Salonen: One mentoring mom often inspires othersThe nurturing capacity of women in action is a beautiful thing to witness. And there’s a circular dimension to it. One woman reaches into the life of another and transforms her world. The recipient turns to do the same to another.
The nurturing capacity of women in action is a beautiful thing to witness.
And there’s a circular dimension to it. One woman reaches into the life of another and transforms her world. The recipient turns to do the same to another.
The strongest examples in my own life have come during my mothering years, though it took hindsight for me to recognize how powerfully I’d been buoyed up in my mothering by other women.
It’s a quiet force, after all, moving silently but certainly. We don’t always name it while it’s happening, but I’ve come to think of it, in somewhat concrete terms, as mother mentoring.
My own mother, a retired elementary teacher, stayed near during my sister’s and my growing-up years. And through all the years since, she’s kept in close contact, often with daily updates and occasional cards filled with encouraging words.
There’s been no lack in my own mother’s mothering.
And yet these mother mentors have come into my life and made a tremendous impact. Even the best mothers cannot be there for us every minute, nor fulfill all our needs.
When my husband and I moved out of state to begin our new lives together, one such woman, Carolyn, appeared on the scene like an angel. The only other woman in the newsroom where I worked, she took me on as her pseudo-daughter, inviting my husband and me to her house for home-cooked meals and to the poetry readings she helped organize.
Some days I would come to work and find a colorful bouquet of flowers, hand-picked from her garden and purposefully assembled, greeting me at my desk. And as I came into new motherhood, she delighted with me in my newest vocation.
And there have been others.
Katie was first to help me feel comfortable with breastfeeding my children when so many others planted doubtful thoughts in my mind. She also came in the wee hours of the night to stay with our two oldest children when our third – her goddaughter – was born.
And Linda – what would I do without her? She is both mother and friend, offering practical and spiritual advice when needed. Even after moving hundreds of miles away, she’s remained a sweet and constant voice of wisdom during both the darkest and brightest times.
Pam Erickson has been another such mother mentor. In the years when connecting with other mothers seemed the difference between life and death, and I desperately needed to put the pitfalls of mothering into perspective, Pam, with well-placed humor and practical advice, came through.
Her gift manifests not just in mentoring others but in connecting those who needing to be nurtured with those in a position to do so. In large part because of Pam’s modeling, I’ve reached out to other, younger mothers when the need has arisen.
It’s that circular thing I mentioned earlier. And I think we all have this gift as women, whether or not we’re physical mothers.
Having observed Pam welcome and love so many into the fold, I’ve been inspired to reach out to some of the women whose lives she’s shaped to let them tell their stories today.
Have a mother mentor in your life made all the difference in the woman you’ve become? Perhaps it’s as good a time as any to let her know.