Thursday, November 11, 2010

what is a mother?

What is going on with motherhood these days? It seems like everyone is talking about it and writing about it. Even blogging about it...{which is great in my opinion}...myself included of course!

However, I feel in many ways the role of mother is under greater attack.

Everyone has an opinion about how it should be done.
{so of course I have to share mine now! ha!}

To me they are fighting and pushing for the right way to mother, to help them feel better about themselves and to get support for the way they think mothering should be done.

I see it as pushing for a certain type of 'mother program' and forgetting about the 'mother people' who are actually doing the mothering.

It makes me a little frustrated.
Alright, really frustrated as I feel there is NO PERFECT WAY TO BE A MOTHER!

 {insert less than perfect family and totally less than perfect mother.
everyone can dress up and look good.... it is what goes on inside
the walls of our home that tells the real story}

This type of thinking puts pressure on mothers {who I see are already trying hard to be everything, do everything and keep up with everything that motherhood brings), to try to live up to a certain unrealistic expectation and it makes them feel even more guilty than they already are.

I love this quote by M. Russell Ballard:

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be “full-time mums,” at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part-or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and...prioritises them..." 

We are all unique and have different children, situations and upbringings and opinions on what is best for us and our families/children. We should be celebrating this, sharing this in a loving way and helping each other to be the best mother we can be for ourselves and for our children we are blessed to care for.

I am not saying we cannot vent our frustrations, share our struggles or babble on about those days when we can't take it any more {I sure have had plenty of those!} and everything has to be all fairyland like - motherhood is not like that at all! It is hard work, demanding and exhausting.

I just get a little fired up about people adding pressure to mothers who are already doing such a great work ~ raising cherubs to be the happiest little people they can be.

I don't know about you...but, I am starting to feel better now!

Anyway, I am currently writing a talk to present this weekend at church.
Part of the title is: Am I the woman I think I am, the woman I want to be?
I know...........deep.

In pondering this question and looking at my life, I have done a lot of thinking about what takes up most of my time in my life ~ being a mother. It is my chosen career and this has led me to ask myself -

What really is a mother? and am I being the mother I want to be?

In exploring this question my first source of wisdom is always a dictionary.

Actually, Matt and I love them so much that when Chelsea (our oldest child) turned one we asked a grandparent to give her a large Macquarie dictionary as her birthday present to help her (and us) throughout her life. It has been great!

So this is what my research came up with:

a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.
a person who provides the care and affection normally associated with a female parent

female parent, matriarch; mom, mommy, ma, mama, mummy; old lady, old woman; 
source, origin, genesis, fountainhead, inspiration, stimulus; literary wellspring

look after, care for, take care of, nurse, protect, tend, raise, rear; pamper, coddle, cosset, 
fuss over, give birth to, have, bear, produce, birth
For me when I think about mothering, I think about nurturing.
To nurture is to care for and encourage the growth or development of someone or something.
In this case children.

It also can mean to cherish - to hope, to believe and desire to achieve something.

Mothers have a sacred role to nurture. It does not come to all of us naturally (myself included) and it takes time, practice and great patience to develop the basic skills to feel like we are making a difference.

But what a difference we can make, we can change lives and change hearts.
We can help ourselves and change our own hearts as we help raise our cherubs.

{most days I feel like my kids are raising me instead of me raising them!}

Generally though, I am happy with the way I am mothering. I know I am trying my best and trying to be fully committed to motherhood. To put my children on the top of my to-do list and to be there for them. I am really good at getting distracted and over scheduling myself though. Every so often {when I feel like I am going to collapse} I take stock and remember to cut back, to relax and to let go of all the extra activities and to plan some uninterrupted family time. For me and for them.

I still have a lot to learn and more qualities to develop which I have shared here.

Motherhood comes in many shapes and forms. I am not just talking about body shape here ladies! Relationships are complicated and plans don't always work out.

Here are a few of my thoughts for mothers ~ whatever role you are in:

To single mums ~ you are amazing. you are strong and courageous. you know much of loneliness and sorrow. you face great anxiety and worry over your role. you are doing a great work. an exhausting, demanding work. you are making great contributions toward your children. you are achieving the impossible. you have the strength within you to overcome every obstacle placed in your path. be patient. be confident. all you do is worth it. nurture yourself.

To step mums ~  you have the wonderful opportunity to share love. many of you have had this role thrust upon you and given children to love immediately. what wonderful hearts you have. keep them open and soft. be brave. be strong. listen to your children. get to know them. stand up for what you know to be right. foster healthy relationships. be kind. trust your instincts. you are a mother. you are a blessing. your heart will never be the same.

