Last month I asked several mothers I admire what they thought the important qualities of a mother were. The lists I got back were wonderful, and overlapped in a lot of ways. I grouped the qualities they gave me in four categories.
- Knowledge that we are all children of God
- Listen to and follow the Spirit
- Humility – accepting that you’ll make mistakes and being willing to change; accepting that you and life are less than perfect
- Patience (mentioned by almost everyone)
- Strong testimony of Jesus Christ
Love – This was expressed in several different ways.
- Caring – doing anything you can to meet your family’s needs
- Love – unconditional for each child
- Self-sacrifice – willingness to put your family’s needs before your own
- Strive for their success
- Proper discipline
- Provide a proper environment
- Temple marriage & husband
Interestingly, not a single person specifically listed children as a necessity for motherhood. The qualities these mothers listed are qualities all of us can strive to develop, no matter where we find ourselves in life.
About two weeks ago I got another, unsolicited, list of motherly qualities. This list paralleled the previous list I had already compiled, and again, does not mention giving birth or having children.
- know how to seek and obey revelation, and if you’ve got that, you can be the best mom.
- know how to prioritize, balance and multitask.
- know how to cook, clean, and live a healthy life-style.
- have the education to enrich your natural mothering talents.
- understand patience and waiting on God’s will.
- a heart that cherishes new life.
- never take for granted the blessing that a child is.
- a fantastic husband with as much parenting talent and desire as you.
“Eve was given the identity of “the mother of all living”—years, decades, perhaps centuries before she ever bore a child. It would appear that her motherhood preceded her maternity, just as surely as the perfection of the Garden preceded the struggles of mortality. I believe mother is one of those very carefully chosen words, one of those rich words—with meaning after meaning after meaning. We must not, at all costs, let that word divide us. I believe with all my heart that it is first and foremost a statement about our nature, not a head count of our children.”
– Patricia Holland, One Thing Needful: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ
Happy Mother’s Day to all who possess and are developing motherly qualities.