Celebrating Mother's Day, Every Day
A UNICEF advocate reflects on the power of a mother's love, and how UNICEF works to support moms around the world — not just on Mother's Day, but all year long.
The first time I looked into my son’s eyes, hope stared right back at me. While his tiny fingers wrapped around mine, I took him in, thinking about all our tomorrows together. First steps, the first day of school, tooth fairy nights, graduations, Mother's Days.
As I looked on the wall at the framed Mother’s Day gifts this past Sunday, gone are the days of small handprints made into flower pots and hearts, my stepdaughter’s drawings, lost teeth and hand-holding. Now, the tomorrows I think about are more of what we as mothers can do together to change the world.
“Me and the mother in America, we are the same. She’s a human being. I am a human being.” This powerful statement spoken by Florence Nettey, a mother and grandmother from Ghana, in the UNICEF documentary, "If You Have," is what inspired me to write this essay — to celebrate the bonds of motherhood that stretch beyond our borders.
If we as their mothers don’t stand with them, who will?
In times when it is difficult to see joy, mothers persevere to do what is best for their children. I see this everyday as a supporter of UNICEF’s work. I am moved by hero mothers in Ukraine, Ghana, Ethiopia and Venezuela, and all the UNICEF workers around the world who will not stop until every child is healthy, educated, protected and respected.
The dreams of a child in Ukraine or Afghanistan are no different than the dreams of children who play freely on playgrounds and in schools across the United States. They want to be doctors, teachers, scientists. They want to be healthy and go to school with their friends. They want peace. As we celebrate mothers this month, we also need to each personally recommit to pursuing a healthy and peaceful world for all children.
They want to be doctors, teachers, scientists. They want to be healthy and go to school with their friends. They want peace.
In my advocacy work with UNICEF, I have had the opportunity to stand alongside youth volunteers as they meet with U.S. congressional members and staff, speaking up for their hopes for a better tomorrow. We are raising one of the most consequential and possibly greatest generations of our time. They are strong and stubborn, boldly standing up and making their voices heard on education, health, and climate change. If we as their mothers don’t stand with them, who will?
I want to leave you with a quote from a mother and co-founder of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Helenka Pantaleoni. In 1960, she wrote, “Children everywhere — the haves and the have-nots — share the most common denominator of humanity. All mankind’s hopes are based on the future; all human achievements are aimed at tomorrow. And tomorrow is for the child.”
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Top photo: Vitaliya, a mother from Odesa, Ukraine, holds her 4-year-old daughter Margo as they wait in line to cross the border into Slovakia in March 2022. © UNICEF/UN0609797