“Is Being a Mother the Most Defining Role a Woman Can Have?”

Look for Book Body Soul’s posts all about Mothers for the month of May.

“Is Being a Mother the Most Defining Role a Woman Can Have?”


Reposted from www.motheringinthemiddle.com

“For years I was on the outside looking in, watching friends juggling their time, wiping little noses and strapping small folk into car seats. I felt for them. sometimes, wondered if they felt they’d lost their sense of who they were – the marketing director, the linguistics expert, the party girl, the intrepid explorer, the physiotherapist. Some seemed to get low craving a previous existence, looking wistfully out over the tiny crockery piled high in the kitchen sink or chatting late at night about how they didn’t feel very “me” any more. Now, I’m part of the club, I’m one of them, only I feel that I’ve found the missing part of me, the piece that makes me truly ‘me.’

I’m a mother and I cherish, relish and grasp every moment. I want to shout it from the rooftops and leap for joy every time I hear the sound of little feet dashing down the corridor towards me. Every night time, “Mummy” warms my heart, whatever the time.  I am me: Ellie, writer, researcher, marketer, Springsteen fan and most importantly and above all else, MOTHER. And it’s the absolute heart of who I am.” – Ellie Stoneley


“Before becoming a mother, at age 39, I would have said “no.” I would have been wrong. As my ‘mama bear’ self immerges, the defining elements as to why I am where I am have come into vivid view. Passion and purpose are now braided together. Engagement in efforts to make a profound difference for my children now and in the future, is what drives me – not professional achievement or career status.” – Maureen Davis


“The most defining role a woman can have is that of being fully, unabashedly herself. Motherhood can facilitate that, but many other painful and important roles can, as well. I think there are very few women in modern society who own their true nature, their desires and their right to be who they are, prior to reaching middle age. I have often compared being a mother with being in a pressure cooker: it puts the lid on and turns up the heat on any “issues” we struggle with as women. The demands on our time and energy – and the deep love that gives those demands meaning and importance – force us either to become more whole and more wholly ourselves or to fragment into a shell of a being.

However, I think there are multiple experiences that can do this for us, but motherhood will do it faster and with terrible thoroughness.” Lora Freeman Williams


It depends what you mean as “mother.” I’ve met mothers who care more for themselves than their children.  And, I’ve met non-mothers, at least biologically, who are teachers or day care providers, and who take the children in their care to heart as if they were their own.  

For me, motherhood has definitely been a defining role in the heart space.  It is through the unconditional love that I have for my children, that I’ve been able to share more love with the world.” – Wendy Sue Noah


“It depends on each person’s values they place on motherhood. I think it is ONE of the MANY defining roles a woman can have! For me, it is a role I am proud of, and which I am daily trying to improve on! The results and the great benefits are the relationships I have with my children, and the people they are and become.” – Karen Du Toit


“I would not say “the most defining role a woman can have” because I think that is up to the woman and parent.  However, for myself, I feel it is THE most important.” – Monique Faison Ross


“Being a mother is who I am now.  Prior to becoming a mother to the outside world, I was a photographer, a professional, a dog rescuer, a woman.  Now, today, people’s perceptions start by viewing me as a woman with children first, not a woman who is a “successful photographer,” etc.  I would expect no less and would want no more.” – DeAnna Scott


“Absolutely not. In fact, if “defining” equates at all to “most difficult,” then, I think being a partner/spouse tops the list (whatever your gender). Being a mother develops or highlights certain positive aspects of a woman — empathy, patience, self-sacrifice, humor, creativity — but all of these life skills can be fostered and are necessary in other relationships besides that of mother/child. In addition, motherhood can make being a woman quite difficult, especially for those of us who had many years of relative “freedom” before becoming parents.”-Joely Johnson Mork


“For most of us, our previous lives well-defined us – a life filled with ‘things’ – professional awards, a string of boyfriends (before marriage), a fancy car, nice clothes, travel. In my own case, when my own longing for a family (with a desire to nurture and a true willingness to give love) became the end goal, motherhood became my true focus and my passion.  Once achieved, it defined me – not only as someone now named ‘Mommy,’ but, also as someone who had attained the most fantastic golden achievement – designed solely for my heart and soul.  In the end, I felt like I’d won an award which would last a lifetime.

Although some women ‘fall into’ motherhood, for most women over 40, the ‘falling’ becomes, in the end, into ourselves.  And, it defines us, forever.” – Cyma Shapiro


 “I hesitate to say that “motherhood is the most defining role” is true for every woman. I think there are a lot of things that define the experience itself for each of us. Does a woman who gives birth after rape embrace motherhood the way someone who has longed for a child for years does?

It is very much my most defining role thus far. But, the farther along I get on this journey, the more I wonder if that will still be true when my girl is out on her own somewhere and I’m doing….something else. Motherhood was a part of me before I was a mother. I don’t know how to express it exactly, but I always felt it was what I would be good at. I wish I’d had three more kids but it wasn’t in the cards.

But maybe when this chapter ends, and I’m through with the part where parenting is my all-consuming existence, I’ll be redefined. Then, that new definition will be the most profound (one) for me.” – Michelle Fitzpatrick


The role for a woman is one she defines for herself. It varies for each woman, and it could even vary by the moment. Past experiences as a child, student, worker, and friend shapes us as the person we will be and want to be. This is what I tell my daughters. They have the will to be whatever they want; however, whatever role is chosen comes with sacrifice.

For me, I would have to say I do define my life as being a mother; one with many working components. It is a role that is my fortunate choice and proudest achievement. This role did come with sacrifice since I choose to not take a fast track to a career. As my life has evolved, I have been lucky to carry with me many different roles that represent me as the sum of all my parts and that allow me my choices.

What I bring to my personal label of being a mother are etchings from the past, a current illustration of the present, and an idea for the unfolding future for the woman I choose to be.” – Lori Pelikan Strobel

This was published in Mothering in the Middle
  • Katie

    Some thought provoking sentiments about being a mother. I agree with many!

    May 3, 2014 at 7:30 pm

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