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.
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.