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On Being a Mother

Updated on July 13, 2016

It is an understatement to say that one of the most complex human relationships is that between a mother and child. Of course, the child is utterly dependent at birth and for many years thereafter. But almost immediately after entering this world, the infant will soon figure out that emotions - both his or her own, and of its caregivers - will complicate things to a great degree. Add in other potential factors such as adoptive parents, step parents, and re-marriages along the way, and what do you have with respect to a mother-child relationship?

We have all experienced what it is to have a mother (to some degree) because we were born. Maybe we grew up without such a parent at all. Perhaps we were raised by surrogates, such as aunts, grandmothers, sisters, or friends. Maybe we had a rougher time, going through the foster care system. Certainly, we all harbor some emotions toward the woman that carried us in her womb for 8 or 9 months, though. For it was that person that played a part in giving us life. Without her, we would not be here.

Once you become a mother, that role never ends. It doesn't stop when your child reaches age 18, or graduates college. No - its a life-long position. In fact, even if you don't chose to have children of your own, many women still care for and nuture their own mothers, or their siblings' children. Its human nature!

Baby loves sweet mommy kisses!
Baby loves sweet mommy kisses!
Aren't grandmas the best?
Aren't grandmas the best?
I see a resemblance!  So cute!
I see a resemblance! So cute! | Source

Loving Your Mother

Moms work very hard at raising their children. And, while they know in their hearts how much they love their kids, sometimes they aren't programmed to naturally give lots of hugs and kisses. These mothers still desperately love their girls and boys. They show it by volunteering, and carpooling and sewing Halloween costumes instead. Dads, grandmas and grandpas may step in to shower affection in some cases.

Yet these moms don't lock away their emotions for good. They can show their soft side when you're not looking... when you're growing up, on graduation day, when you get engaged, and especially when you tell them they're going to be a grandma for the first time.

Other moms are the so-called "perfect" mothers. They walk their children to school every day, hug and kiss them good night, and never seem to ever raise their voice. All looks great on the surface, but maybe a deeper emotional connection could be forged.

Perhaps your mother is the overbearing type, never leaving you a minute to breathe, or act on your own. Does she not trust you at all? Yes, she does. Why does she have to be so critical? She just loves you so much, it breaks her heart. She wants to let go, yet cannot.

Fast forward 20 or 30 years yourself and try to think of where you would be with respect to your own children. Maybe its too much of a leap at this point. But after so much time and investment, it really can be hard to truly let go.

Do you love your mother? She loves you. If you have a peaceful relationship, that should be obvious. But even if yours has had its ups and downs, at the base of it, your mom does love you. If you are ready to sit down, or write her a letter, do so. You may just be able to change the course of your relationship for the better. If nothing else, a card to simply say, "I love you" will brighten her day and let her know that she is appreciated for all that she has done.

Quality mother-son time at a baseball game
Quality mother-son time at a baseball game | Source
Family portraits have a long tradition
Family portraits have a long tradition
Talk about having her hands full!
Talk about having her hands full! | Source

Considering Yourself or Your Spouse as a Mother

If you are pregnant, or if you have young children, raise your hand if you have a list of things in your mind (or maybe even a physical list) that your parents did that you will NEVER do with your own kids. OK, you can probably take at least half of that list and discard it right now. Abusive issues aside, a lot of what we experienced as children, we will likely pass on to our children. This includes mealtime routines, chores, general household expectations, etc. However, if your own mother gave too many kisses and made you uncomfortable, you can blaze a new trail. On the other hand, if you felt unloved, you can make sure that you tell your kids as often as possible that you love them. In short - start something new!

Each new month and year brings new challenges. Whether you are a mom of one, or many! Some will swear that parenting a singleton is difficult because he or she has no built-in playmates. On the other hand, sibling rivalry comes into play with multiple children. Add in the layers of step-children, adoptive children, and that woman really has her hands full! Best laid plans may go out the window, when you find yourself bribing whiny kids with candy just to get through the grocery store check-out line!

Among the many things that you will have to manage include: doctors appointments, keeping your kids in clothes and shoes (they outgrow them fast!), school/instruction, socialization, religious instruction (if you desire), extra-curricular activities (if you desire), and grocery shopping. These are primarily physical needs. Your children will need plenty of time to sit with you, talk to you, explain their drawings to you, imagine their futures with you, talk about stars with you, and cry about hurt feelings with you. Sometimes it is convenient to stop what you are doing and have a conversation with your child; other times, you will have to take it upon yourself to notice that your child needs your attention and make time - whether you have it or not!

