Living Arts Weekly: A Plea for the Support of Mothers Everywhere

May 14, 2023

Today as we celebrate the great work of mothers, I am thinking about the path forward they tirelessly work to pave for their children.

I come from a strong lineage of mothers who have done this work. Three generations of women in my family have endured the hardship of bucking societal norms and transforming their own trauma to save their children and families from cycles of patriarchal abuse. I cannot help but consider what the work of all three of these generations has done for my life and that of my siblings, my children and beyond. Counting back from my great-grandmother, there have been fifteen third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation families whose lives have been affected by her brave actions, and furthered by the work of each mother after.   

Still, their work may not have had the same effect had they been alone. They were able to make a stronger impact on future generations because of their support systems and, in some capacities, due to the fact that they are white. Mothers should never have to do this work alone. We all deserve a support network. We need people to be dedicated to us as we dedicate our lives to our families.   

Recently, I have been concentrating on stories and podcasts about mothers and caregivers of color- stories of women who are doing the same work that my lineage has. A resounding message that I am reminded of in their stories is that a countless number of them do not have the support networks that my family had. This is not fresh news, by any means. This message has been communicated for decades but needs to be repeated, and will need to be repeated until it no longer stands as truth. There are scores of women of all colors who have raised incredible children and families without help, but that does not mean they should have to. As I said before, every caregiver deserves to be supported and cared for. 

In the day to day tasks of family life, I know it is easy to forget to look outwards but it is necessary. No one’s life will be “better” without everyone’s life becoming better. The sad truth is that most of us who live privileged lives and have the support that we need are the ones who need to be doing a lot more reaching out. It cannot be left alone to mamas and families in need to support each other when they are already so depleted and doing the healing work of their own generations of trauma. 

Today on Mother’s Day, I challenge all of you to begin listening to these stories, to begin contemplating your own lives and support systems. I challenge you to make steps to reach out and discover what you and your support system can be doing to assist mamas everywhere. 

It is not easy to set aside time that we already feel is precious. It is not easy to tread into the uncomfortable territory of putting ourselves out there, of not knowing what to do and having to keep trying. I know this first hand- I have been grappling and grasping for years, offering what I can. But I’m not stopping, and it is high time we all do it. Bridges need to be built!

Circles of support can start small. They can start with a neighbor or a phone call. They can start with some volunteer time at a local organization, or some research on the resources available in your area and what you can do to extend them. Support comes in many forms, and it is our task to listen to the world and find how it is calling us to reciprocally provide it as we welcome it.

Much love to all on this Mother’s Day,