Defining Mom: In Praise of All Types of Mothers

Written by Angela Atkinson

There was a time in my life when I heard the word “mother” and associated it only with a woman who had given birth to and/or raised a child from birth.

But as I have grown, and since I have had my own children, I have come to understand motherhood in an entirely different way.

Now I know that giving birth to a child doesn’t automatically earn one the title of “mother,” nor does adopting a child.

All types of mothers deserve to be lifted up. But what makes one a “real” mother?

Mothers, as far as I’m concerned, have a few particular common qualities. They truly know the meaning of the word unconditional. True mothers unconditionally love, they unconditionally support. A true mother will always look at those she loves and see their best qualities, and she will never betray their trust.

Her loved ones can always count on her to pick them up when they fall and to celebrate with them when they succeed. She may offer constructive criticism, but she does not berate and destroy. A true mother always has the best interest of her loved ones at the forefront of her mind and of her actions.

Some mothers have biological children, others have adopted or step or foster children. Some are pet parents, others are loving aunts and grandmothers and godmothers and friends.

Some mothers take care of everyone around them, but have no children of their own. Others have their own children and “adopt” many more in their hearts. And, despite the fact that many people will adamantly disagree with me, I believe that some mothers are even men.

Some people only have one mother, but most often, people have many mothers throughout their lives. In addition to their biological and/or adopted mothers, some people are lucky enough to have mothers-in-law who treat them as their own. Other people find mothers in teachers, friends, neighbors, nannies.

There are all kinds of mothers, all around each of us. Today, celebrate all of the mothers in your life, not just the one you call “Mom.”

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