I'm passionate about philosophy, but after having my girls I'm even more passionate about Mommy Matters

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What is a Mother?

     Happy Mother's Day to all women reading this post. I have been thinking about how this is my first Mother's Day as an "official" mother, but really there are many ways to define what a mother is and I could have been a mother without physically giving birth to Squeaker. The video on this page is a beautiful example of the types of service that mothers provide. However, I want to emphasize that there is not a single set of virtues that define what a mother is, especially a good mother. When I was a little child I remember calling my maternal grandmother "mom" and thought that I had more than one mom because she took care of me as much as my biological mother took care of me. All women are different and all mothers are different, this does not mean that one is better than the other or one is more of a mother than another. A woman who adopts her children, or fosters children, or never has children of her own is still a mother to the children, and even adults, she cares for a mentors. I said "even adults" because I think that everyone needs a mother. Those who are old and have mothered many other people within their lifetimes still need to be taken care of and loved, "mentored" or "guided" through the pains of growing older. 
      Elder Jeffrey R. Holland  has a beautiful talk about motherhood and talked about Victor Hugo and something he wrote about a mother: "She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to her children, who ate with eagerness. 'She hath kept none for herself,' grumbled the sergeant. 'Because she is not hungry,' said a soldier. 'No,' said the sergeant, 'because she is a mother.'" There is a sense of divine service and a great work that mothers do when this dialogue us considered closely. I believe that any woman can sacrifice for another and be a good mother.
     I do not mean to belittle the process of pregnancy and child birth or the trials of rearing children, but I simply want to emphasize that the world is filled with angels ready to help accomplish Heavenly Father's will and all of those women should be celebrated today, for the wonderful mothers to this world that they are. 
      I wonder, when a mother is not a "good" mother towards one, does that make her a bad mother altogether? For example, is the step mother in Cinderella a bad mother or is she just a bad mother to Cinderella? Maybe she is a bad mother because she still isn't setting a good example for her biological daughters. Maybe this is a silly thing to be focusing on, but I just wonder sometimes about how I can be a good mother or what really defines a good mother.
     I never fully embraced the power I have always had to be a good mother to the people around me and be one of these angels to others, until I had Squeaker. Only recently have I come to understand the power I hold to become a good mother to everyone around me. As I strive to set that example for my biological daughter then that is possibly the best way I can exercise my motherhood towards her as well. Thank you to all of the amazing women in my life who have helped me to become who I am today.
      I really want to know your opinions on motherhood though. Are there specific virtues that all mothers have?
     In Jeffrey R. Holland's talk he says: "Remember that families are the highest priority of all... Mothers, we acknowledge and esteem your faith in every footstep. Please know that it is worth it then, now, and forever... Yours is the work of salvation, and therefore you will be magnified, compensated, made more than you are and better than you have ever been as you try to make honest effort, however feeble you may sometimes feel that to be... You are doing God’s work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you and He will bless you, even—no, especially—when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master’s garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and sometimes weep over their responsibility as mothers, 'Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole (Matt 9:22).'"

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