there are lots of ways to mother.

it’s mother’s day weekend in the USA, the time where a bunch of women feel special and extra-loved, and another group of women often don’t.  like so many other holidays, many who feel great about it  sometimes forget that there are others who really struggle this particular weekend. church is extra sucky if they make all the mothers stand up and get a flower and you’re the one still sitting. in divorced families, the reality of what’s been lost creeps up.  others have lost their mothers or significant women in their life and it’s another year of grief.

i promise, i’m not trying to ruin the holiday for anyone, really!  as a mom of 5, it’s not a half bad weekend for me. i love all the spoilage.  but i feel really passionate about making sure we don’t equate mother’s day with only birthing babies.

having children often becomes the ultimate pinnacle of womanhood, especially christian womanhood.  this pushes an awful lot of women to the margins and dishonors all that we were created to be beyond making babies.

sure, having babies is one way to mother, but there are countless other ways, too.

all women are mothers.

it’s how God made us. it looks different for each of us and we have to break down the crazy stereotypes and ways we’ve been boxed in, fenced in, and limited in order to get to the essence of our awesomeness as women.  just like there are lots of ways to love God,  there are lots of ways to mother, to bring things to life, to create, to nurture, to build, to protect.  

women mother when we: 

call out God’s image in someone.

cultivate art & words & beauty. 

advocate for another. 

build friendships and life-giving relationships.

midwife spiritual shifts.

make new families who come from our wombs & orphanages & foster care

influence change.

hug a friend.

listen to a friend. 

weep with those who weep.

rejoice with those who rejoice.

start something. build something. create something. 

protect what’s good. 

lend hope to someone who needs to borrow it.  

inspire dreams & new ideas.

nurture pockets of justice & love & freedom in small or big ways. 

lead teams.

care for our coworkers, our neighbors, someone else’s child

care for parents.

care for ourselves.

yeah, women are awesome–strong, tender, wise, beautiful, compassionate, creative, powerful, brave, messy.   kids, no kids, single, married, gay, straight, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, divorced, widowed, young, old–it makes no difference.

the one thing we have in common is that we all somehow mother.

and i’m really glad there are lots of ways to do that.  

that’s fun to celebrate.  i hope we all tell a woman today how you are grateful for her mothering.

happy mother’s day!

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.


  • Thank you kathy. Your post just saved Mother’s Day for me. since my infertility diagnosis, Mother’s Day has been a day of much sadness for me. I enjoy celebrating my mom and mom-in-law, but inside, i feel sad that I am not celebrated as a mother. Your post today has affirmed the many ways I mother others, and so tomorrow, I will celebrate myself and how i love people who coem into my life.

    • oh nicole, thank you so much for taking time to share what this stirred up; it means so much and i know many can connect with that feeling. much peace and hope to you from colorado.

  • Kathy, one of the things I love about you is your caring from other view points. Lovely.

    One I would like to add that I couldn’t see before is when you have lost your mother whether young or older, or through being shuffled around or not wanted, etc. mother’s day painfully reminds you that you are mother less.

    It is now the task to find the way to connect to mother in God, mother in friends and mother in yourself to name a few. This expanding of mother connection is hard and painful, but enriching and strengthing.

  • Thank you for this. Your articulated so well the idea that so many women don’t have to feel left out. This holiday is a challenging one for me on several levels, but I have been keeping this in my head when the sad comes in. Grateful for your voice that nurtures so many, me included. xo

  • Yes – Mother’s Day can be painful for lots of people – for lots of reasons. Thanks for celebrating the wonderful mothering gifts of all kinds of women. We all need multiple mothers – I love your list. it reminds me to look around and give thanks for all the amazing nurturing going on around me.

  • Thanks for this Kathy! I don’t have kids and my mom is in heaven so Mother’s day is hard. Friday I was talking to God about missing my Mom. I asked Him for His love through another Mom’s day. A while later a student stopped by (I work at a university).
    He said he was thinking of me this Mom’s day and thought I could use a box of of my favorites too! It brought happy tears. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. Jesus sent his love…Wow! It’s times like these that I am in awe of our
    amazing God and His love for us.

    • thanks irene, missed you sunday. i am glad you felt the love this weekend. what a fun and sweet gift and a reminder of God’s love for you!


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