(This was supposed to be a Mother's Day post. Guess I'm neither parental nor punctual, snort.)
Rather, I'm an unMother if you will, although I certainly have done my share of mothering (as in "look after kindly and protectively") over the years and in classic role reversal am trying to help both my parents (who themselves were actually not that particularly brilliant at mothering or fathering) in the final chapters of their lives.
But it seems to me that both mothering AND fathering should be defined as looking after kindly and protectively (in other words, nurturing), and that this quality (shared by all sentient beings who try to look after their young) gets no respect. Consider how almost everything in our lives is regulated or licensed to some degree (whether you want to drive a car, own a business, or apply for a passport to name just a few examples), except when it comes to nurturing living beings. Wanna have a baby? Go right ahead. There's no course to follow, no exam to take, no one to judge whether you'll be a fit parent, and virtually no follow-up unless you're really beating the crap out of your kid and someone reports you. Wanna "own" a kitty, puppy or bunny? Again, go right ahead. You can do as you like and treat your "property" as you see fit. No wonder that as a society we're not too overly concerned about the maternal bonds/relationships between other sentient beings and their offspring given that we're pretty damn lackadaisical about our own.
So maybe we need to get our nurturing acts and asses together and treat all living beings with as much respect (or more) than we currently give to our cell phones, ipods, Kindles and laptops (again, just to name a few examples.) If nurturing (whether provided by mothers, fathers or any caregiver regardless of species) were taken seriously, then perhaps we would make more headway. Or am I off base here?