by Nancy Peplinsky, HMN Founder

Ina. Madre. Unina. Makuahine. Majka. Mutter. There are many ways, in many languages, to say Mother. According to Merriam Webster mother is defined as: a female parent; a woman in authority; the source/origin; maternal tenderness or affection. Motherhood is the state of being a mother, of embodying these characteristics and traits.

But in practice, what is at the core of motherhood? In a confusing world filled with both stasis and change, peace and war, health and illness, struggle and victory, what is at the essence of motherhood? Is motherhood about cooking organic meals? Is it about choosing one particular parenting style? Is it about sacrifice and giving? Is it unconditional love? Is it about championing a specific cause or mission on behalf of our children? Is it striving to be greener, happier, better? Is it all of these or really none of them at all?

For me, motherhood is about creating a safe space for my children to land. A place that not only embraces comfort and a sense of home, but an unconditional understanding and acceptance of who they are and will be. It’s a space where they can say that they want to wear the blue shirt instead of the red one; where they can dislike green smoothies; where they can listen to head-banging music or pursue an unusual interest; where they can identify differently – i.e., politically, socially, with regard to gender – and where they can always safely land when life throws them challenges. Motherhood is about acceptance and allowing my children to blossom into the beings that they are, regardless of whatever my personal interests and desires for them might be. It is a space where we can have honest and open communication to discuss their passions and dreams, where we can disagree respectfully, where we can debate our ideas, but where they know they can take a stand with honor and dignity.

Creating a sacred motherhood space is about unconditional acceptance. I may not love their choices, ideas, or pursuits, but I accept that this is their journey and path. It does not mean I won’t have advice to share, thoughts to discuss, or even attempts to persuade them otherwise. But it means that I am merely a guide in their lives. My role is not to create their journey but to give them the foundation to empower them to select their own path, however minor or immense each decision may be. It is okay to allow them to fail, to experience the consequences of their decisions – good or bad – but to always know that they can fall into the motherhood space for congratulations, condolences, and acceptance. We can sit with our children in pain and joy, comfort and unease, and allow them to grow and evolve. We will never be able to protect them from all of life’s struggles, but we can provide a space where they can learn resilience, where they can problem solve, and where they can simply be at peace.

At the Holistic Moms Network, we similarly strive to create a similar sacred space for parents themselves – a place where you can land with your ideas, passions, interests, and knowledge safely and without judgement. A place where you can disagree respectfully, learn something new, and find comfort and support. We honor the motherhood journey in all of its challenges and triumphs together and support each other as we make the choices that best serve our families. We believe that in this safe and sacred community space, parents can find who they are as parents, choose their paths and know that they are supported wherever their journey takes them. Join us this month as we celebrate motherhood together!