The experts all say it - the years pass by in a flash. Before you know it, your children are grown and off to college, or living on their own. Then you have a new set of worries. A decade or so later, grandchildren. Whew. Did you know that was going to happen so quickly?

Mom Statistics

  • 82.5 million women in the United States are mothers (U.S. Census figures)
  • August is the most popular month for having babies in America, and Tuesday is the most popular day of the week (U.S. Census figures)
  • The average number of children that American women will have is about 2 in most states, except Alaska and Utah, where the average is 3 (U.S. Census figures)
  • The average age of women in the United States when they have their first child is 25.1 years old (U.S. Census figures)
  • 4 million new moms each year in the States! (U.S. Census figures)
  • Want twins? Odds are 1-32. Triplets? Odds increase to 1-542!
  • In 2002, 55% of women with infant children worked outside of the home, a reduction from 59% in 1998 (U.S. Census figures)
  • The first observance of Mother's Day was in 1908 at a church service, to honor the deceased mother of Anna Jarvis; in 1914, Congress passed legislation establishing the second Sunday of May as Mother's Day

Sisters with Mom
Sisters with Mom | Source
3 of 4 generations together!
3 of 4 generations together! | Source
Great-Grandma with her grandkids
Great-Grandma with her grandkids | Source

When you Have to Mother your Mom

In the circle of life, your parents age, and you may find yourself in the unenviable position of having to be their caregiver. Once, the person that fed and changed you, will now be in the same position of needing such care. It is heartbreaking to watch, particularly if your mom is aware of her declining capabilities.

Your proud mother may be reluctant to leave her home and move into an assisted living facility. Many elderly people see that as one step towards death. However, if they continue to stay in their homes, it is more of a danger to themselves! You may have to have long, patient discussions to explain the situation and how you care for her - as difficult as it will be to have to move her out. If your mother is widowed, that will also be difficult because you may have to help her manage funds, pay bills, etc. She could need assistance getting to doctor's appointments and running other errands.

Most importantly, your mom will need your emotional support during her last years. Spending time with you is likely the most important thing to her at this point. Bring the grandchildren and great-grandkids around. Call her often. Tell her you love her. After all, you now know what it is to be a true mother.

To all the mothers in my life - I love you!

Touching Quotes


A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother. ~Author Unknown

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~Honoré de Balzac

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his. ~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty

My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. ~Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987


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    • louiseelcross profile image

      Louise Elcross 2 years ago from UK

      I have recently published my harrowing experience of my alcoholic mother, father, partnes and daughter. Living with alcoholism in the family by louise Elcross on For reasons i do not understand there is a link in my book which is partly my personal journals to this page. Can you explain please how and why? Also i enjoyed reading this.

    • profile image

      grace108 7 years ago

      i really enjoyed reading this. thank you!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Aww.. mamahops! What a nice comment. Yes, it is amazing how being a mother changes your perspective. Whether you're mothering a child, a pet or an aging parent. So much to learn, each and every day. Best to you, Steph

    • profile image

      mamahops 8 years ago

      Wow, what a wonderful hub! I enjoyed reading it. I found myself shaking my head in agreement with a lot of the points you've brought up - finding yourself doing the things you swore you would never do that mom did, caring for the aging parent (I've seen my mom go through this), and the mother that shows her affection in other ways, outside of the physical piece. Thank you for putting this together and sharing it with the world. Mothers are treasures! And it looks like you are a treasure yourself.

    • mamarina profile image

      mamarina 8 years ago from Chicago Illinois

      Great hub for Mother's Day! I enjoyed reading it :)

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Cailin - Happy Mother's Day to you and your family this year!

    • Cailin Gallagher profile image

      Cailin Gallagher 8 years ago from New England

      Beautiful hub that I revisit for Mother's Day! Thank you!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Journey* thank you and I wish you all the best. Much love to all the mothers out there.


