The nurturing gene

Copyright Runningonempty

It seems forever that I’ve been a mother. As a little girl, of course, I had dollies to tuck in to the doll’s pram or bassinette. (Along with hiding my hated tomato sandwiches under the toy mattresses.)

At High School a group of us started a “mothers and daughters” club. Older students (us) mentoring girls a few years younger. We even put out a hand-drawn magazine one year. I was a “mother” of course.

As a woman in my twenties I started fostering with my first husband. We had a boy, then a girl live with us, both teens. The girl came with social workers and the government as she was a ward of the state. Both have their own children now. Society would do well to celebrate the foster and adoptive mothers in our midst, providing an essential service.

Then I had my son, his father passed away. I remarried and had my girl that you know as Acerules.

Mothering is not an easy job. Becoming a mother, one has a better appreciation of one’s own mother and what she did for us. My mother and both grandmothers, plus my husband’s grandmothers are all deceased. I knew them all, some more than others. We never lived near my grandparents, so I was not babysat, taught crafts, cooking, gardening or jam (jelly) making, by them, as others remember. We would just visit.

My Mum, a nurse by profession, was an efficient kind of mother, and of course her nursing skills were very handy when we were sick. She did all the things a mother did in those days, as well as go out to work when I was in high school. She was not a lovey-dovey kind of mother though, and she spared the compliments. I had to learn a certain amount of self reliance, and self-comforting. She worked at home and outside the home at a million miles an hour and I decided I could never live up to that so I havn’t tried.

I did discover that I had the nurturing gene and also breastfed both my biological offspring. I was the type of mum that wouldn’t let kids out of the house without clothing appropriate for the weather, padding for skateboard riding, helmet for cycling. I was the one that kept piles of their drawings, paintings, and photos.

Do I recommend motherhood to all women? After my experiences over the years I would have to say no. Times have changed and conditions have got harder, and more expensive. It is a commitment full of sacrifices. As an investment of time and money there is no guarantee of any return, unlike most other jobs. In the olden days an elderly mother could rely that her children would be there for her in her old age, but that is often not the case in today’s world. When I worked in nursing homes there were many who never got a visit. I know women who’s children don’t call on Mother’s Day.

Public domain.

Then there are the mothers that have lost their children to death. Whenever we are miserable cleaning up vomit from the floor at 2 am etc, we need to remember those Mums whose kids died in car crashes, other accidents, to suicide, drug or alcohol overdose, illness, killed in the line of duty on work sites, in the military, police and fire officers. The Mums of young children killed in war by a stray bomb or bullet; that died of famine, those that disappeared under totalitarian regimes.

How devastating would it be to send off your child on the school bus, but they never returned that day, shot in the classroom.

So everyone needs to appreciate each other, every day, as no one knows what is around the corner.

Here is a tablescape that is nice on Mother’s Day for a takeaway (takeout) Asian meal, to give Mum a rest from cooking. Don’t forget to pop the tablecloth in the washing machine on gentle cycle for her afterward! The black cloth underneath is actually a doona (duvet) cover from a thrift shop. The china figurine is from my dolls that play musical instruments collection. The vase was secondhand from a thrift shop or Ebay.

The china bowls and spoons were from a thrift shop and the pink chrysanthemums (often just called “Mums” in Australia, ) were from Yarram Fresh flowers. The Happy Mother’s Day black plastic cupcake pick was sourced new on Ebay.

Happy Mother’s Day Mums!


  1. The table is so simple, so charming.

    Your reminder that mothers who lost their children are still mothers is profound. How to help someone who may be going through a hard day? Cards and flowers are obviously inappropriate. Just do something simple, perhaps, without even mentioning Mother’s Day, but being open to her talking about it if she wants to. A visit, a drive somewhere for tea, lunch at your house, even a phone call on any pretext that you can turn into a chat. Provide just a little bit of love, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right. I also forgot to mention the Mums of stillborn or miscarried children. They are Mums too.


  2. Cath, I enjoyed reading more of your story. Being a mom is hard work, but I have found i to be rewarding. I realize not everyone can say that. My heart hurts for all the moms who have suffered great losses. Your table is so pretty! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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