October 5, 2007
guinea pigs
I'm doing a little research, and I hope you'll participate. It's nothing scientific, much like the rhythm method or my current experiment with leaving a marshmallow Peep exposed to the elements. I may actually share pictures. Of the latter, of course.

If you would, indulge me, and answer the following:

What constitutes being a mother? What attributes, what actions? I’m talking across the lifespan here, from childhood to adulthood.

Unlike being able to clean a bathroom properly, you don’t have to be a woman for this task. And no, this doesn’t have anything to do with yesterday’s post. Many thanks, sweet party people.


34 Comments:

Blogger JacksGinger said...

One that nurtures, teaches, and/ or cares for a person in a way that creates a "special bond". I can't think of any other way to put it. Then again, I'm a theater person and we have a habit of appointing random nurturers (or the straight-edge person of the group) as "Mom". Theater Mom may even be younger than everybody else, but dispenses wisdom greater than her age, and tells us to stop throwing things from the light booth.

Blogger EclecticBlue said...

Well, if you're my mom, it alternates between that support/nurturing thing, and being a passive-aggressive martyr. We're not getting along right now, so she's more in the martyrdom category these days.

Blogger punky said...

From a legal standpoint?

- when a baby comes flying out your vajayjay

- when a baby gets plucked out of your abdomen.

- when you adopt or are appointed guardian to a child.


ok. now those are your basic "momma qualifiers".

but as many of us know, those things may make you a mother in the eyes of the law, but being a mother isn't actually dictated by the law, no more than being a "husband" is guaranteed by the presence of a marriage license.

to me, being a mother involves all of the following in various measure and in no particular order:

- nurturing
- loving
- caring
- encouraging
- protecting
- supporting
- disciplining
- teaching
- caressing
- embracing
- feeding
- tending
- repairing
- consoling
- scolding
- trusting
- letting go
- wanting their happiness more than your own
- wanting to set your little chickadee free with wings you helped strengthen
- loving someone without condition

so on and so forth.

Blogger Amaya said...

Plain and simple: setting an example.

Blogger Lola Goetz said...

interesting question, kris.

i've thought of myself as a mom for a long time, with the step-kiddo, even though there were many people who thought i wasn't a mom yet. maybe i didn't have that blood bond from carrying her for nine months, but i still worried about her, tried to protect her, and wanted the best for her (still do).

that said, i do notice a difference now that i'm close to giving birth (6 weeks or so, chica!). i already feel protective of the Wee One, before i've even met him.

but just because i'm preparing to be a mom now doesn't mean i wasn't one before. it was just... different.

so what makes a mom? i really think it boils down to more than giving birth. it's about caring, sharing, nurturing, and wanting the best for someone besides yourself. someone who can't fend for themselves when they're smaller. it's a lot of things, jumbled up in my mind. it's complicated, for me at least.

becky (misspriss)

Wow. This is a tough one.

Technically I think all you have to do is make a baby or adopt a baby or raise a child as if it were your own.

It SHOULD be a lot more, but sadly, a lot of times it isn't.

Blogger Sturdy Girl said...

I would add:

Recognizing and encouraging all your children's good bits while teaching them to modify/work on/ accept the not so good bits.

Encourage strength and kindness, by example.

Resist solving all their problems for them. Instead take the time to teach them the fine art of problem solving.

Blogger HKW said...

To me, motherhood means sacrifice and always putting the needs of a child before their own. Mothers, jointly with a father, are responsible for the development of another living thing. Motherhood is instinctual yet unique in that each mother cares for their young differently.

I would say that the qualities required to be a good mom, not just a mom are: Sacrifice, being able to put anothers best interest before your own. Teacher, have the ability to teach another right from wrong and raise them with high moral standards while setting an example for them within yourself. Patience and willingness to accept imperfection. To me most importantly (aside from love of course) is raising children with the tools required to become an adult and function productively in society. I see way too many people these days who use driving (for one example) as a form of punishment with their children. Driving is an essential life skill and using it as a punishment or reward IMO turns driving into a game (possibly a deadly one) therefore kids don't take it seriously. Maybe that's not the best example but I've seen SO many kids who either don't move out of mom and dads or DO move out of mom and dads and can't balance a checkbook, manage their money, have a good work ethic instilled in them, know how to cook for themselves(nutricious food.) It's a shame, so I guess in my opinion to be a good parent and an effective parent you have to have the ability to get that child ready for independence and life without you.

I think being a mother is achieved when a mother gives birth. But that doesn't make you a good mother. I think that has more to do with finding the perfect balance of protecting your child and teaching them the skills they need to survive and thrive in the world.

Blogger ETK said...

I'm dying to know what this is about! Do tell.

Blogger bandick said...

Someone who's on a mission to rid the world of wire hangers...?

Blogger BOSSY said...

A mother? Maybe: a Soft Place To Land?

Blogger Mamma said...

Yeah! What they said.

Blogger kristen said...

Ok, so "mother" makes me cringe for so many reasons (none of which are because of my mother--she's great). So I tend to think about this stuff as "maternal." What makes one maternal? The ability to nurture, love, sacrifice. But it is also about being strong and independent. If you are a maternal thinker/being, you are probably a peace-maker, a giver, a lover. But you aren't a doormat. you are also strong enough to stand up for yourself and have a lot of self-love as well.

