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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

We all make cringey mistakes and deserve to move on, rather than feel confused or regretful after an icky social situation. Each week, I will dissect a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic to help you understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) as well as the content I create and share, so those new solutions, data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

Mothering Beyond Parenthood: Nurturing, Supporting, and Influencing Beyond Traditional Roles

I might not be your mother, but I am a mother, so what are you doing to take extra care of yourself?- a question that my memoir clients are familiar with. I don’t ask this at every writing session-just the ones when they go back to a dark place to retell a traumatic story. It can be triggering and emotional, so I make sure they give themselves grace and space before they have to be “on”. This carried over from my previous life as a graduate professor, when I worked with students who typically juggled school with careers, relationships, families, and hobbies while earning their masters or doctoral degrees. 


What is a Mother? 


I asked ChatGPT because I knew it would be a collective definition. It responded:


A mother is typically defined as a female parent who gives birth to or raises and nurtures a child. However, the concept of motherhood extends beyond biological ties and encompasses various roles and responsibilities, including emotional support, guidance, and care. Mothers play a crucial role in the upbringing and development of their children, providing love, protection, and stability. They often serve as role models, teachers, and caregivers, shaping their children's values, beliefs, and character. Motherhood is a deeply personal and multifaceted experience, influenced by cultural, social, and individual factors, and it holds significant importance in societies worldwide.


I appreciated the complex explanation that’s evolved beyond the primitive role of the birthing parent. Aside from mothers (birth, adopted, foster, step, god, inlaw), there are grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends, cousins, mentors, caretakers, neighbors, teachers, coaches, nieces, friends’ moms, and anyone else who might step up without the formal role and title of “Mom”. Life can get tricky and one never knows when they will need a mother figure or called to be that person to someone else, regardless of gender identity or relationship. 


Modern Mothering


There is no magical age within a woman’s fertile years to get pregnant.  It’s one of the most personal decisions, but how does one know when it’s time to assume that formal role? There is no ideal age to adopt or foster.  When you are ready, you know. In the meantime, here are various ways to mother.


You can mother with food.


I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t get excited by their favorite foods. Cooking for other people is a way of loving them.  Homemade or carefully selected comfort food goes a long way when someone is healing, busy, or needs a surprise.


You can mother by making sure they take care of themselves.


One of the positives of the pandemic is that self care has become regarded as a necessity, rather than a luxury. Since we can’t pour from an empty cup, one of the ultimate ways to nurture is to make sure they are taking care of themselves.


You can mother by helping out.


Moms know when their kid needs help. They can typically predict how to pitch in. You can do the same.


You can mother with encouragement and advice. 


It doesn't take a mother to motivate, mentor, listen, inspire, and listen when we feel stuck. Most of us need an extra boost of wisdom when taking risks, handling hard situations, healing, adjusting to change, grieving, etc. Others might really find value from our experiences.


You can mother with little acts of kindness.


Mothers know what will make their babies smile without being asked.  You might be that person who brights up someone’s day with the little things.


You can mother by showing up.


Most people perceive themselves as overextended and too busy, so one of the biggest “I love yous” is to take time out of your world by simply being physically present.  Aside from literally showing up, there are various forms of communication like text, call, email, social media activity to remind them you are there. 


What about you?


Who are the mother figures in your life?

Who are the people you tend to mother?

Hi, Beautiful Readers and thank you for reading this! I'm Dr. Joanne Broder, Media Psychologist, Author, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Please consider me to help you write your memoir, blogs, speeches, e-books, as well as coach you on your dissertation or thesis.  Click here so we can connect!

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