Celebrating Mothers: Icons of the Caregiver Archetype

 In Caregiver


A re-post from 2016 — Happy Mother’s Day!

Meet Vickie Agresta. Mother of 10 children, including my business partner, Theresa Agresta, and me. And the grandmother of 26!

It’s hard to imagine the energy she put into mothering (or where she got it). Think about it this way:

  • She was pregnant for 7.5 years.
  • She actively raised children from age 20 (when the oldest was born) to age 62 (when the youngest left the nest).
  • That’s got to be thousands of sleepless nights from teething, to nightmares, to fevers, to college essays and teens being out with the car.
  • She also ran a preschool out of our home to take care of other people’s children.
  • She’s celebrated 30 graduations, 36 baptisms, ten weddings as Mother of the Bride and numerous births.

mom-issabelThroughout it all she’s always been there to hug, wipe a tear, laugh, encourage, guide, quiz you for a test, or lay down the law and get you back in line.

When my youngest brothers and sisters were in high school, my mother decided to go back to college – earning first a Bachelor’s and then a Master’s in Counseling. To fund the endeavor, she drove a school bus and after graduating she worked in a school and then a hospital. In her 60’s, Vickie opened “Roots and Wings” – where she counseled children and families for almost 10 years.

I’m happy to tell you that in December 2015, she retired. Of course she’s got plans for a book titled “How My 10 Children Raised Me” which includes 10 chapters and a lesson she learned mothering each of us. Her theory is that certain parts of your personality are developed as you parent. If you want an advanced copy, add your name to the list!

group-on-stairsMy mother is amazing – and a perfect representation of the Caregiver Archetype. In celebration of mothers everywhere, here are few things I learned about this mother of all Archetypes from my own mother.

Structure Builds Esteem

The Caregiver Archetype provides a nurturing environment where you can learn and grow. From job charts, to shower schedules and assigned seating at the table, my mother was the queen of structure, helping each of us understand our place in the family and in the world.

Consistent Boundaries are Necessary for Growth

We had lots of rules in our house – and our mother was there to enforce them. Don’t bother showing up for breakfast until you were dressed, your bed was made, and your room was clean. Try to pull one over on Vickie and she’d gather anything on the floor in your room and it would be waiting on the front steps when you got home from school. The dinner bell meant get to the table … now. And curfews were strictly monitored.

cyn-and-mom-issabel2Patience Please

Once I became a mom, I called home all the time for advice. Here’s one of my favorite Vickie-isms: “It’s all just a phase.” But some phases last for years she warned.

A Family First Mindset

Family Days. Family Nights. Family Dialogues. We spent a lot of time together as a family. People often ask me: How is it that all 10 children still get along? My mother made taking care of each other mandatory. It’s been one of the biggest blessings in my life.

On Mother’s Day, we celebrate all mothers as they truly embody the compassion, generosity, and self-sacrifice of the Caregiver Archetype. I happen to think that no one does that better than my mom.

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