Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to the SuperMoms

This Sunday, many moms in the U.S. will be celebrated with crepe paper flowers, homemade artwork, and breakfasts made with love and varying levels of quality control as tradition dictates. No matter how many kids you have or what your situation is, I wish you a Happy Mother's Day.

But I really want to give a shout out to the Supermoms who walk among us. Hats off to the....

Single Working Moms
...who are just as tired as everyone else, but never get to look forward to that break and relief of hearing another set of keys in the door. The buck starts and stops with you when a child is sick while you need to work at a job that may or may not be paying you what you are worth.

Moms of Kids With Special Needs...
...who do everything we do, but over and over and over. Sometimes while everyone stares because they judge your child is too old for such behavior when they should be in awe of your patience.

Moms Living in Poverty...
...whose lives are full of Either's and Or's. You made the tough choices this winter between heat for the house or food for the bellies. Or even when things were going a little better, making the slightly higher class choice...toothpaste or dishsoap?

Moms Who Have Lost a Child...
...who live with the shadows of possibilities that never will be. You have an empty seat at the table and love still in your heart.

Whatever your plans are this weekend, you should receive much more thanks from the world than you're going to get this Sunday. I hope that if our paths cross on Mother's Day, that I might notice you and give you some more of the respect and love that you deserve. But most of all, I wish I could tell you that you can be the most powerful among us. You have the stories - if you are ready to share them - that can change minds and change lives to make the world better for your kids or the kids that will come after them.

This seems like a strange Mother's Day message, but Mother's Day in the U.S. throughout the 19th Century was not about pancakes and flowers, but about more about peace movements from mother's who lost sons, temperance movements, and local efforts of women to help other mothers learn to properly care for children. It used to be about empowerment instead of recognition. Could it be a bit of both?

To the Supermoms: Life is asking more from you than of many, but don't let it defeat you. Be strong and speak out whenever you can. I wish I could tell you that you are powerful and have you believe it. Because it's absolutely true.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Picks for 2014

Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 11! Are you behind and scrambling to shop this week? Looking for something meaningful? Would you like your gift to show her what an enlightened human being you have grown into as you give her a gift that helps mothers or girls in poverty around the world?

Here are my four favorite picks this year for Mother's Day Gifts that help the world's most vulnerable women and children:

#1 Girl Up
Photo Credit: UN Foundation's Girl Up Campaign
Give the gift of light! A gift of just $38  on behalf of your mom will help Girl Up and the United Nations Refugee Agency provide a solar lantern to an adolescent girl living in a refugee camp in Ethiopia where often, there is no electricity. But with a solar lantern, a girl will be safer at night and will have enough light to be able to do her school work. To buy a lamp or other gifts to benefit girls in developing nations visit the Girl Up donation site by Tuesday, May 6 at 11:59PM ET and they will send your mom a special Mother's Day card to let her know about your gift.

#2 U.S. Fund for UNICEF 
Do you prefer that your mom actually receive a physical gift? No sweat. I get it. Visit the Shop UNICEF link has both useful and beautiful gifts appealing to many kinds of mothers. So many that I'm not even going to give you a picture! Unfortunately, the timing is such that she probably wouldn't get her lovely scarf or bag for a while, but you could accompany it with a related UNICEF book, "I Believe in ZERO" by Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. It's a brilliant account of a mother whose life mission is to save the lives of children of other mothers all around the world. Funny, touching, humanizing, inspiring. Amazon.com says in its review: "In I Believe in ZERO, Caryl Stern draws on her travels around the world, offering memorable stories that present powerful and sometimes counter-intuitive lessons about life. I Believe in ZERO reflects her - and UNICEF's - mission to reduce the number of preventable deaths of children under the age of five from 19,000 each day to zero."

Photo Credit: Fistula Foundation
#3 Fistula Foundation
If your mother gave birth to you (I know a lot of adopted folks, so I don't assume this is the case!), she probably knows a thing or two about childbirth. What she might not know is how heartbreaking such an experience can be for the poorest women in the world with no access to birth assistance. Mothers can die from the experience or suffer a fistula. If your squeamish, skip the next sentence, but I hope you don't because fistulas happen to 75% of women who endure labor of 3 days or more and causes women to become outcasts, greatly hampering their ability to provide care for their children. An obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and rectum or bladder that is caused by prolonged obstructed labor, leaving a woman incontinent of urine or feces or both for life unless cared for. A woman with a fistula is too often rejected by her husband and pushed out of her village because of her foul smell. Here are two gift ideas from the Fistula Foundation.
A Mother's Day Tribute Card: A donation of $10 or more will send your mother a card from the Fistula Foundation featuring the photo of a woman and her child, taken at the Edna Adan University Hospital in Somaliland, where Fistula Foundation has long provided support for obstetric fistula treatment.
Dignity Gift Set: $175 will purchase a beautiful necklace and earring set featuring cultured pearls, the universal symbol of health and purity. 
Photo Credit: Fistula Foundation
#4 A Kiva Micro-loan
You can empower you mother to make a micro-loan and help another mother or anyone of her choosing from the Kiva.org website. You can go get a Kiva card of any amount to print yourself to hand to her or email to her in time for Sunday. She'll get to visit the website, view many individuals all over the world who need help to start a business to help them out of poverty, pick her loan recipient, and get updates as they pay her back. Visit their page to see a video about how their loans work: http://www.kiva.org/about/how