To maternal mothers ~ you have given birth and treasured your child from that moment. you have rejoiced over your children and sorrowed over them too. they have brought you happiness like no~one else could. you are influencing them in ways you cannot imagine. express love to your children. you are doing a tremendous work. they are your flesh. they are part of you. teach and train. you are appreciated. you know what is best for your family. fight for it. believe in yourself. nurture yourself. forgive yourself. you are powerful. you are successful. release yourself from guilt. have fun. be happy.

To those who do not have children (and want children) ~ your desire and heart are pure. you know much of weariness and struggle. you are acquainted with sorrow and grief. you face many difficult decisions. you are important. you are courageous. you are not alone. you have a mother heart. you are of great worth. be gentle to yourself. be kind to yourself. find worthy purposes in life. serve and uplift others. you are needed. you are loved.

please do not take offense to this quote but I love it for many reasons:

“You need not possess children to love them. 
Loving is not synonymous with possessing, and possessing is not necessarily loving. 
The world is filled with people to be loved, guided, taught, lifted, and inspired.”    
                                       Ardeth G. Kapp

To all the mother hearts - you are just wonderful and I draw so much inspiration from you to help me be better and to keep going. I love reading about how you are mothering and caring. It touches my heart and nurtures me.

Final say ~ a mother: nurtures.


  1. Honestly Naomi, this is THE most beautifully written piece I have ever read on a blog.

    I was literally sobbing when I read the section relating to my mothering role.

    You are an inspiration and you are a wonderful 'real' mother [I love the photo, especially Liberty and the quote that goes with it].

    This is a post that I will be printing off and reading regularly.

    A big ,big hug to you dear one, and thank you.

    Felicity x

  2. thanks felicity ~ it has been sitting inside me for a while and just had to get it out! thanks for your kind words, I was hoping it would come across the right way for people :)

  3. While I was reading this, my laptop shut down. Timely, as I was being called on by my wee one anyway ;)

    I really appreciate your honesty and openness. This post is certainly no exception. Your faith and encouragement of others seems to know no bounds and that is the true mark of a very decent human being (mother or otherwise).

    It can grow. If we focus on positives such as in this post, that faith can grow - regardless of any denomination or situation. I have to believe that.

  4. lovely post Naomi. Your words are so truly and warm. Are we linking up to you this week?

  5. Beautifully worded. You help me stay on track, you really do. x

  6. This is beautiful Naomi! I cried in too in the section that related to my mothering role! Thank you. I'm so glad I came across your blog. xo

  7. thanks for the lovely comments - sorry to be making you cry! I have to say I was feeling a little emotional about it myself.

  8. Thank you for another beautiful post! I'm trying to write a short story about Motherhood for a contest I want to enter and have been stuck on certain items, you have been an answer to my prayers!

  9. Naomi,

    When you write, you can feel your warmth and sincerity.

    I love that you are wanting to uplift other mothers. Our role is indeed under attack. I shall be linking to you in my post today as you have reminded ME about nurturing not just raising/guiding :)

    Thank you for being you and for making time to share your world, I love getting a peek into it!

    Stace x

  10. I am touched I was able to help you Becky and Sunny Mummy you are awesome and I appreciate your kind words :)

  11. beautifully written. I agree that mums often think their way is the right way but everyone is so different and their children are different.

    Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in everyday routines, breaking up fights and cleaning and forget about the sweet little things that are going on and make each day a great day for our children!

    love that family pic!

  12. Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

  13. This is beautiful, Naomi! Thank you!

    I am a young single (almost) adult, and I am quite anxious to begin that next part of my life - the part where I give up selfish desires and dedicate my heart and soul to my own family. Thank you for this inspiring "talk". It saddens me to see how less and less valued mothers, as well as children, are being valued in this world. The Lord needs strong, virtuous, nurturing women who will raise up children unto Him, who will change with world, who will build Zion. Thank you for being such a lovely example of a mother who knows.

    Which talk was that, by Elder Ballard? Was it recent?

    Thank you, again, for commenting on my blog, and for being my newest follower! *smile*

    Felicity @ Simple Elegance

  14. Post of the week, Naomi. Just sensational. Thanks for such insightful and thoughtful writing. You are a generous soul. J x

  15. Okay, I have to follow your blog. This is such a beautiful post. You molded the definition wonderfully!

    Thank you so much for posting it.

  16. Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

  17. Being a mother has been a process towards the better me. Things I never knew I could or would do, I did, when I was given the role, with extra challenges attached. Thanks for this very encouraging post!

  18. found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  19. Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article


I am a real person with feelings. Please remember that before you leave a message below. I don't expect you to agree with me but I do expect you to use your manners. Thanks for dropping by!