The Importance of a Mom and Mothering

May 13, 2024 | Blog

As Mother’s Day approaches many of us celebrate our moms in body or spirit.  Unfortunately, there are others who may not have known a mom or had a close relationship like many of us enjoy.  But read on, we can all be mothered if we just allow it.

A mom is a backbone in our lives, she gives us direction, love and hope. She is our emotional safe space and offers unconditional love and forgiveness.  She supports us and encourages us and is there to just listen…. how many times have we heard “you can do this”, when we questioned if we really could.  She teaches and guides us offering skills to become a functioning adult and serves as a role model, importing wisdom, morality, and empathy through her actions and decisions.  And at the core of motherhood moms nurture our growth and development, shaping our character and values that we in turn pass on.  Mothers help us to survive and thrive throughout our lives be it physically or in our memories.  Sadly, a mother can also be here physically and not be a true “mother”.

I’ve grown up with people who either never knew their mom, or had a mom that was not a part of their life either through death, substance abuse, or emotional instability.  As a result, some of these people had ongoing life problems.  They would have issues forming relationships and giving commitments. They would be prone to getting in trouble with drugs or alcohol or getting in with the wrong crowd and not knowing right from wrong or not being subject to accountable rules.  At young ages, needing direction, they often didn’t have that direction and an immature undeveloped mind often was led astray. As they got into adulthood I would often notice social anxiety and mistrust. These effects underscore the importance of a mother’s presence in a child’s life, not only for emotional and social development but also for overall well-being.

All is often not lost.  Another adult can step in and fulfill the role of a mother in a person’s life as a mother figure.  A mother figure can provide the same nurturing, guidance, and emotional support that a biological mother would; utilizing the same traits as mentioned above.  They could be a grandmother, aunt, family friend, teacher or any other caring adult.  It is the rare person who can have no one in their life, yet thrive. It’s certainly not impossible as we know of orphans or people from broken homes who went onto greatness, but in today’s more complicated and stressful world, it’s the exception rather than the rule 

There is an answer for those who may not be as fortunate as many of us who indeed have or had a mother—a belief in God and Mother Mary.  Spirituality can be a source of comfort and strength for those either without a mom or mother figure, or grieving the loss of a mother. While it may not replace the physical mom, it can provide a sense of connection, purpose, and hope during a difficult time.  There is a sense of belonging and a supportive network in community, providing social and emotional support that a mother might otherwise give. Spirituality can provide sense of values and purpose.  In essence, spirituality cannot replace the unique bond with a mother, but it can provide tools and a community that help to fill the void left by her absence.  Love, support and accountability.

Lastly, we, as Catholics, all have a Mother.  Mother Mary. Mother of Jesus Christ, and through Him, believers are adopted into the family of God. A belief in Mary is a belief in a mother to all.  She is a spiritual guide and intercessor with her Son, and prayer to Mother Mary is a way to receive God’s mercy and grace.  She is a model of faith and obedience, inspiring us to live a life of devotion and trust in God in spite of what may have happened to us in the physical world.  People can have spiritual motherhood, with nurture, care and love as was enjoyed by Jesus Himself. She teaches us as any mother would, virtues such as humility, patience, and love which we as Catholics can strive to emulate.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all biological moms, mother figures and Mother Mary herself!

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