Today I am thinking about mothering as a way in which we can make the world (in all its messiness and difficulty) better.
“Children are the ways that the world begins again and again. If you fasten upon that concept of their promise, you will have trouble finding anything more awesome, and also anything more extraordinarily exhilarating, than the opportunity or/and the obligation to nurture a child into his or her own freedom.” – June Jordan
Mothering is often treated by our society as an inherently conservative activity, something that’s about preserving the past (past traditions, past family structures, past values). But I’m learning from so many people (including people who aren’t biological mothers) who are knitting together strands from the past and hopes for the future.
Care for nature, for the world around us, for our mothers’ and grandmothers’ knowledge and experience. And dreams of more space for children to be who they want to be, to welcome and nurture others, to grow freely.
My mother and grandmother taught me so much, and still do. They are kind and fierce and have managed change and dislocation while always providing me with a steady point in the world.
My beautiful friends who are mothers teach me every day through their examples and their honesty about the difficult moments as well as the wonderful ones.
And I learn from mothers beyond my little circles, too.
From Noongar mothers, and other Aboriginal mothers who fought for recognition of the kidnapping of their children, and who are working today to build a society where their children will be safe and valued as they should be.
From Black mothers like June Jordan, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and others in the ‘Revolutionary Mothering’ collection, which I return to again and again. They have done so much to help me understand other mothers’ experiences, and to see the possibilities and work that I should be taking up. And others, like Sylvia Federici, who have helped me see what I might not have, otherwise.
From mothers who must be brave enough to leave war or economic insecurity, hoping for safety, even though it also means leaving behind family and friends and home and the language and culture that has been held dear.
From mothers who work quietly and consistently and without recognition, from mothers who are sometimes difficult because of the work they do, from mothers who struggle with their own pasts, and who nevertheless keep trying to create the world anew, more full of love and possibility than before.