What does being a mother mean? Why do we celebrate mothers? I guess I should ask why do we ONLY celebrate mothers one day a year? Really, whose idea was that? Mothers should be celebrated daily as, let’s face it, the world would fall apart without them! Behind every good man and woman is an extraordinary woman they call “Mom.” Mothers are universally loved because they play a critical role in shaping and nurturing the next generation, and their love and sacrifices are often seen as the epitome of selflessness and devotion. They are often the primary caregivers and nurturers in a family, providing emotional support, comfort, and guidance to their children. This bond between mother and child is one of the strongest and most enduring relationships in human society, as it is built on a foundation of unconditional love and sacrifice. Mothers are admired for their strength and resilience. They are known to put the needs of their children before their own, sacrificing their own desires and aspirations to ensure their children's happiness and well-being. Mothers often play a significant role in shaping their children's personalities, values, and beliefs. They are the first teachers, helping their children learn basic skills and develop a sense of morality and ethics.
Ginger and I have been fortunate to meet some amazing mothers on our travels. These women are some of the most resilient people we have ever met. Mothers in Third World countries often face significant challenges in fulfilling their roles as caretakers, providers, and educators for their families. These challenges are often compounded by poverty, lack of access to education and healthcare, and social norms and traditions that limit women’s opportunities and place them in subordinate roles. In many of these countries mothers are responsible for providing families with basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. In many cases their children are at risk of malnutrition, disease, or violence. I vividly remember my first trip to Africa. I was giving deworming medicine to children at a school in Kenya. Some of the children and their mothers had walked for miles as they desperately needed worming medicine every six months. I remember at one point having to step away because I could no longer hold in my tears. I thought I was prepared, but I was nowhere near prepared to see so many children with the light brown hair and drawn faces which I learned were the telltale signs of malnutrition. The children were in line as we handed each child a pill and a bottle of water so they could have one sip to wash down that vital pill. Most children only took one small sip. I can see it like it were yesterday when a very small boy took his pill but held onto that bottle of water as if it were the last sip he might ever receive. He simply could not stop drinking that life giving liquid. I remember the look of shame yet tenderness in his mother’s eyes as her son took much more than one sip. I also remember none of us could muster the courage nor had any desire to take that bottle away from him…it was simply more than I or any of us could bear to do. Something as simple as CLEAN water is an indulgence in many countries in Africa. As I have seen in several countries, mothers bear the burden and the shame of not being able to give their children all that they need to thrive or in many cases even survive. I know without a doubt that trip to Kenya planted the seed that led me to partner with Ginger to start Intertwined. People ask me why we took this leap of faith, and my response is always, “because I can’t unsee what I’ve seen.” The sadness and desperation I have seen on mothers’ faces on my travels has led me here. We are determined to change lives one artisan, one family, one mother at a time.
As we get closer to Mother’s Day, I will share stories of some of the mothers with whom we work and how they have shaped their children and their entire communities. Their determination and perseverance in the face of so many obstacles inherent in their cultures and countries I hope will inspire you as they have me. After meeting these women, I dare anyone to tell me that one person, one woman, cannot make a difference.
Let’s be honest, mothers are complete rockstars! Motherhood is like being a superhero but instead of having a cool costume or a cape they spend their days functioning with no sleep in spit up stained shirts or negotiating with tiny humans who have the negotiating skills of a seasoned lawyer. Or for those of you with adult children, you walk a delicate balance between being a helpful parent and a helicopter mom praying that they won’t end up homeless or worse, still living with you until they are forty!
Hang in there moms! You are making a difference in your children’s lives and thus in our world. And remember, there are mothers out there that are simply trying to keep their children alive. So, at the end of the day, those of us who can easily provide our children with the basic necessities of life are more fortunate than we often remember. Ginger and I are both mothers of amazing children, and we luckily both still have our mothers with us. We are grateful to our mothers for the love and support and the example they provided so that we too could raise little humans to one day be functioning adults who will hopefully continue the legacy of love and compassion that our world so desperately needs. To all the mothers we have met on our travels we SEE you, and we are in awe of your selflessness.