The Lifelines of Motherhood: Inspiration, Innovation and Imagination
As National Women’s Month comes to a close in the United States, I find myself pondering on this year’s theme; Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination. While this brings deserved attention to women who’ve contributed significantly to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it moves me to reflect on a specific sector of women – mothers. And, not only mothers here in America, but mothers around the world. Inspiration, innovation and imagination are the cornerstones of mothering regardless of geographic proximity.
I spend my days talking with women of all ages, in varying stages of motherhood. The work I do is the perfect blend of my two most expensive educations: a Master’s degree in Social Work and Motherhood. While getting the social work degree was hard work and costly, its requirements felt like my first day at kindergarten in comparison to being a mother.
In motherhood, there is a test everyday and the work is so busy, you rarely have time to compare notes with your classmates. It’s almost like taking online courses to learn how to become a surgeon. There is no wise professor at the front of the room with all the answers, nor is there an opportunity to stop everything to raise your hand and see if you’re on the right track. We all have to rely on our lifelines; inspiration, innovation and imagination and do the best as we can.
The inspiration part can be easy for many. In general, women start to feel inspired during pregnancy. We begin to think more seriously about our future, how and with whom we spend our time and some of us begin to give laser-focus to our health and fitness. Some of us take a bit more time to pull into “inspiration station” but we often find our way there once we’ve seen our babies or once our children start to make their needs known to us in their own adorable ways.
Innovation would be nothing without imagination; so let’s elaborate on how imaginative we are ladies! A mother has to be able to imagine jumping out of a plane with no parachute and figure out, on her way down how to land on her feet. Mother’s have to imagine a plan A, B, and C. Motherhood teaches us that all of our plans are soft and we need to be okay with that. Moms never know when a child’s fever will pop up, or when a skip at the playground will end with a stitch in the emergency room. Imagination is the key to progress in a mother’s life and subsequently, in the lives of our children. What we imagine for ourselves and for our children is the fuel that drives us to be innovative.
A mother’s innovation is a wondrous thing to behold. It is responsible for thousands of brilliantly crafted, home-made Halloween costumes and dozens of 30-minute meals made from those last three items in the cupboard. Innovation is the magic wand used by mother’s around the globe to create yet another fun, wildly-unique birthday party for the seventh year in a row and the capacity to go from a sweat suit-wearing servant covered in cookie dough, spit up and sticky notes at lunchtime to a Vicky Secret’s model wanna-be for our mates in the evening. For most of us, in our post-baby bodies, the effort necessary to imitate a Vicky Secret’s model takes equal parts inspiration and innovation from us, and a double-dose of imagination from our partner. Lol!
Yes, it is great that women have a one month every year where they are celebrated for their contributions to society. And, it is interesting that mother’s have merely one day on the calendar for such honors. Perhaps that is because mothers are like super-heroes who perform their duties without ever really revealing just how much commitment, effort and work it takes. And, like Wonder Woman, we have our stylish bracelets of imagination and our invisible airplane kept airborne by our wings of innovation and inspiration to help keep us on the job.
So, I encourage moms here and everywhere to honor each other everyday and in every way. And I encourage everyone else to use their imagination and picture themselves in a world without mothers. It would probably be like a song without a melody, an ocean with no water or a sky with no stars.
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