With Mother’s Day here, I’ve taken some time to reflect on some all-important questions…
- What is a mother’s role in today’s world?
- How has the role changed over time?
- Is there just one role, or can a woman of today wear many different hats in this ever-changing world we live in?
I believe that the role has always been the same. The basic role of a mother is to nurture, protect and love their child. Based on the advice I was given many years ago and the experience I’ve had with my two adorable girls (now eight and 12) the following principles seem to make a lot of sense to me and have worked so far…
- From 0-6 years: Do everything for your child. Providing the basic necessities with lots of love. For example, you feed them, bathe them, tie their shoelaces, get them to activities and create play time etc.
- From 6-12 years: Do everything with them. Make observations, applaud, correct and remind your child of their responsibilities, again with lots of love. For example, Brushing their teeth, making their bed, putting away clothes & going to sleep.
- From 12 years onwards: Slowly let go, but at times step in when they need to be protected. You giving them responsibilities and the confidence to make decisions for themselves, step in when a situation is inappropriate or dangerous. For instance, your 13-year-old daughter comes down the stairs dressed provocatively for an outing. To protect her for the danger of inviting adult concept she cannot handle, you send her back to their room to dress appropriately.
We are blessed in Australia to be able to provide these basic necessities for our children, but sadly the statistics are saying something completely different!
Can you believe that in Australia 1 child dies every 2 weeks because of abuse and neglect* and every day there are more than 130 substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect**?
Barnardos Australia is Australia’s leading child protection charity operating for over 130 years, Barnardos looks after 7000 of the most severely disadvantaged children in our community. I am proud to say that I was involved in their national event, ‘Barnardos Mother of the Year 2014’. This is the largest and most recognised national awards celebrating motherhood. These awards publicly acknowledge the enormous contribution that mothers make in shaping Australia’s future in their role in nurturing children to help them realise their full potential.
These state and territories finalists are women who have contributed in amazing ways. Last year, I was blown away by one wonderful woman’s words when I asked her what is the most rewarding thing about helping these neglected children. She replied ‘I get kids as young as four knocking on my door in the early hours of the morning asking for a place to rest, away from their place of hell. I give them a meal, shower and a bed. Seeing a child asleep and safe in bed, this is the highlight.’ These amazing women were professionally styled and made up to attend a luncheon announcing ‘Barnardos Mother of the Year 2014’. Looking their absolute best, I had the opportunity of taking their portrait, which was presented to them as surprise keepsake portrait. I was inspired to donate my time, because I felt these mothers give so much, are very time poor and would never consider focusing on themselves this way… Now they shall have a keepsake to remember how wonderful they really are and their special time in Sydney with the other special mums.
All mums give themselves to their children on a daily basis, and deserve to be celebrated!* Australian Institute of Family Studies 2006
** Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) – Child Protection Report 2011-12