Pope John Paul II reminded us that a husband and wife become more than that by creating children. Their children also become more by their mother’s efforts to nurture them, and teach them critical lessons, like faith, prayer, forgiveness, respect, love, and compassion.

While mothers and their sacred role are being erased and derided, we have created this Motherhood Resource Center to give you the science, sound thinking, and stories about the importance of motherhood for children and society.

Bethany's Story

"I need my mom!" Was not a thought I had planned to have while I was delivering my first child, so I hadn't invited her to attend the birth.

I was physically capable of birthing my child without my own birthing mother next to me. But in that moment I felt the strongest connection to all the women in my family line. I was finally connected to them in a new experience: that of becoming a mother. I briefly held the image of my paternal and maternal grandmothers, and other grandmothers who have passed on, in my mind's eye, as though they were standing there; right where I wanted my mother to be.

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Motherhood Is...

Motherhood is morning snuggles in your bed with children who finally went to bed on time thus, waking up before you did.

Motherhood is also singing loudly and terribly in the morning because you are running out of ideas to help your children get out of bed and get ready for school in a positive manner. Some mornings are just hard.

Motherhood is trying to do your business in the bathroom but your toddler needs help getting chicken poop off his foot at that moment. After going back out to play he interrupts you again with a treasure he found outside such as a freshly laid chicken egg.

Motherhood is trying to save every book in your house from the monstrous grip of little fingers that don’t yet know how to turn pages smoothly or just lift the flap up instead of off.

Motherhood is washing your son’s arm off after he sticks it in the exhaust pipe. Twice.

And letting your 1 year old have a drill with a battery (but no drill bit this time because you are nervous he might damage the wood, himself, etc…) so that you can finish your amazing garden box.

Motherhood doing laundry parties with your kids because otherwise it’s just too dull.

Motherhood is putting the blinds up over and over again because your kids pull them down.

Motherhood is letting your child play at Grandma’s instead of going on your long, boring errand. It would probably have been better to take your child on your long boring errand because he probably would have taken a nap in the car, which you won’t realize he desperately needed until a couple hours too late.

Motherhood is realizing who you should have given a spare house key to after you lock yourself out of the house.

Motherhood is mud pits and dark handprints all over your walls and windows. The best ones are when you can see hand lines and fingerprints really well

Motherhood is leaving all the books, toys and shoes on your front room floor because you just can’t take care of that right now.

Motherhood is getting interrupted from the work you were doing, the sentence you were saying or the question you were answering because there are a million things to do and people who need your attention and action.

Motherhood is trying to figure out what your child is upset about because having your child hold the book while you read it is not the same as having desperately needed snuggles on the couch with mom.

Motherhood is keeping your house from ending up a big pile of rubble.

Motherhood is having no idea what you do with emotions and then trying to teach other people what to do with their emotions, especially the big ones. And you have to regulate their actions and teach them how to self regulate their own actions when they have the big emotions so your house and other people’s property doesn’t break and people don’t get hurt.

Motherhood is patiently (or maybe you just lack the energy) working with your child to go say sorry to Grandma. Also to the friend across the street.

Motherhood is helping your children work against the bad habits they picked up somewhere else. And the ones they picked up at home.

Motherhood is either your house is going to be messy or your children are going to feel neglected or your projects aren’t going to be done, etc, etc… You just can’t do all of the things all by yourself.

Motherhood is saving your children’s lives over and over.

Motherhood is saying “I love you,” whether your children are being punks or not.

Motherhood is understanding that your children really aren’t being punks. They just have big emotions and things to figure out and if you’re helping them do that, then good job, Mamma!

Motherhood is loving that your son decided to live in a clean room and watching the transformation as he takes ownership and responsibility for this. It’s also following through on him actually cleaning that mess of a room he is blessed with.

Motherhood is teaching your children to work by having them do the jobs with you even though it takes a million more years this way.

