As linguists they decode baby cries into” I’m bored”, “I’m hungry”, “ My nappy’s wet”, graduating through toddler talk to a working knowledge of teenage slang –for information only.
As diplomats they smilingly attend parent teacher interviews, negotiate the minefield of adolescent relationships and pray that God understands what it’s like to parent.
As mediators they walk a daily tightrope answering the needs and relationships involved in being seen as a mother or a partner, an employee, a friend and a sibling.
As peace-makers they are constantly called upon to listen to competing stories with justice, intuitively coupled with experience masquerading as eyes-in-the- back- of my- head and a dash of deep concern for the underdog.
As educators they hear the questions – weird, curly, repetitive, embarrassing and unanswerable though they may be – and do their best to answer them, all the time knowing that one day the child will overtake the parent.
As psychologists they know who needs a hug and when, the time to hold on and the time to let go and, most importantly, when it’s OK to forget the housework and fly kites in the park.
As taxi drivers they share a car with assorted young people, empty water bottles, take away wrappers and odd pieces of clothing, one eye on the road ahead and the other on the rear vision mirror in an effort to discern what is going on in the back seat.
As chefs they are somewhere between My Kitchen Rules and Master Chef, welcoming extras to the table, familiar with a dozen ways to disguise vegetables and how to make a birthday cake that looks almost like one in the Woman’s Weekly Cookbook.
As healers they soothe the cracks in broken hearts and dispense Mickey Mouse band aids, kisses and emergency visits to outpatients.
As bankers they dole out pocket money in accordance with age and responsibilities, develop a keen eye for bargains and never forget that the mortgage and power bills come before designer – anythings.
As mystics they know that God is always there, in the joy of a family moment, the anguish of an unwanted diagnosis, in bone-wearying tiredness, when money is tight and in the flash of love –from whoever and wherever.
There is more than one way to ‘mother’ – so to all ‘mothering’ women, never forget that you are God’s loving face for those you mother.