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Photo credit: Kristina Leonardi

The other half of the question of what there is to celebrate is what mothered and mothers you, how you mother yourself, how you celebrate and recognize what cares for you and takes care of you, and what you care for in return. — Rebecca Solnit

On this day and forever more, we will be reminded that peace is not just the absence of war. It is the presence of mothering. — Gloria Steinem

Because I knew in my early 20s I did not want to become a mother in the traditional/noun sense, I’ve never felt left out of Mother’s Day. As a human being, I have a right to this choice; however, as a woman in the 21st century, I do not take this for granted and I’m ever-grateful for the time, culture and place I live in, as well as for those who have fought for and given their lives in order for me to exercise this right without (much) prejudice or persecution.

I’ve also never felt left out because of much of what Gloria writes here. I have never given birth to or chosen to adopt and be responsible for the survival and well-being of another human, which is unfathomable to me — I give all of you who do so tremendous credit and am in complete awe of the undertaking. But I have experienced, and continue to experience, mothering the verb in so many ways.

I gave birth to The Women’s Mosaic and took care of it for over 10 years; I birthed a book of 131 essays and I’m creating more PGGs every month (I think this might be one … !). I felt like a mother worrying about a teenage daughter when my mom was out partying and having fun with the boys late at night, then experienced caregiving when she was too ill to take care of herself, then honored and cared for her possessions when she was gone.

Over the past 15 years and counting, I have been a mentor and provider of loving guidance to the growth and development of countless interns, volunteers and clients, who are often young enough to be my sons or daughters, and I consider many of them as such, regardless of their age. I like to think that I’m a nurturing friend and sibling, and I care deeply for those who are in my life. I feel a responsibility for and have dedicated my life to contributing to peace and harmony on the planet in whatever way I can.

But most important, and especially having gone through the loss of both parents now, I am constantly giving birth to myself — I have learned, and continue to learn, how to take care of my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs and to give myself permission to express the fullest version of who I am, which is a work in progress.

Mothering oneself and others is essential to both inner and outer peace, so no matter who you are, or what your status or gender, all of us can strive for and celebrate being the best mothers we can be.

Read the inspiration for this post from Gloria Steinem’s MOTHER AS A VERB post here

Read Rebecca Solnit’s (quoted above) post about Mother’s Day here

(Originally posted on www.kristinaleonardi.com on May 10, 2016)

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Speaker,Coach,Writer.Very Tall. Expertise:People. All kinds, what makes 'em tick, how they fit into the world, how they can best connect to themselves + others.

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