Motherhood is stepping back and letting your child “sweep” the floor, buckle themselves, stir the food you are in a hurry to get on the table, and do all the other things they see you do and they learn to do themselves.

Motherhood is redistributing your time and schedule so you can have some time to be with your husband.

Motherhood is trying to do all the things and thanking your husband for getting all the things done.

Motherhood is finishing your sentence

Motherhood is calling a potty training consultant or a therapist or other specialist because it’s just not working and you need help.

Motherhood is rewashing the window because your child washed it with cleaner instead of water. Just use water when you can’t find Windex.

Motherhood is regulating the media that comes to your house and teaching your children little by little how to regulate their media so they can be moral, healthy, upstanding citizens of society.

Motherhood is having the hard discussions with your spouse and with your children.

Motherhood is having absolutely no idea what your child is saying. Sometimes you guess right and sometimes you learn their language and sometimes you have to recall your words and tell them that hitting actually isn’t a good thing to do.

Motherhood is sometimes breaking the rules you know or have set as well as trying to figure out what the rules actually are or should be.

later, when it is quiet enough for you to think of what you were trying to say. Maybe physically quiet enough, maybe mentally.

Motherhood is thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” after you did your chore the hard way.

Motherhood is trying to find something small to feed your sobbing child because dinner is almost ready but he needed to already eat dinner.

Motherhood is trying to ignore that your child is on the table with a box of cereal and hoping and praying that he doesn’t pour it out and make a mess, so you can finish what you are doing or get to a good pausing spot.

Motherhood is I have no idea.

Motherhood is taking your kids with you to meetings.

Motherhood is trying to ignore the awful stench emanating from the lower region of a person, while also trying to take care of it right away so he doesn’t get a rash. And so it doesn’t end up on something else.

Motherhood is being a broken record because you have phrases on repeat such as “sit down.” “Use your words.” “Use your words. Say, I want…” “Look with your eyes.” “Be soft.” “Okay, now before we go in, what are the rules?” “Spit that out. It’s not edible.” “Poops.” “What?... Then what?... What?...” “I don’t know, tell me.” “Come here.” etc… and not being able to think of the funny ones when you sit down to type them.

Motherhood is finding some way to record the funny and profound things your children say and do because you need to have a record of it somewhere.

Motherhood is being grateful for your home with a balcony but also wishing and waiting for the day when you have a backyard of your very own.

Motherhood is thanking your husband for getting you a house with a backyard. You have no idea how helpful this is to my everyday life.

Motherhood is telling your child you don’t know what you are doing that day 3 times in a row on the way home from school and finally telling him something you might do just to give an answer and give him something else to ask or say.

Motherhood is realizing your child is right when he says you have had too much screen time. Ya better fix that, Mom.

Motherhood is literally doing more things at a time than you are capable of.

Motherhood is babysitting for someone even if life is chaotic that day.

Motherhood is finding the kitchen garbage can in the living room. And the lid. And some cooking utensils. And some frozen food.

Motherhood is listening to the same song 47 times in a single day.

Motherhood is not listening to certain songs you used to or really want to listen to because you don’t want your children repeating some of the words.

Motherhood is watching your toddler walk around the house in adult shoes.

Motherhood is forgetting to do that school poster or project with your child. And not cutting out the butterflies for the kindergarteners but I think there is still time.

Motherhood is sticking up for your children and teaching them to stand up for themselves and to tell their friend’s parents if a kid throws rocks at you while you are at their house.

Motherhood is heartbreaks because sometimes people are rude or misunderstanding of your children.

Motherhood is grateful happiness because the lady or gentleman in the grocery store recognized your child for who they are and waved or said hello back.

Motherhood is re-learning everything. Even how to say goodbye to all the things. Goodbye weeds in the driveway. Goodbye, fence. Goodbye, bird…

Motherhood is not getting ready for the day in the morning because that requires getting up earlier. And your sisters being impressed or rejoicing with you when you are ready for the day before 10 o’clock that morning!