    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 8 years ago from USA

      This is lovely Steph, thanks for sharing.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you Melody! Happy Mother's Day to you and your friends/ family. Thanks for becoming a fan. Truly, Stephanie

    • Melody Lagrimas profile image

      Melody Lagrimas 8 years ago from Philippines

      I love this hub...will be sharing this to my mother friends. advanced happy Mother's Day.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Patty56, I cannot complain as I have only 4 to your 6! ;-)

    • patty56 profile image

      patty56 9 years ago

      Wowie! Talk about busy! I love the 'mom' in have great 'heart' in your writing....thank you for checking out my hub....hopefully more to come!


    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Bluebird, I completely agree! It must be so difficult to go through empty nest, and with one more to go a year from now! My "baby" is twins, so when they're ready to go one day, that will be doubly hard! (but I'll have their older brothers to practice with first!) Blessings to you and your family! Steph

    • bluebird profile image

      bluebird 9 years ago

      Thank you for this special hub. Very good! My favorite quote because this is how I feel, is this one:, Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

      We've experienced the "empty nest" syndrome and blues because of it twice so far and still have one child left at home who will be graduating 2009. I don't ever want to let go, but I've done it twice and survived so that gives me hope. But it might be harder with my baby, the last one left at home. Yes, I believe it will. I dread it, but also believe I'll get "special" help like before!

      Thanks for creating this special hub. May God bless all mothers! They seem to be the heart of the family! Wouldn't you agree?

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Ruthie, Boy, it sounds like you have been through a lot lately! I agree with your sentiment, though, that motherhood is a great joy and heartache at the same time. Blessings on you and your family, and I truly hope that you have a wonderful Mother's Day! Steph

    • profile image

      Ruthie17 9 years ago

      Wonderful Hub! I will admit I got a little misty eyed reading it.

      I'm a mother and grandmother. I've watched my mother succumb to cancer in just a short amount of time and my mother-in law slowly wither away from being tired of living. I've buried my son and watched my daughter get married and later give birth to my grandson.

      Being a Mother is one of the greatest joys and heartaches a woman can ever experience.

      HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the mothers out there!

    • dsasser profile image

      dsasser 9 years ago from US

      agreed with Michelle

    • Michelle Bowman profile image

      Michelle Bowman 9 years ago

      I loved this hub! So many things you wrote are true! I enjoyed reading it.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Oh, I am glad that I have touched your soul in such a manner. I was on the verge of tears several times writing this Hub, and now am again! All the best to you, your family and especially your mother, PenmanZee.

    • PenmanZee profile image

      PenmanZee 9 years ago

      Beautiful, beautiful hub, Steph. I walked right with you as you related each aspect of motherhood. The last time I cried was when I set eyes on my mother two years ago. I knew I loved her and missed her but didn't know it was that much. Now I want to cry again.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you Blogger Mom - and to answer your question - NO!! :-) My youngest son showers me with kisses when I drop him off at preschool, then blows me kisses as I leave. Its the dearest thing ever. Oh. I must remember these years forever! Happy Mothers Day to you too!!

    • Blogger Mom profile image

      Blogger Mom 9 years ago from Northeast, US

      Beautifully written! And, is there such a thing as "too many kisses" (can you guess what type of mom I am?) Thanks for sharing this and Happy Mothers Day to you!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you figure8 and Peter! I am watching both my parents deal with my grandmothers right now and it is very sad. I have a close relationship with my mom, but it is not always easy. :-) Of course, being a mom myself, I can now understand some of the difficulties in mothering, and we're all unique with our own styles. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Peter M. Lopez profile image

      Peter M. Lopez 9 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

      Whoa! This was a powerful hub, steph. I think it was so moving because we relate so well. I have a wonderful relationship with my mother and my wife spent about a year mothering her mother after she took ill. I think we sometimes take our mothers for granted, and I'm glad this hub reminded me not to. Thanks.

    • figur8 profile image

      figur8 9 years ago

      Great hub! It is amazing but I feel I have changed so much as a person when I became a mother. For one, I finally understood my own mother better!

      Happy Mother's Day!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 9 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi In the Doghouse - I cannot agree more! I wrote this (a bit early) as my special 100th hub. Happy Mother's Day to you too. All the best, Steph

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California

      Hi Steph,

      Great tribute to Mothers. My mother used to tell me that I would never know what it was like to be a mother until I was one myself, and she was right. It is an indescribable blessing and joy to be a mother. I await the blessing to come of someday being a grandmother also. Happy Mother's Day to you. (just a bit early)