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In praise of motherhood on Women’s Month

05:05 AM March 19, 2019

There is a reason why nature is called Mother Nature or Mother Earth, the country a Motherland and “Inang Bayan,” and the church the Holy Mother Church.

There is something about motherhood that connotes nurturing and loving, an innate kindness that draws immortal loyalty from those lucky enough to enjoy a mother’s warmth. Aside from death and taxes, one other thing that’s certain is that we all have mothers. Isn’t that a thrill?

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There is an invisible umbilical cord that connects mother and child almost inextricably for the rest of their lifetimes.
Instinctively, sometimes, the first word that pours from a babe’s pink lips is “Mama” — without prodding from anyone, we would all notice.

Mothers love their children as no other person can. It is most graphically shown in the biblical story of the wise king Solomon who tried to settle the dispute between two women who each claimed the child to be her own.

Solomon offered to cut the baby into two and give each woman one-half of the baby. But the real mother begged the king not to do it, for she couldn’t bear to see her own child die. At that, the wise king awarded the baby to the right mother, the one who would rather have the baby in the arms of another woman than see him die.

That’s how mothers are. That’s why every second Sunday of the month of May, the world stops activities to give tribute to the greatest vocation in the world: motherhood.

Mothers allocate finite resources like time, energy, money and resources among her (sometimes) many children, and tiredness is not in her vocabulary. She just goes on nurturing day in and day out, until the kids acquire wings to fly on their own.

The loving mother is the first source of affection in the first six months of the child. The baby wakes up to the world with eyes interlocked with that of the mother who sheds tears of joy upon seeing the child. The language of embrace, the language of the eyes, the language of the smile and other expressions of pleasure—the baby gets all these first from the mother.

The phrase “working mother” is redundant, as a saying goes. For even if she does not go to the office or toil in the fields, she works in the house for its upkeep. She often does not get paid for doing household chores, being the house accountant, and serving as the resident adviser to children and comforter of the husband. Sometimes she is the walking appliance in the household, providing services for free.

Mothers face the dilemma of nurturing their children and setting them free to stand on their own even as they struggle to keep their own identity. It is a fact that we all run to our mothers for pieces of advice, which we cannot seem to do with our fathers. Somehow, we assume there is that soft spot in mothers that make them be on our side almost all of the time.

In fact, it seems giving advice comes naturally to mothers, as if they were to those genes born. As a Jewish proverb says: “A mother understands what a child does not say.” How meaningfully true in many ways.

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And rightful is the mother who understands that true love is letting go. We see mothers allow their children to make their own mistakes in life, not hovering over their shoulders all the time, knowing that in their children’s mistakes would come wisdom. Dorothy Parker said it even more powerfully: “A mother is not a person to lean on but a person who makes leaning on unnecessary.”

Hulbert quotes that children need love, especially when they sometimes seem not to deserve it. The phrase may seem to defy logic, but it does not. It just defines the immensity of a mother’s love for children that reason may find difficult to justify.

But a mother’s love is never justified, it just happens.

Pearl S. Buck, the great author, noted how love and discipline are not mutually exclusive in mothers: “Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but is love just the same. And most mothers kiss and scold together.”

Behind the success of every man is always a woman. It could be the mother who once nurtured him with love and values, and walked the child through the byways and highways of life.

It is with this profound belief in the dignity of the vocation of motherhood that we greet all the loving mothers in this world celebrating the Month for Women.

* * *

Bingo P. Dejaresco III, a former banker, is a financial consultant, media practitioner and book author. He is a lifetime member and chair of the broadcast media of Finex.

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TAGS: Bingo P. Dejaresco III, Inquirer Commentary, international women’s month, motherhood
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