Bits and Bites on Mothers

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Exceptional Mothers

Mothers live ordinary lives in an exceptional way

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

'Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home' — Mother Teresa'

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-Sinclair

  Image: Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's daughter with her clan. Photo provided by the author.
  Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's daughter with her clan. Photo provided by the author.

Today I would like to salute all the wonderful mothers of this world because motherhood may be the most difficult challenge women face during their lives and unfortunately, young women are often ill-prepared for it.

I remember, as a young woman, dreaming of the perfect family: three children, a loving husband and a beautiful house full of laughter. Like an unforgiving hurricane, destiny would soon reduce my dreams to shreds and make me a widow and single mom in a single day. But being a mom was the experience I have valued the most through the years.

Motherhood is not very often mentioned in fairy tales and when it is, it often points to a lack of feminine nurturing or even outright cruelty, yet women all over the world have risen to the task in an exceptional way. In order to become a good mother, one needs to have a combination of inner strength and maturity or as Maya Angelou called it:

“Mother wit! Intelligence that you had in your mother’s womb. That’s what you rely on. You know what’s right to do.”

The first step in becoming a mom is a long gestation period of nine months. And then, mothers go through the painful process of giving birth and yet, instantly marvel at their newborn child. They go through sleepless nights and a never-ending routine of caring for a totally dependent human being, doing the housework, cooking, shopping and managing the everyday ups and downs of family life, all the while keeping their spouse happy and content and the relationship on course.

No wonder, women often feel exhausted, stressed and often stuck all alone on the ship called FAMILY. Some even drift into depression or go around in an endless circle of misery. But a good mother pulls herself together. She knows, as Pablo Coelho puts it, that:

'The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.'

Yes, motherhood requires wisdom and insight and young mothers are wise to reach out to their own mothers, sisters, friends and community for support. Sharing childcare eases the burden and prevents burn-out. Many of us didn’t have that privilege and as working mothers often felt overwhelmed. I try my best to support my daughter, a working mom with six children between the ages of four to sixteen. To me she is a real hero!

'A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.  (Paulo Coelho)

Image: Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair holds a bundled baby in arms. Photo provided by the author.  
Grandmothers, too! Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair holds a bundled baby in arms. Photo provided by the author.  

Exceptional mothers are awesome creatures! They thrive on love. They can handle chaos. They are willing to go all out to give their children the best, even if it means constant sacrifice: nurturing, accompanying, teaching, feeding, supervising, guiding, encouraging, comforting, advising, entertaining . . .

I laughed when I found this little tidbit about success that can easily apply to moms: “Be calm and serene on the surface but pedal like a fool underneath.” I think it pretty well sums up the everyday life of a lot of moms. Mothers work hard to keep things together. Tenacity and courage keep them going even if they have “had the biscuit” on a very trying day and would rather retire under the covers and sleep for twelve hours . . . or cry themselves to sleep.

So on Mothers’ Day, remember to celebrate all these mothers, young and old, who live ordinary lives in an exceptional way! Blessings!