Celebrate Other Mothers Day

May 3, 2018

Who is a mom? As Mother’s Day approaches we’ll be bombarded with images and gift ideas. We’re supposed to show appreciation for the woman who endured countless hours of labor or who was slit from hip-to-hip during a C-section to bring us into the world. The woman who wiped our runny noses and filled our empty bellies with food is celebrated by every store and restaurant in our country. Teachers will send kids home with cards and crafts they made with their own hands to honor mom. Most mothers deserve that and a lot more and what I’m about to suggest with Other Mother’s Day is in no way meant to dim the spotlight we put on moms come May 13th. I simply hope we can broaden the mom circle to include the people who “mother” without having the official title. Aunts, your mom’s best friend, your best friend’s mom, stepmom, nanny, neighbor, single dad, mentor, teacher, wise friend, caregiver and pet moms… for many of us these people have done things you’d read about in a Mother’s Day card. These “other mothers” fill in the gaps of our lives with love, care, and attention. They unofficially adopt kids big and small and care for them the way God would want them to. Protecting, advising, worrying, providing... the things that they do definitely fit the description.

A BluntMoms.com postwas brought to my attention recently. It is meant to be a brutally honest explanation why I’m not a mom simply because I call my dog, Henri, my fur kid. He knows as much about his birthday as a one-year-old kid. There are more similarities between being the parent of a human kid and a furkid than I care to write about. Sure you think things like, “unless your ovaries grow fur, and you sprout a tail Rover is not your child.” I respect your opinion, but it’s just that… YOUR OPINION. It doesn’t offend me that your definition of motherhood doesn’t include animals or frankly anything or anyone that I didn’t visit an OB-Gyn or midwife to bring into the world. I just choose to disagree because my definition is much broader. I’ve also seen the news so I know for sure that just because a woman has given birth it doesn’t make her a “mom.”

I never have and probably never will give birth but I’ve experienced motherhood on many levels. I’ve had other mothers in my life and I’ve played the role of “mom.” I don’t even want to think about where I’d be without my Other Mothers.  My mom’s best friend, who I called Tante, filled in the creative gaps when I was growing up. An English and German teacher who wrote beautiful poems and told hilarious stories, Tante nurtured my love of the arts. My aunties, especially Aunt Pat, helped me grow culturally and spiritually. I have friends who mother me. I’ll tear up if I start talking about DeeDee, Katie and Sharon. DeeDee is the most motherly non-birth mom you’ve ever met. Katie, a retired teacher has a circle of kids that constantly grows. Sharon was the first to point out to me how much I mother my boys on the Matt and Ramona Show. She even lectured me about the mom skills it takes to give birth to a business and nurture employees.

When it comes to BEING a mom? I didn’t give birth to my mother, but thanks to age our roles have reversed. As for the toy poodle? When I lose him I’ll be devastated. I can’t even handle it when I scroll through my timeline on Facebook and read posts about other people losing their dogs. I’ll never be able to compare saying goodbye to my mom or dog with the way a mother feels after she buries a child. Is it really healthy for anyone to try to one-up somebody with your grief level? If someone else feels the need to compare let’s chalk it up to their issue. All I know is that I love that little fur ball and I think my mom loves him even more than I do. I’m pretty sure I’ll get a Mother’s Day card from the dog. I’m 100% sure my mom will sneak to CVS to buy it for him. It gives me a supersized case of the feels when she does it.  It feels great to be appreciated for taking care of them. Like other moms, I don’t do it to get a card, spa day or pat on the back. I do it because I care.

If motherhood is about love, caring for someone and making sacrifices for them then let’s celebrate it with everyone who “mothers.” Let’s make the day before Mother’s Day… Other Mother’s Day. On May 12th let’s honor all the women (and men) who raise us, care for us and step up for us when we need them.

Tell us about your Other Mother below and let's spread the love to all the Moms in our life.