Professorial Musing on Motherhood

By guest blogger Rob Cummins, 17-year-husband of one, father of two and walker of one other one (dog, that is.) Rob, MA English and M Ed. (Secondary Education), certified teacher (Type 09) and Adjunct Professor of English Literature is looking with hope for that perfect Middle-School or High-School teaching position. This gentleman knows more about just about everything than anyone I know. Just don't accept an invitation from him to play Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble. Really.

To be and to do. That’s the definition of what a mother, a mom, is. A noun and a verb (and a superlative adjective.) What we are talking about, then, is that mothering a child isn’t simply a physical, emotional, or psychological action. It’s all of these things, a process of incredible difficulty and complexity and just when you feel like you’ve got this whole thing wired, then something new and unexpected occurs which can change your perspective completely--in ways transcendent and, well, not-so-transcendent, but always, always, totally and utterly humbling.

I’ve had the great fortune to be blessed with a bevy of brilliant mothers in my life: my wife, my own mother and grandmothers, aunts, in-laws, friends who each bring their own uniquely powerful parental practices into my societal mix, protecting, nurturing and caring for their children, showing us, again (I can’t reiterate this enough) that mothering is a process. My own wife,who was nice enough to let me encroach on her blog space--a good example, by the way, albeit a small one, but not one of small consequence, of a nurturing and caring person--is a prime example of everything I’ve been talking about. Now don’t get me wrong, I like to think I’m a good father, but, my wife was born to be a great mother (I don’t mean this in some old-fashioned, anti-feminist way--barefoot and pregnant, and all that). She is, I’m not even going out on a limb, here, remarkable at mothering.The dictionary doesn’t even come close (and how could they really define any mom in two hundred and fifty words, or so?) to getting at my wife’s parenting essence. Being a mother is her raison d etre, and it’s not only being a brilliant mother to our own children, but through her business and other efforts, nurturing other children and adults, as well. Nurturing and caring, helping them through the process of becoming great. This is not hyperbole.

Know that what all great mothers do is not hyperbole. It is greatness, pure and simple. The process of creating good citizens isn’t an easy one, but it’s a necessary one if we want our kids to grow and develop into thinkers, artists, designers, big dreamers. Mothers who want their children, all children, really, to move forward in so many different ways, reinterpret the basic ideas that surround and inform us, not looking to conserve their energies or visions for a later date, fighting the fights that need to be fought, so other mothers and mothers-to-be become empowered and feel like they’re part of a spectacular process which will transform and transcend. A process of nurturing, caring, protecting: mothers. Don’t forget to call yours on Sunday.