I won’t say I never wanted to be a mother.
Indeed, when I was in my 20’s, the yearning was so great that I often cried.
I resolved to have a child on my own when I was 30, if no marriage or man was in sight.
Well, 30 came and went, and I came to my senses.
And in my 30’s and 40’s, a marriage came and went, and thankfully, the maternal hormonal urges subsided.
My maternal need was instead foisted on critters.
Growing out of something that began when I was a young girl.
First it was Leo the lizard.
Then a little white mouse.
Then Gorf the toad.
A few fish here and there.
Graduating to a cat finally.
And then a dog.
And then a horse.
And then more cats.
Even a few birds.
All helping to enable me to fulfill that maternal need to care for something.
And fulfill they did.
Some even say that I care for my pets more than I care for people.
And that wouldn’t be too far off.
I just love taking care of critters.
Putting out food. Changing litter and bedding. Cleaning water dishes. Making sure they are happy and healthy. I just love it.
It fulfills something within me that I can’t quite describe.
And now, not surprisingly, research has shown that taking care of things, be it pets or plants or even other people, is GOOD for us. Physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
It releases those feel-good hormones that we all crave.
That explains a lot.
And so for the many of us who have not physically given birth to another human being, and for those of us who still love to take care of others, I think we all should be celebrated on Mother’s Day.
It should perhaps not be an exclusive day for birth mothers.
Anyone who has a maternal tug, a need to care and nurture, should be embraced in the Mother’s Day recognition and celebration.
Although some birth mothers may disagree, is this not a time of inclusion and acceptance?
Perhaps mothers who gave birth could wear a t-shirt that says, “I gave birth to another human being!”
And the rest of us could just be comforted in knowing that we are nurturing and caring and giving.
And, at the risk of sounding petty, not all birth mothers deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day.
To borrow a line from a movie, “A cat would make a better mother!”
My little cat Princess is living proof of that.
She was a great mother.
To all five of her kittens.
Constantly feeding and cleaning and cleaning and feeding.
It was exhausting just watching her.
And so entertaining.
There is nothing quite so enthralling as watching a squirming bunch of kittens all vye for the best teat.
And then rough and tumble with each other while Princess calmly continued to try and clean them all.
She definitely deserves a Mother’s Day card!
But there are lots more neglectful kinds of mothers out there.
They may give birth, but they are severely lacking in the nurturing and caring department.
Just because they are technically birthing mothers, does not make them a great parent.
I remember Oprah once saying she did not become a mother herself because she was not mothered well.
And yet she fulfills her maternal spirit with her pets, charities, schools, and other good works.
And so while there are many of us who did not technically give birth, I dare say many are more nurturing and maternal and caring than some who did actually give birth.
So, I guess what I am saying is that all women, everywhere, should be celebrated on Mother’s Day.
Because to some degree, I bet most are caring and nurturing in some way.
Whether it’s a plant, a pet, or even the earth.
Happy Mother’s Day.


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