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Dear Mom: My Definition of Mothering

Dear Mom,

Hi. I am Nikki Sue, mother of six. Five of my six kids are bonus children. I have learned a lot about being a step mom which will come in later blogs. Ididn’t have my first child until I was in my thirties.  

Mydefinition of mothering is to protect a child with care and affection. All of us women are mothers whether or not we have children of our own. Throughout my life I have been a mom or mother. I havetaken the role of mom even prior to having my children.I have learned that mothering comes with happiness and sorrow and in fact is hard.

I am the oldest of nine kids. I was 15 when my youngest sister was born. Being the oldest I had a lot of responsibility placed upon me and I was expected to be a mother to my younger brothers and sisters. My two youngest sisters were toddlers when I was in high school. There were times that I thought I was too cool for them, but as I look back I realize how I mothered them. They always wanted to know what I was doing, where I was going and who I would be with. I called them the little girls and cared about theirwell being. One summer during college I took them both to Disneyland. As 6 and 7 year-old girls they loved the excitement of Disneyland and I loved to see the joyful expressions on their face. How would I know that later in life I would experience that same joy with my own kids. My younger sisters are grown with their own children, yet I still consider them as the little girls and still mothering them when they need it.

My mothering continued as I graduated from college, started teaching high school and coaching thegirls’ basketball team. I felt as if my students were my children. They would come to my class and share their hopes, dreams, disappointments, and heartaches. Sometimes I could fix them, and sometimes I just listened. My heart would ache for them at times and other times it would be beaming with joy if they did well in class. My basketball girls called me their mother. I would check before each game if they had the correct uniform, basketball shoes, and any other items they needed. I counseled the on their nutrition, sleep, and yes, even boys. Many pre-game pep talks included my words of, “I would do anything for you girls and I always have your back.” Those girls still hold a special place in my heart.

In my current job I have the opportunity to mother. I work closely with high school students teaching them leadership skills. I teach them how to plan, organize, and carry out leadership conferences for other students. I teach them the basics of professional dress and behavior. I teach them how to navigate in unfamiliar cities. I get to share with them life lessons that will help the in the future. Many times I have told them the same words I shared with my basketball girls, “I would do anything for you and will always have your back.”

The mothering experiences I had in my life has helped me in being a mother to my own children. I feel I was prepared to help with the many challenges that would come with being a mother. The many children I have mothered throughout my life has expanded my heart with love and gratitude. If we look around us we are all mothers in all different capacities whetheritbe your own children, your nieces and nephews, or the neighborhood children.You never know the influence that your mothering can have. I am grateful for the many mothers I have had in my life and for the opportunity I have had to mother others. Take the time to reflect on those mothers you have had and the mothering you have done to others!

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