For the longest time I struggled with the exclusion factor of creating initiatives and movements for mothers. Women would say to me “it’s great you’re creating community for mums, but what about women like me who aren’t mothers? I’m just as invested in creating community as mothers”. Further still, I would have dads say to me “what about support for dads?”. The best and only response I could come up with was that what I was creating was about celebrating the shared experience of motherhood and the specific issues that mothers face. By creating an initiative, conference and movement that seeks to acknowledge and validate issues experienced specifically by mums, it seemed I unintentionally drew a line in the sand. There didn’t seem to be a way around it.
That was until I came across Jean Shindoa Bolen’s book ‘Urgent Message from Mother’. Jean explains that the word ‘mother’ can be used to refer to a person (a woman with a child in her care) OR as a way of being. Why is planet earth often referred to as ‘mother earth’? Why is nature often referred to as ‘mother nature’? It's because we know that to mother is to nurture, provide and care for others. That’s when I realised that ‘mother’ is in fact, an inclusive word. It is an archetype and everyone has the capacity within them to be the mothering type. In fact, I would argue that our ‘inner mother’ is needed more than ever in today's world. What difference would we see in the world if men and women (whether they have children or not) ran countries, businesses, organisations, community groups and homes embodying the way of the mother? With concern for the wellbeing of others at the core of what they do?
I feel the way of the mother is actually closely linked to the concept of ‘Servant Leadership’ which I read about in Joseph Jaworski’s book ‘Synchronicity’. The concept centres around the idea that a leader’s role is to uplift, guide and sustain others through their journey. Sounds like a mother type to me. Typically, a mother is known for her support, love and care. The only downfall of the mother is that she can forget to extend her love and care towards herself. Everyone is in need of mother, including mother.
And yes, men can mother. There are many men around the world who are both father and mother to their children. There are many men who are not fathers and yet have a way of showing genuine concern and empathy for others. I’m not actually interested in a debate about gender stereotypes (men are like this, women are like that). What I’m referring to are the feminine and masculine qualities of humanity. The way of the mother is a feminine way of being and is as accessible to men as it is to women.
So does this mean I’m going to be doing more male or dad focused stuff? No, and for two reasons. The Mothers United Movement blog is about me and my journey. As narcissistic as that sounds, my own experience is one of the few things I’m an expert on. I share what I learn as I go through life. I don’t try and tell other people what they should do. I tell them what I did and encourage others to follow my lead if it resonates with them. I cannot speak directly to dads because I have no experience in being a dad. I don’t write blogs about dealing with teen angst because I’m yet to encounter that phase in my children’s lives. I don’t write blogs about miscarriage because I’ve never experienced one. I don’t speak to things that I have no clue about.
Furthermore, I have had a tendency in the past to fuss a bit with my husband’s life. Sometimes I'd suggest hobbies he might like to take up, classes he could attend or people he could make friends with. I just want him to be happy and I don’t think I’m alone in being a wife who fussed, just a little, in her husband’s life. I've learned overtime to fuss less and trust that my husband can take care of his own wellbeing with my support.
I have been asked in the past to create a support initiative for dads and my answer has been "no". I love you dads and I agree you need support. I also feel it's not up to the women in your lives to organise you. Only you know what will work for you, what issues you are facing and how to best support each other. I’m very happy to support and work with dads who are ready to create something for themselves as a collective. Ricky Shetty from Daddy Blogger, I'm looking at you.
In short, I really just wanted to clarify this. My vision that mothers can change the world is an inclusive vision. I am speaking to all mothers and people who mother. I have no wish to draw lines in the sand. Furthermore I'll add that my vision does not say ONLY mothers can change the world. There are many groups of society that can do a lot for humanity. My call is to mothers because that's my field of experience. Also, I feel strongly that it is time for mothers to step out of their traditional position of supporting from the shadows. Mothers, in my view, hold a powerful position of leadership in their families, communities and society at large.
So for all of you who care for the wellbeing of others and wish to see a world of servant leaders, my blog is for you. You are welcome here.
Did you know that success leaves clues? I didn’t know that until November last year. I went to Catherine Newton’s Inspire and Ignite event and she mentioned that success leaves clues. Actually she said it a few times. This concept had me intrigued. I needed to know more, I needed a clue about success leaving clues.
Google told me that this is actually a phrase coined by Anthony Robbins. He encourages people to find someone who is doing what you want to do (and doing it well) and learn how they do it. Find out what they do and don’t do. Then, reach out to them, rub shoulders with them (if you can) and see if you can’t get some of their glitter to land on your shoulders. The goal is not to copy someone. It’s to find out how they do it and then emulate their behaviours to bring forward your very own, unique way of doing what they do.
