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What Makes a Good Mom?

Updated on May 1, 2022
Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.


The answer may not be what you think.


I have one.

I am one

I have a daughter who is one.

Those facts should give me some credentials for commenting on the subject. Now, if only the relationship between mothers and their children wasn't so difficult to put into words.

I know people who feel the need to speak to their mothers every day. I also know people whose teeth are set on edge at the very sound of their mother's voice. And I know people who would place themselves in both of those categories with no reservation.

One of the best illustrations of mothering I've ever heard was given by a preacher. (That happens a lot.) He told the story of a mother eagle perched on the cliff of a ravine over a raging river that was rising moment by moment closer to the nest where her three baby eaglets were sleeping.

The mother eagle watched the flooding waters break over the rocks, throwing pillars of steaming white water high into the air. Then, unconcerned for her own safety, she began one by one to fly her babies across the treacherous current to the safety of the far side of the ravine.

As she clutched the first one in her beak, the eaglet said, "Oh Mother, this is the most wonderful thing you have ever done for me. I'll spend the rest of my life trying to repay you for this kindness." The mother eagle opened her beak and dropped the baby eaglet into the raging waters.

As the mother flew the second eaglet across the flood, this one said, "Oh Mother, this is a brave and wonderful thing you are doing for me. How can I ever repay you?" The mother eagle opened her beak and dropped the baby eaglet into the violent stream.

As the mother eagle carried the third eaglet over the torrent, the baby said, "Oh Mother, this is a tremendous thing you are doing for me. I only hope I can do the same for my children one day." And the mother eagle carried that eaglet to the safety of the far side of the river.

Some children can do no wrong in their mother's eyes. Some are the light of their mother's life. Some can never please their mothers or get over the guilt of not living the lives their mothers expected of them. And you can't always tell which folks fit into which category by just hearing them talk about their mothers or by seeing them in their company.

I fit in there somewhere. And if you asked me to tell you my definition of what a mother is supposed to be, I'd give you this example.

My mother never doubts that she can find me in a crowd. I don't care if it's fifty Girl Scouts getting off a bus, or a thousand capped and gowned graduates in a football stadium, or masses of people moving through an airport. My Mom is always certain she can pick out that one face she came to see

I love finding my Mother in a crowd before she finds me. I love to see her scan a sea of faces, squinting to focus, beginning to make a recognition then realizing it's someone else, and moving on with her relentless search.

The reason I love to see her do this is because not once, no matter what I've put her through in the past, or what dreams she had for me that I've let die, not once has she ever found my face in a crowd and looked like she was disappointed to see me.

That's mothering.


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