Gladys Hunt: In Praise of Mothers

Mothering Day

Originally published on the Tumblon website, May 10, 2009

The British call it “Mothering Day”—the day they honor mothers. Adding that ing gives action to the noun. Our American Mother’s Day focuses more on being a mother, on the person, rather than the doing. But no matter. Mothers in their being are often also doing.

Psychologists have had a heyday tracing adult oddities to early childhood training and blaming mothers for all irregular behavior. While it is true that we all leave our mark on those closest to us to some extent, we ought to have some doubts about the perceptions of people who too easily say, “Honestly, if you knew my mother…..” or “My mother-in-law is so….” When you are grown-up you need to deal with your realities and get on with life, not hide in the blame game. Maybe, just maybe, we all need a bit more self-understanding and love.

Having a caring Mother is an incredible gift! No one ever outgrows their need for their Mother. On this Mother’s Day many “will rise up and call them blessed.” I, for one, am enormously thankful that the choices my Mother made have made life easier and better for me. Her unconditional love gives me a million memories and more of what love is all about.

I am ever so glad that I AM also a Mother! A woman has many roles in life, but being a mother is a special privilege. A new forty year old mother who had put off bearing children to pursue a career said rather wistfully to me, as we admired her beautiful child, “Now I think this may be the most important thing I have ever done!” I wanted to shout YES!–and I was speaking from the viewpoint of having seen a child grow up to successfully pursue his own way as an adult. What could be more important than to bring into the world a new little person, enjoying all the pleasures and even the sorrows of seeing that person become his own self.

Mothers furnish the interior of many buildings, but the most important interior is inside the child. What do we want? Not control of a life, but a life that has an uncommon commitment to beauty and truth and goodness –and an uncommon awareness of what it means to be “made in the image of God,” and awareness of others.

Good mothering really means helping a child come to the place where he doesn’t need you so much anymore. That’s why mothers must be growing their own inner life at the same time as they are raising children—so that they can set the child free.

© Gladys M. Hunt 2008-10, reissued in 2022 with minor adjustments with permission of the Executor of the Literary Estate of Gladys M. Hunt (4194 Hilton SE, Lowell, MI 49331). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Also at Redeemed Reader:

Review: One heroic mother is the star of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

Reflection: See Betsy’s application of “Mother Culture” to her family’s reading life.

Reflection: Emily’s thoughts on becoming a mother: “She Has Done a Beautiful Thing.”
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