For me, mothering isn't about birthing or breast-feeding. It is an approach to life. A way of living and treating people.

I wish everyone was more maternal (but I don't wish everyone would have kids. there are enough kids in the world!).

Blogger The Middle Child said...

You should try microwaving that Peep for about 45 seconds.
It's wicked cool.

Blogger Sizzle said...

a mother is someone who nurtures, unconditionally loves, supports, disciplines, cares for, shares wisdom with a child.

you don't have to give birth to be a mother.

Blogger Mia said...

Well, all I can tell you is that biology has nothing to do with it. I have a biological mother who lives 15 minutes away and we have absolutely NO relationship. never had and never will. she gave birth but has never been a "mom". But then again, I have a "sort of" adopted son who lives in Chile, and even though I don't hear from him often, that boy is my heart...

It's more about what you do with the opportunities that are given you.

I REALLY shouldn't drink and post comments. Just sayin.

My two cents.

Blogger PinkPiddyPaws said...

hmmmmmm...... well... I can't speak on the "mom" thing because A.)I'm not one and B.) Mine's a bitch...so that kind of makes my views a little skewed....

HOWEVER.... I CAN speak on what happens when you give Peeps a little too much wine and let them have a party.

May I present to you.."Peeps Gone Wild" the expose... I warn you... it's not pretty..... those Peeps...they can be vicious! ;)

http://pinkpiddypaws.com/2007/04/08/my-peeps-my-peeps-my-lovely-lady-peeps/

Blogger WildbillthePirate said...

I'd Much rather see pics of the Rythum method,(I've seen Peeps & they don't impress me) but doing that much figuring in this day & age rather than use the Myriad products available with much higher success rates, well that's interesting!
I think the secret of Parenting is the willingness of Anyone to put themselves second to the childs' interests. The rest comes naturally as kids absorb everything and will, with Patience, Understanding & Training become the People they Are.
-Can you tell I don't have kids?

Blogger JordanBaker said...
Blogger Chantel said...

I would tend to agree with Jordanbaker on this one. I wasn't meant to be a mother but I am the proud owner of two teenagers. I think my kids did more for me than I did for them.

Cooking isn't required but care and feeding are.
The ability to give and receive unconditional love.
The ability to lie and say something is beautiful or fantastic even when you know it isn't.
You must know why the sky is blue.
Consciousness.
Kindness above all things including anger and honesty.

A sense of humor is the most important thing.
Then, Balls.

:)

Well, Im not a mother but I have to say I just discovered your blog and find it quite amusing. Im linking you.

Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Oh dear lord, I wish I could set it down in a sentence. But biology isn't important. That much I do know.

Blogger Ulysses said...

Since you ask on the anniversary of the day I first met my mom, I'll remind you that there are as many ways of being a mom as there are mothers and children. My mom is diffent even from my brothers' mom or my sister's mom. If she became your mom too, again she would be different. The underlying quality is that of being attentive enough to know what your child needs of you, and caring enough to give it.

Blogger WSG said...

I'd go with just
1. giving birth to a child, or
2. accepting legal responsibility for the raising of a child.

Without the above, you might be a wonderful, influential adult in a child's life who has a deep spiritual and emotional connection to the child, but your title isn't mother.

Blogger Catherine said...

Willingly wipe the snot from your toddler's nose and then roll your sleeve up. Accept that in public that you'll have to say, "don't stick your finger in that," THAT can be anything.

So, really? putting someone's needs above your own (snot free face vs a snot free shirt) and doing the right thing even tho people will stare.

Biology doesn't make a mother. Having a baby to call your own doesn't make a mother.

It's like the supreme courts definition of pornography, you know it when you see it. Motherhood, you know it when you feel it.

And that mystic "bond" that mothers and their children have? Not necessarily instant, even if they are plucked from your abdomen.

Blogger Jorge said...

A mother?

The easy answer would be: care incarnate.

The honest answer would be: always unappreciated

Blogger sandra said...

I define "mother" as someone who guides, sacrifices and cares for a child -- and continues to do so throughout their lifetime.

Blogger rosebelfiore said...

What makes a great Mother is: Allowing your 14 year old daughter to live to see 15.

Blogger Della said...

A great mother is one who can provide the unconditional love/acceptance that allows her to teach what is right and wrong and having the strength to let them live and learn from their own decisions.

Sometimes I think my step-children love me more than my own bio kids!!!!

Blogger kristin said...

I presume the implied question was what makes a GOOD mother ? Because apparently just about anyone with a functioning vagina can become a parent these days, as we have seen on perezhilton !!

One of many things a good mother does is fiercely protect her child(ren) from harm and from all the bad things out in the world, while simultaneously providing them with the tools to go out and protect themselves someday, when she's no longer around.

She gives them tools. In addition to love, a good mother gives her chidren (figurative) tools to get them through life.

Blogger Melliferous Pants said...

I'm unsure what constitutes motherhood but I'm fairly certain that the desire to embarrass your offspring more than your parents embarrassed you is what drives people to breed.

Blogger Heather B. said...

Patience and a giant ass bottle of syrah. Oh and love, that helps too. But dude, a fermented beverage probably will take the edge off. Just saying.

(Psst. 10/17-10/20 I'm going to Patty Hearst your ass)

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