As I reflect on my mom and my grandmothers, I am thankful for their role in my life and the high expectations they had for me. Those women were tough and still are. However, I now have a sign in my room that states, “I have officially become my mother.” I hear my mother and grandmothers in my communications more everyday. As I walk in the shoes of a mother, I just want to say, “motherhood is tough.” Just as it was their job to protect me, it’s now my job to protect my babies.
Growing up, I also learned another valuable motherhood lesson from our farm animals. We had cows. It was my job to help raise baby calves when their mothers passed away during delivery. While we always did our best to save the cow, we favored the calf, and sad outcomes for mom meant early mornings and late nights of a bellowing calf (Oreo or Butterscotch) outside my bedroom window. In those situations it was my job to be the mother and protect the baby calf.
There is also one other mother I think about this time of year who can be overlooked sometimes – Mother Earth. Earth is a beautiful place and provides a balance of oxygen, rain, natural resources, crops, and so much more. But the role of motherhood is tough. As humans, we live on Mother Earth and have a history of polluting waterways, leaving trash behind on beaches, stripping natural resources, and more. The consequences of these cumulative actions are becoming permanent, irreversible, and will lead to regrets and pain. Despite this, Mother Earth relentlessly tries to maintain the ecosystem to protect us.
I challenge everyone to be a better Earth steward. When you go to the beach, follow Orange Beach, Alabama’s lead and “Leave Only Footprints” behind, respect the sea turtle nesting areas, and when dining try not to begrudge the paper straw. Grow a garden, plant a tree, or chose more regenerative actions to capture more carbon. Don’t collect your grass clippings or leaves on your lawn; instead let them naturally decompose to increase organic matter levels and provide a home to beneficial insects and microbes. Just remember, Mother Earth is doing all she can to protect us but ultimately this role needs to be reversed – it truly is our job to be a Mother to Earth and protect her.