Sidewalk Talk

On mothering, nature, and being on the same team | Jill Doneen Clifton

January 18, 2021

Being a mother is one of the hardest and most sacred callings women will ever experience. It’s an undertaking made all the more difficult by the mixed-messages and unhelpful advice parents the world over seem to be inundated with in today’s culture of “mommy wars,” parenting blogs, and the pressure to raise Instagrammable kids. 

Scientist-turned-writer Jill Doneen Clifton wants to take guilt and comparison out of the mothering equation. On this episode of The Sidewalk Talk podcast, Jill and Traci sit down to talk about Jill’s book, Landscape of Mothers and how motherhood and nature are so intricately connected. Throughout their conversation, the two also debunk the myth of good and bad mothers, talk about painful mothering experiences, and discuss being a mother to everyone—whether you’re a mother in the biological sense or not. Jill concludes the interview with an expression of her deep gratitude for you, the Sidewalk Talk volunteers, and all you do to spread love and hope in the world. 


Episode Milestones

[00:07] Intro 

[00:58] Meet Jill 

[03:40] Landscape of Mothers 

[05:58] The relationship between nature and mothering 

[13:40] Different wisdoms in parenting and the idea of good and bad mothers  

[19:06] Painful mothering experiences and how to get on the same team 

[28:33] Hopes for mothers reading Landscape of Mothers 

[32:00] Being a mother to anyone and everyone 

[38:12] Jill’s deep gratitude for you 

[42:10] Outro 


Resources Mentioned

Standout Quotes from the Episode

“That’s where Landscape of Mothers came from—this sense of needing a map, wanting a way to move and a way to explore the things I just didn’t know, and yet have it be cohesive and coherent and feel like I was actually going somewhere even though I was kind of in the unknown.”
—Jill Doneen Clifton 

“For the most part, I don’t really believe in the concept of a good mother or a bad mother.”
—Jill Doneen Clifton 

Landscape of Mothers is really an invitation to bring it back to ourselves and to do it our own way. It’s about finding out where we’re at and what we’re capable of and what we want.”
—Jill Doneen Clifton 

“We perceive parenting a child as someone’s individual responsibility, and I think there’s a deep wound in there.”
—Jill Doneen Clifton 

“For me, mothering isn’t what women do with children. It’s how all of us care for, nourish, and nurture each other.”
—Jill Doneen Clifton 



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