(At least historically speaking) I'd say one reason is that more people grow up knowing their mothers. While mothers do abandon kids, creating single fathers, it seems to happen far less often than children being abandoned by fathers, creating single mothers.
Also many fathers who do stay with their families work crazy hours to support them while the wife is primary car giver. She may also work outside the home too of course but is likely to spend more time with her kids anyway.
Fathers also tend to die younger than mothers do. We often get to appreciate mothers as people after we become adults ourselves more often than our dads.
Now of course gender-roles are changing so dads might get a little more appreciation and respect as times change.
A mother has a bond with her child because that child grew inside of her for 9 months.
It's as Lolita mentioned, the respect of the bond mother and child experience during the incubation period of the child is the key.
In fact throughout nature you tend to see the mother with the cubs while the father is off in some corner. Some husbands view having a children as a demotion for themselves in their own household.
Having said that in many cultures a female's virginity is valued much higher than a male's virginity. The female body has been worshiped and admired throughout the history of mankind.
This of course has lead to many "double standards".
It's especially true in matters of their sexual behavior and parenting.
A mother going through a divorce who elects to have the children stay with (their father) is often frowned upon by many in society.
On the other hand a man who steps up to the plate to feed, dress, and read to his children is practically given a medal of honor!
Because the standards for women are so much higher and restrictive for women than they are for men in Islam. Mohammed said Hell would mostly be women, since they are held to high sexual purity standards that men don't have to bother with (they get sex slaves, too), and can't get into heaven unless their husbands approve of them or they die virgins.
So the few women who meet all the standards of "good" have to meet much higher standards than the men and are theoretically revered.
But that doesn't prevent them from being told wear a veil or have acid thrown in your face, or get killed because they were raped, hurting the family honor.
It is natural attachment between mother and child. She carries the child in her womb for nine months, supplying nutrients to the body in spite of her pains. The child also becomes accustomed to her touch and voice. The first person he sees is the mother. Even after birth, he/she spends most of his/her time with mother only and all his needs are attended to by the mother only for many months. This brings them more closer and emotionally attached. She feels much pain whenever the child cries or experiences difficulties than father. That is why reverence is highest for mother than father, or rather I would say it should be like that only.
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