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Feb 13 / Caro

This Place Called Motherhood

I’ve realised recently that a strange thing happened to me when I became someone who reads “Mummy Blogs”, (which is very distinct from becoming a parent, by the way). It was that I became someone who pretty much only reads “Mummy Blogs.”

No, actually, that’s wrong.

I still read plenty of blogs about subjects other than parenting. I have blogs categorised by lots of subjects in my RSS Reader App of choice. But in all the other categories, I have blogs by people from several different countries. When it comes to diabetes, for example, we may talk in different units of measurement for blood glucose levels and have different health care systems which affect our access to care and technology enormously. But what we actually do day-to-day rises above that. We have enough in common that where we live doesn’t often matter at all. And what we have to say is usually much more important than how we say it.

When it comes to parenting, however, I’ve realised that I’m reading “Mummy blogs” but not “Mom blogs”. Because all of the parents I follow, and regularly read, are British.

Why is that?

Does parenting, and the process of being a parent not transcend international borders?

In the UK, we don’t send our kids to “Daycare” or “Kindergarten” but to nursery and pre-school. Nursing is something we do to the sick, whilst breastfeeding is something we may choose to do for our children. We change their nappies, not their diapers. And we don’t become “Soccer Moms” or drive Minivans – or at least, we don’t call them that.

But that, much as with diabetes, is just superficial. It’s just the language of parenting. The act of being a mother? Surely that is something that no geography can divide?

In fact, it’s something that language – any language – can’t even define. I hate it when I hear motherhood being described as a “job”. It’s not a job, but not simply because it has no contract, pay, or clocking off time. It’s not a job because it’s something else entirely. It’s its very own thing, and we don’t have a word for that, other than “mother”. Why try to define it any other way?

We’re all mothers, speaking different languages, operating within different sturctures, but all facing the same challenges, searching for the same triumphs and wondering exactly how we got here and just where exactly we are going to end up. Becoming, and being, a mother is such a fundamental shift for a woman that no national identity or culture can override it. Underneath it all, we were all once very different individuals, with different experiences, different objectives and different priorities. But once we became mothers, we gave all that up in pursuit of happiness for our children. No matter where we were before, now we’re here, in this place called motherhood.

That’s not to say that we’re all the same when obviously that’s not true. We still have different motivations and goals, and do things is very different ways. But each and every one of us is different to the person that we were before. We’re all experiencing, in our own ways, a transformation driven by the enormous love we feel for our children. The feeling that we’d do anything for them. That wherever we go and whatever we do, we’ll always carry them with us in our hearts.

Love is perhaps the most complex concept known to human kind. And it’s the thing mothers across the world have in common. What we are doing is so much more important than how we do and the words we use to describe it, or how our culture chooses to try and describe and define it.

It’s time for me to look beyond the words and language, beyond the locations. I need to stop focusing on the differences and instead see the similarities. Motherhood should transcend geographical boundaries, because motherhood it it’s very own special place.

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