Before doing anything, I had to get clear on what it was I wanted to do. My passion is helping mums. There are many ways I could do that but the one thing I will always do no matter what is write. I write about my experiences and insights as I go along in life. Sharing what I’m going through can help someone else in their struggle, it can help me build a more authentic connection with those who follow me and most importantly, it helps me to process what I’m going through.
I started following Rachel Martin’s Finding Joy blog not long after I became a mum. Her ‘mom letters’, where she pours her heart out to tired, overwhelmed, frustrated and anxious mums, speak to my soul. She writes from her experience. She doesn’t write about what mums should be doing. She writes with empathy and encouragement to mums who are doubting themselves because she also doubts herself. She uses her writing to talk to both herself and others. The skill of her writing is reflected in the 140,000 followers she has around the world and viral posts that are shared almost as soon as they hit the net. Would a woman with so many adoring fans actually read an email or message from a little known blogger in New Zealand?
This is when the mind comes in with “of course not!” but did you know you don’t actually have to listen to your mind? If you practice, you can actually feel a still, calm, small and sure feeling underneath chaotic thoughts. When you compare them side by side, I know the one I’d rather take guidance from. So I decided to do it, after all, what’s the best that could happen? I sent a probably over the top gushing message to her asking if she mentored others in blogging because I was a big fan and would truly love to learn from her.
To be honest, the best I thought could happen would be a reply, any reply. Even if it was just a Facebook thumbs up symbol or a smiley face – that would have been a win. What happened was so much more. Not only did she reply (which I read with heart thumping) that she did indeed mentor others, she was coming to New Zealand in a few months. It gets better. She was coming to DUNEDIN. Where I lived. I could barely breathe. How was this happening?
I spent two days listening to her and her business partner Dan R Morris talk about marketing, social media and blogging. I even had them over to my house for dinner. It would never have happened if I hadn’t decided to find out if success really does leave clues. It took a huge amount of courage on my part to put myself out there and make myself vulnerable to rejection. Can you imagine, if I hadn’t sent that message? Someone I aspire to be would have been in my city without me ever knowing. This experience has started a trend in me. I now reach out to people. No matter how famous, important or busy I imagine them to be. If they are saying or doing something that speaks to me, I want to speak to them. I encourage you to do the same. Don’t listen to that voice telling you that you will NEVER get a reply. You might not, but remember – what’s the best that can happen?
Bron (Success Clue Finder)
Do you ever feel sometimes like you’re a little girl living in a woman’s body? Hopefully some of you are saying yes and I’m not sounding like a crazy person. Or maybe I just need to explain more? What do I mean when I say I feel like a little girl? I mean that I’m noticing that I’m still living out kid based fears and worries in my adult life. Like whether I’m being excluded socially or if people like me. Worrying about getting "in trouble" (that’s a big one for me) with authority figures like my parents or even my child’s school teacher. Also, I've been worrying about making mistakes, so much so that I've not even been taking a step towards my goals. That’s little Bron thinking, like the one in the picture (me on my 5th birthday).
I think what’s supposed to happen is that as we become adults, we become more sure of ourselves. We know who we are, what we stand for and care less about what others think of us and more about the wellbeing of others. Well, that’s what I think of when I consider what it means to be an adult anyway.
Recent experiences in my life tell me that I have some growing up to do. I’ve been playing a game called – 'Run Around in Circles Screaming “I don’t know what I’m doing!”'. Well, I’m certain that I will continue to encounter situations where I’m not sure of my next step but I can always be sure of myself. If I choose to be. Can it really be that simple, to just choose? I think so. Because I’ve reached that place inside of me before. When I’m calm, still and listen to my heart, there is a deep wise knowing inside of me. If I just grant myself the time and space to go there – I can find resolve in any situation.
That’s the growing up part. Choosing to spend more time clearing space for myself so I can calm down, soothe the inner child that has me hiding from being straight with people (least they don’t like me because of it) and stand in my knowing that I’m capable, more than capable of doing the adult thing. No doubt I will find myself falling into old child like patterns again but I can certainly set the intention to notice, have compassion and step forward with the accountability of an adult. Bye, bye baby, it’s adult time.
Bron (adult in the making)
I'm Bronwyn Bay and I'm passionate about mums. I believe mothers are a rich and largely untapped reservoir of wisdom, spirit, creativity and power within local communities and society at large. I am the founder of the 'It Takes A Village...' community support initiative in East Auckland, creator of the Mothers Unite! Conference and starter of the Mothers United Movement. I am a devoted mum, wife and work from home as a freelance writer helping people to put their passion on paper - Bronwyn Bay. I also provide reiki healings from my home in my Rainbow Reiki Room.