"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses celebrating mothers and maternal figures every day, not just on Mother's Day.
By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea
The month of May is a beautiful time of year. The weather is starting to cool off, many of us have enjoyed a few mini breaks thanks to the abundance of public holidays throughout April and in the next few weeks some will recognise and celebrate the annual ritual, Mother’s Day.
Even though some may argue that Mother’s Day is just another over commercialised celebration, I would like to honour the importance of mothers and pause to recognise the influence that mothers have within our society.
Mothers are leaders, educators, mentors, and role models. They are essential contributors to our community and society as a whole. A mother’s role is an important one, nurturing and supporting, creating values within young people that will guide and support their future choices.
I have been so fortunate to have a mum who has been a stable, positive influence throughout my life. My experience has been special, and I recognise and acknowledge that it won’t have been the same for others. Mothers come in many different forms, not just biological. Adoptive mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, and other maternal figures all play vital roles in shaping the lives of children. There are also mothers who choose to be childless but still impact society in significant ways through their careers, volunteer work, and advocacy efforts.
Each of these women share a common purpose. Nurturing the qualities in young people that will support them to grow into independent, resilient, participating members of society. Encouraging them to use their voice, advocating for what they believe in and to protect the rights of others.
The ripple effect of a mother's influence in society is vast, therefore when mothers are empowered and supported, they can positively impact their families, communities, and even the world. Mothers who prioritise education, for example, often raise children who value learning and go on to make significant contributions to society. Mothers who advocate for social justice and equality help to create a more just and equitable world for their children and future generations.
As a mother of two, I get how hard it can be. Juggling work, kids, housework, sports and then you are supposed to find time out to take care of yourself. ‘Put your own oxygen mask on first before putting it on your children.’ How does that work when society expects that mothers will always put the needs of their children first?
Some mothers have recognised that bringing up kids requires a village. They know who their villagers are and have worked out how to ask for help from them when they need it. Others will overcommit to the point that they are so exhausted that they have nothing left to give. Collapsing in bed at the end of the day and expected to repeat it all again tomorrow. Others
There is no right formula to this motherhood thing – biology, feelings, maternal instinct, life experience. Nothing prepares you for the responsibility, nothing equips you for when the times get tough. What I know about being a mum is that most of the time we are just doing the best that we can. We make mistakes, we don’t have all the answers and we might even put ourselves first occasionally.
Mothers are human beings who deserve recognition and appreciation every day, not just on a designated holiday. By showing mothers appreciation and support throughout the year, we can help to create a more inclusive and supportive society where mothers can thrive and continue to make significant contributions.