When you need to crowdsource mothering

In the days leading up to Mother’s Day, I’ve noticed some people had written lovely tributes to their moms, while others state that they will be staying away from reading such things because their own memories are different or painful.

Today, Mother’s Day 2015, I would like to take a moment to thank those women who taught me important things about being a woman, who let me sit in their kitchens, stay with them, and talk their ears off while they offered me the unconditional love and acceptance I so desperately craved. These women modeled patience, good humor, wisdom, perspective, grooming tips, and confidence– and I am eternally grateful to them for showing me grace, beauty and kindness.

  • My aunt Rockie: I’ve stayed up way too late talking to her for as long as I can remember. She is still my go-to grownup for advice, perspective, and sharing a good laugh at ourselves.
  • My aunt Ruth: She taught me how to put on lipstick, how to have fun shopping, and how to survive during tough times. I started wearing an anklet (and still do) because she did and it was the coolest thing ever. She also modeled social consciousness and how even if you were home raising kids, you could still try to change the world.
  • ┬áBarbara Rice: She didn’t have kids of her own, but knew how to make a couple of little girls feel special and pampered. She also took my early sewing mistakes and fixed them with a positive attitude, as though everyone ignored the nap in the fabric and cut it out the wrong way. She made the best sandwiches and Shirley Temples–my first “cocktail.”
  • Mrs. Overbeck: I spent hours in her kitchen, listening to her musical laugh and basking in the love she so generously shared when I was a tormented teenager. A beautiful woman who always knew just the right thing to say.
  • Mrs. Greenberg: She was an elegant example of womanhood, who taught me that it was perfectly fine to dim the lights and put ice cream on slices of your lopsided cake before serving. She modeled grace and efficiency, shared her best beauty tips,and winked at me.
  • Annie Blewitt: Once a student of my dad’s and our occasional babysitter, I wanted to grow up to be her–glamorous, funny, and spirited. She and her husband gave me a lemon-yellow peignoir set for my Bat Mitzvah. That kind of says it all.
  • Mrs. Brown: She was my teacher for three years in elementary school. She was strict, but fair, and let me get away with blurting out things in class without raising my hand. She liked my writing.
  • Mrs. Lindstrom: My best friend’s mother who grew lavender roses and made me feel like an honored guest in her house. I’ve loved lavender roses ever since.



Thanks to those women everywhere who take the time to offer love, support, laughs, and grooming tips to the awkward and struggling ducklings in their lives who need to be tucked under a mother’s wing.


6 Responses to When you need to crowdsource mothering

  1. Kim Tackett says:

    I’ve been thinking about this today as well…about all of the women who have helped mother me, and also my daughters. Coaches, teachers, neighbors, aunties, friends…thanks for putting it into words.

  2. holly says:

    It really takes a village – there is no way I could parent on my own.

    • Risa Nye says:

      True–I’m sure there are many women who don’t even know what an important part they play in our lives and the lives of our kids.

  3. Mindy Trotta says:

    Such a beautiful tribute that proves you do’t have to be someone’s biological mother to shower them with motherly love. Bless all the women in our lives who helped mold us into who we are today.

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