Sunday Times


Motherly love — whether it comes from your parent or yourself — is a potent and important force that’s worth celebratin­g, writes Atlehang Ramathesel­e


If you have spent any time on social media today, chances are you’ve seen a flurry of heart-warming Mother’s Day tributes. Depending on your generation, this could be anything from a slide show of sweet messages on WhatsApp groups to a blur of clumsily choreograp­hed limbs in a cute TikTok dance — but ultimately love is in the air, and it’s palpable.

Amid all the warm and fuzzies, though, there’ll inevitably be someone who just can’t resist putting a dampener on the day. Cue the “It would mean more if you said that to her in person”, “Half of your mothers aren’t even on social media”, or a variation of something needlessly righteous and annoying.

But there’s a degree of empathy we could extend to such people. What’s happened in their lives to make them react so harshly? As I write this, under the siege of a loud leaf blower that’s overridden every attempt I’ve made to drown out its sound, I wonder why one would feel compelled to silence positivity and affirmatio­n with the same fervour. And I get it. Many of us have experience­d the past two years as a disorienti­ng combinatio­n of going at lightning speed and wading through treacle. A lot of people are just trying to get through the day unscathed, when simply being nice can feel like an Olympic sport.

But perhaps, of all days, Mother’s Day is the one we should rally around. The love of and for mothers, their impact on people’s lives and their role in society is so dynamic and so evocative. It just feels special to not only give a nod to one of the most demanding and often thankless jobs in the world, but perhaps to invoke the qualities of nurturing, protection and care it ignites within a mother, within ourselves. Especially in this climate of uncertaint­y and loss.

Today, I think of my own mother. I raise a toast to her passion, success, teachable spirit, kindness and light. Her sacrifice as a parent is not lost on me. I reflect on the invaluable lessons she teaches me and quietly chuckle at how often she is the voice inside my head. It seems impossible not to want to validate that.

But there’s no ignoring that while this may be a wonderful day for many, it’s an excruciati­ng one for others. For every acknowledg­ment of a deep mother-andchild bond, there’s a grieving mother, a person praying to become a mother or an estranged child longing for their mother. It’s important to also consider those who don’t care for special occasions like this or who are gripped with pain by them. Maybe a way to do that would be by giving them love.

This doesn’t even have to do with the inclinatio­n to be a parent. If you’re the first person to avoid the Saturday morning breakfast rush at restaurant­s because the sight of face paint and balloon animals isn’t your thing, fair enough. But take a moment to honour whoever put up with you as a sullen teenager or offered you their ear or their shoulder on a difficult day. You could spend the time appreciati­ng every mentor, every encouragin­g word from a stranger, every sisterhood, every friend, every person who’s been prepared to lend you a hand — there’s an air of motherly love in the places that you least expect it.

Mothers carry so much of this nation on their back and the more we look into tapping into our traditiona­lly maternal side as a people, the brighter our perspectiv­es can be. A mother’s love is described as an impossible and unconditio­nal love, one where your heart almost lives outside of your body. Perhaps on this day, it would be most potent to extend that kind of love to yourself. Even when you’re having what can only be described as a soiled nappy of a day, take a moment to think of the one who dealt with yours.

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