, I’ll relax into their embrace. Being mothered never loses its impact.
Happy Mother’s Day to all who have mothered and who are mothering. May you stay the course. May you know that what you are doing is what the world needs more of. May you never doubt the importance of what you do. And may you enjoy it along the way. Any time the job gets hard, just remember this: mothering is the most important job in the entire world. It’s not easy, but it’s one of the most rewarding things we’ll ever do. I’m so grateful to my children for the fun, laughter, and wonder they’ve brought to my life. How rewarding it has been to raise them and watch them grow. How amazing it is to be their mom.
P.S. I hope you’ll also remember today that some moms face challenges due to poverty, lack of healthcare, etc. Please consider donating to a cause that benefits mothers. Or, give to The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and support our mission to protect the minds of all the women we love.
Dear God, thank you for the gift of the women in my life who have mothered me. May I never forget to thank them, embrace them, and cherish them for all that they’ve given me.
Want more from Maria? Get The Sunday Paper for free in your inbox each week. SIGN UP HERE
INSPIRING VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
On My Podcast “Meaningful Conversations,” Entrepreneur Kendra Scott Shares Her Story of Building a Booming Jewelry Business as a New Mom
I had fun speaking with entrepreneur and Architect of Change Kendra Scott, the woman behind the hugely popular jewelry line by the same name. We caught up back in March at South by Southwest and now I’m thrilled to share our conversation with you on my podcast this week. and
Grief Expert Claire Bidwell Smith Shares How You Can Honor Your Late Mother on Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day can be emotional for those of us whose mothers have passed away. SP Columnist Claire Bidwell Smith, who lost her mom to cancer at the age of 18, reminds us that the “real answer to finding peace within our losses is to find ways to remain connected to the people we love.”
Maria Reveals How Her Grandmother Rose Kennedy Influenced a Generation
On this Mother’s Day, we are re-sharing this Today Show piece about my late grandmother, Rose Kennedy, who was a smart, intellectual woman who “demanded respect” from her grandchildren as the matriarch of our family.
‘Godmother of Silicon Valley’ Esther Wojcicki Reveals the Secret to Raising Happy and Successful Children
Architect of Change Esther Wojcicki is famous for three things: teaching a high school class that has changed the lives of thousands of kids, inspiring Silicon Valley legends like Steve Jobs, and raising three daughters who have each become famously successful. In her latest book, “How to Raise Successful People,” Wojcicki offers essential lessons for raising, educating, and managing people to their highest potential with her tried-and-tested methods.
Author Jennika Ingram Explains Why Letting Your Children Stumble Is Important If You Want Them to Grow and Succeed
I love this sweet and insightful essay by Jennika Ingram, author of “Mom’s Turn: A Journal for the first year of motherhood and stories to stay empowered.” Jennika says that, as mothers, we must trust our instincts and let our kids make errors if we want them to learn and grow to be strong, healthy adults.
Why Being an Empty Nester Can Actually Be a Positive Experience
Empty nest is not a feeling that can be easily described. Helene Wiggens, a contributing editor for the popular parenting blog Grown and Flown, shares this essay about how her son leaving for school opened up an entirely new chapter in her life.
INFORMATIVE NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
1. 18-Year-Old Kendrick Castillo, Killed in Colorado School Shooting, Sacrificed Himself to Save Others: This story is tragic. After a classmate pulled out a gun in class, Kendrick Castillo was killed after lunging at the shooter, giving other students at STEM School Highlands Ranch enough time to hide, according to witnesses.
2. You Might Be Surprised at What Sunscreen Can Do to Your Body: This is interesting, but not surprising, information. According to researchers at the FDA, The UV-blocking chemicals used in sunscreen can seep into our bloodstream. Here’s why you should pay attention.
3. NIH 1-Million-Person Health Study Off to a Strong Start: Last year, the National Institutes of Health launched a new research program called All of Us, which is a historic effort to gather data from one million people living in the United States. The goal: to accelerate research and improve health. One year later, the NIH reports this week that the program is off to a strong start.
6. Yippee! Moment of the Week: Look at the joy on this little boy’s face. This video of Ahmad Rahman was shared at the moment he received a prosthetic leg at an International Red Cross Center in Afghanistan. According to a Red Cross report, Ahmad lost his leg in a landmine explosion when he was 8 months old.
THE SUNDAY PAPER IS A PROUD PARTNER OF THE WOMEN’S ALZHEIMER’S MOVEMENT
WAM Celebrities Share Inspiring Life Lessons From the Mothers They Lost to Alzheimer’s
Learning that your mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is devastating news. But it turns out it can also lead to a relationship of caregiving that is filled with a renewed sense of purpose, connection, and love.
On this Mother’s Day, The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement’s good friends Leeza Gibbons, Jay Allen, and Deborah Roberts reminisce about the precious time they spent with their mothers as they took on Alzheimer’s together.
A RECIPE FOR YOUR SUNDAY DINNER
The Meaningful Dinner Club: We’re kick-starting a new idea to encourage you to gather around your kitchen table with people you love and share a meaningful dinner together each week. Why? Because it’s an opportunity to put down our phones and communicate face-to-face with one another. It’s also a chance to ignite meaningful conversations, which are the birthplace of new ideas that can Move Humanity Forward. We were calling these Sunday dinners before because I like to do mine on Sunday nights, but others have reminded me that these meals can happen any night of the week. That’s why we’re trying on this new concept of calling them “Meaningful Dinners” instead of just “Sunday Dinners.” Let us know what you think.
The Ingredients of a Meaningful Dinner: 1) Set an intention. 2) Say Grace. 3) Serve healthy food. 4) Start a conversation (don’t forget to listen and be open-minded!) 5) Tell us how it goes.
A Recipe For Your Meaningful Dinner: This recipe for Oven Roasted Shrimp is from our dear friend Cristina Ferrare and her book “Food for Thought: Recipes for Ultimate Mind and Body Health.”
This Week’s Meaningful Dinner Conversation Starter: What are some of your favorite lessons learned from the women in your life who have mothered you?
A SUNDAY REFLECTION
In honor of Mother’s Day, we are sharing this touching reflection from author Mitch Albom’s book, “One More Day,” sent to us by Sunday Paper Ambassador Melinda Patton. Albom reminds us that all of our personal stories begin with our “mother’s story.”
SHOP, SHOP SHOP! AThe Maria Shriver Collection: Good for You, Your Mind, & the World
Visit the shop on MariaShriver.com to get Maria’s book “I’ve Been Thinking,” her coloring book for Alzheimer’s “Color Your Mind,” the Maria candle, Rivet Revolution bracelets benefiting The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, her new Maria BrainHQ program, and more!
PRAISE FOR THE SUNDAY PAPER
|Do you have feedback on The Sunday Paper? Do you have ideas for content or changemakers that we should feature in an upcoming edition? If so, connect with us below.|