What does it mean to mother? It can mean the long, late nights with a newborn, or pumping on your break from work, or staying home with a sick kid, or answering every “why” question a toddler can dream up. But mothering doesn’t end there: The auntie who makes date nights possible is mothering; so is the best friend who’s there at a moment’s notice; so are the grandparents doing school pickups. Mothering is about the incredible, literally life-changing work that mothers do, but it’s bigger than that: It is about care.
This Mother’s Day, we wanted to hear from moms around the country what “To Mother” really means to them, in all its complexity—and we loved what we learned.
“‘To Mother’ means to learn new levels of infinite love. It is to part with who I was before and become someone new—my life is not for myself anymore. At times, I don't recognize myself in the mirror because the woman I was before giving birth seems so far away from me now. Change will be the only constant for a while, and embracing that is something I'm working on every single day.
To mother is to experience deep empathy for all parents, especially all moms who give birth because that's how I became Mom. There is a level of loneliness that came in postpartum (particularly during the late-night feeds), yet it makes me feel more connected to all parents who have been through these early stages. To mother has been the most nerve-wracking yet empowering experience of my life.” – Margaret Park, mom of a 7-month-old
“In my opinion, to mother is to put aside any mental or physical struggle to care for your baby in whatever way they need for that moment. I’m someone who struggles with anxiety and always has a running mental to-do list, and it can be hard to put it all aside to sit down and play with my toddler. And yet every single day, that is all she asks of me. She doesn't care about our dinner plans or what we have going on tomorrow, she just wants my attention for that moment. To mother is to let all that stuff go and give her that moment.” – Anna Miller, mom of a 2-year-old
“Mothering to me means entering a world that pre-mom me had no clue existed. A world where the love is endless, and the smiles and little laughter are what make my heart sing. It means delighting in watching him take in the world and explore, knowing I’m his safe space. It means embracing the responsibility to teach him kindness and to respect himself and others.” – Paige Walker, mom of a 9-month-old
“The term ‘To Mother’ encompasses quite a lot to me, but at its core, it is making sure I do everything I can to create a safe, loving, and supportive environment for my babies. It's my job to be their safe space for the highs, lows, and everything in between as they grow up (and beyond).” – Angela Johnson, mom of a 7-year-old and 9-month-old @ang_johns0n
“To mother means to serve and nurture and care for our children…it’s just how we are designed and created…to mother is just in us and is who we are.” – Tyra Hall, mom of a 6-month-old
“[To mother means] having a special type of connection and feeling of unconditional love <3.” –Lisa Gozlan, mom of a 3-week-old