Motherhood is listening to your child read sight words over and over.

Motherhood is you still need your own mother even though you are an adult and have kids of your own.

Motherhood is putting the cupcakes back in the freezer because that is not dinner… But it’s also opening the peas because that’s the snack your child wants at that moment.

Motherhood is your children sharing blueberries while you are in the bathroom and hoping and praying that they don’t get their clothes or your white walls stained. And asking your husband to check on them and wash their hands because he just walked in the house.

Motherhood is listening to that story that goes on and on and on and on and on and on… and having to listen and listen and listen and listen because your child doesn’t leave out any details. And sometimes you have to cut it off.

Motherhood is realizing you should have acted quickly to help your child in that moment, even if it would have caused friction with another adult. Or another child.

Motherhood is praying for your children in general and specific ways. Praying for help in raising them and understanding in how to accomplish fixing or avoiding certain problems. Praying for forgiveness because you did wrong. Praying for your child to be kind and loving to others. Praying everything. And listening for and to the answers so you can best move forward.

Motherhood is having a million plans but only doing 10 thousand.

Motherhood is interpreting your child to other people.

Motherhood is also trying to help the neighbor kids. And looking out for the other children in your life.

Motherhood is turning around and driving home from school when you were 25 feet away because your child doesn’t have shoes. You thought they were in the car but that was yesterday. Today they are on the back porch.

Motherhood is having different ideas from your child and figuring out together how to style their room.

Motherhood is not letting your dissapointed young child read a borrowed book called “Pompeii” without Mom or Dad because it has x rated pictures in it. But how do you explain the reason why to such a young child who is just interested because it was a volcano?

Motherhood is no potty breaks. But at some point you still have to drink water and eat food. And sometimes you just have to be hungry for a bit.

Motherhood is tears. All the different kinds of tears. Even if you don’t cry them out your eyes.

It’s also all the feels.

Motherhood is not knowing the answers to questions and needing to ask somebody else something like, “Why do construction workers put black ‘tape’ on buildings?”

Motherhood is loving the sound of little quick slapping feet moving across your floor.

Motherhood is watching your children copy each other in happy living and laughing

Motherhood is cleaning up after other people.

Motherhood is that wonderful feeling when your child, no matter how old, gives you a hug or tells you you are beautiful or that he loves you. It’s that wonderful, satisfying feeling when you see your child, no matter how old, helping another person.

Motherhood is lots of no’s. It’s also lots of yes’s.

Motherhood is finally having a quiet moment when all your kids are in bed and the house is quiet. And sometimes the dishes wait until tomorrow.

Motherhood is an oxymoron, full of messes, full of frustration, full of peace and full of joy. It’s completely full of opposites. And even though some moments feel like the absolute worst, motherhood is the best.

And of course there are the other weeks.


- Jeannine Marie Withers


Mom Teaching me Follow-Through

A tribute to:

My mother, Ellen Marie Whatcott (nee Shillington).

She taught me to follow through with what I said I would do.

On one occasion, as a youth, I agreed to take care of dogs owned by my manager, Gary Hainsworth, while they were on vacation. One particular evening, I was not in the mood to be true to my word. My mother reminded me that I agreed to take care of the dogs, and that I should go take care of them.I did.

Also - and most important - the day came when I asked Cheryl to marry me. As time passed, I got cold feet, and wanted to break the engagement.My mother said to me: You asked her to marry you, now keep your word, and marry her. I did, and am so grateful for it.

After making choices, our minds deceived us, and make us think that our original, carefully thought out decisions, were wrong, and that it is okay to choose a new path.My mother has taught me to remain true to my original decisions, and find happiness. I have found this to be true.

- Dirk Whatcott


A Mother's Love

My mom, Lois Hodges, has such a positive attitude. She loves bringing people together in unity and love. One way she's always done that is with her in-law children. She came up with a different word for them: "in-love"s. Son-in-love, instead of son-in-law.

