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A Mother by Any Other Name

Happy Mother’s Day!  Those are wonderful words for a mother to hear.   A mother loves her children unconditionally and plays a pivotal role in shaping who they become.  Yet a mother does not do this alone: most children are blessed with a host of people who love them and act in a mother-like role with them.  There may be a teacher or two who took a personal interest in them.  There may be a Scouting leader that they bonded with, or the mother of a close friend.  And, for many children, they have the blessing of a loving, nurturing nanny.

A nanny is a mom-away-from-mom.  When mom cannot be available, a nanny is there for the children.  A nanny loves unconditionally.  She kisses ouchies; encourages intellectual, emotional, and social development; and provides an experientially safe space for the children.  She does all the things that the mother would do if the mother were available.  Thus, she too plays a pivotal role in shaping who the children become.

As Mother’s Day approaches, many families will ensure that a small token of appreciation is given to their nannies to recognize their mother-like role in the household.  When children become old enough to make or purchase greeting cards and small gifts for Mother’s Day, many will (with help from their parents) provide their nanny with a card and small token of appreciation.  Many nannies report that hand-made cards and gifts from children are among the greatest treasures they’ve ever received.

Tangible items (cards and gifts) notwithstanding, Mother’s Day is about expressing appreciation for mothers.  Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, and job titles (some go by “Mom” while others may go by, for example, “Nanny”). For all the people who have loved us in a mother-like role, for all the people who have loved our children in a mother-like role, today is the day to let them know how much they are loved in return.  So, for all the nannies who have loved the children in their care and helped shape and direct their lives, happy Mother’s Day!

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