One of the things I have enjoyed about living in a small town is that there have been other mothers who guided, loved, and sometimes corrected my children as they were growing up. It was comforting to know that when my children were at school, scouting events, soccer games, the pool, or the park without me that there were other women who knew and cared about them enough to parent them. I’m not sure that my children always appreciated that level of interaction but I sure did. The downside for them was that it was difficult to get away with anything. The upside was that a cadre of women was available who could nurture, love and encourage them when I wasn’t present, or when I didn’t have the necessary wisdom or experience that my offspring needed.
Other mothers can bring a fresh perspective to a situation and can offer guidance that may be new, thereby expanding our world and allowing us to grow outside of our own heritage. The support that other mothers (and fathers) offer is a source of strength when we falter or steer off course. They can provide a communal nurturing environment where we have the opportunity to blossom into the individuals we are designed to be.
Other Mothers grow strong communities by:
Encouraging – They see the good in us and aren’t afraid to tell us what they see. When women who are not related to you tell you that you are gifted, you tend to listen and believe them primarily because they aren’t your mother. Who could you speak words of encouragement to today?
Loving unconditionally – They offer grace and love us even when we aren’t at our best. They might not always like what we do, but they believe at our core that we are good. They know we aren’t perfect and will always be a work in progress….yet they love us anyway. Who needs your unconditional love today?
Modeling – The best way to influence others is by example. Other mothers recognize that they are a role model to more than just their own relatives. We know that a whole host of people are watching and deciding if they want to be like us or not. Are you being the person that you want your children, or the people you influence, to be?
Not fixing it – One of the hardest challenges of relationships is watching someone we care about struggle. Yet in the struggle lies their opportunity for growth. Other mothers know what they can and can’t do. They know they can’t take the painful circumstances away. However, they can be present in times of adversity to love, hug, cry, and perhaps help us find a way to smile or laugh despite our pain. Who can you be present with today in the midst of their challenges?
Other mothers are truly special people. You may be someone who is an Other Mother, or perhaps you need an Other Mother. It’s safe to guess that you are both.
I hope you will seek out the Other Mothers that you need… and also provide Other Mothering freely to those in your circle of influence. May you build and be blessed by strong, nurturing communities of love.
Carol deLaski, PCC, is a speaker, author, and coach whose focus on strengths-based leadership develops strong, confident individuals and businesses. You are invited to attend her Discovering Strength workshop on May 21st which is based on her recently released book, Lost and Found: Discovering Strength in Love and Faith. Attendees will identify and develop the source of their inner strength and resilience to better manage challenges at work and in life overall.
Click here for more details.