Today she was telling me about Jesus on the Cross entrusting the Disciple John with the care of His mother. "When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold, your son!' Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home."

My mom explained that she wanted to tell my husband, David, that if Jesus can do that with those who aren't blood, then she can claim that she is David's mother and he is her son, too.

I am crying as I write this because my husband David lost his mother when he was ten years old. My mother has not only accepted my husband David, but loved him in innumerable ways --which is one way she has poured out her love to me.

I am so very blessed to have the mom I have. Happy Mother's Day mom.

- Edith Van Sandt (nee Hodges).

Busy being a Mom

Mom was busy.

Not too busy, mind you, to cook us dinner every night. Not too busy to help us with homework or dry our tears. Not too busy to help when I tried to climb a barbed wire fence and didn't quite make it over or when I crashed my bike (twice) or literally ran into a parked car. And not even too busy to teach us to cook and clean and get along with our siblings.



No, the thing that Mom was too busy to do was jump on the trampoline.


I guess that's the reason why the memory of her out there with us sticks out so vividly in my mind. The day was sunny, bright, and warm: the perfect day for trampolining. We'd finally convinced her to leave her work and come play, and play she did. She jumped higher than the rest of us. Her laughter and smiles were bright enough to match ours. The wind blew her short hair and her clothes rolled and rippled.

In the end she went inside (amid our pleas for her to stay outside longer) to make dinner.

Mom was busy. She was busy being a mom.


 - Chalice Maddox



Failed Cookies and Mom's Love


On a Saturday when I was a kid, my mom had all of us children cleaning in our unfinished basement. The basement collected all sorts of things so this was a monumental task destined to last for the whole day! After a while, I snuck away and decided that, as a surprise, I would make cookies for everyone while they were cleaning. So I began. I got out a bowl and a spoon. And then... how do you make cookies? I took a long pause as I thought. Definitely flour. Sugar. Oh, probably an egg. After some experimentation, and certainly no use of measuring cups, I heard someone coming upstairs. They would find me! Panicked, I looked about for a place to hide the bowl. On the floor next to the fridge! (Although almost any other spot on the floor would have hidden it better) and I dashed upstairs to hide. In a few minutes my older sister found me and showing me the bowl she asked, "Do you know what this is?" I had to confess I knew nothing of how to make cookies and my plan to surprise and delight everyone was a complete failure. She took it down to my mom and explained for me. I felt miserable. I had done a dumb thing and now I would get in trouble.

There were many times in my childhood when I got in trouble. There were times when I was angry with my mom and when I felt like she was being unjust. As a mom myself now I often reflect on how I was raised and disciplined. I look at how other parents respond to their children's behavior and how their children respond to them in turn. I read about child development. But even with all this, there are plenty of times I find myself angry with my kids and not knowing what to do with them! Surely my mother felt this way many times.
But as I remember being a child, it didn't ever occur to me that she was imperfect until I grew up. I just assumed she knew exactly what she was doing at all times, and I wanted to be just like her. Isn't that what it's like to be a grown-up, you finally know everything? As a teenager, I sat at the same counter listening to my mother tell me about her faults and how she was trying so hard to be like her sister. Inwardly it made me laugh, because they seemed like such little things to me compared to all her good qualities. But the most poignant thing about these expression of weakness was how hard she kept trying to be better. So with my own children I keep trying and learning.
One of the greatest things I've learned about child development is that parents don't have to be perfect, they just have to keep trying and their children will work to perfect what they see. A child looks at their parents with the most forgiving eyes. They naturally love and adore their parents. This creates an intense desire to copy and even do better.
When I got in trouble I was usually spanked and put in time out. But my mom would always talk to me after and teach me about how what I did that was wrong. She was gentle in talking to me, and I knew she loved me. But that didn't mean I liked it. So when I went back down stairs with my sister and my failed cookie dough I wasn't looking forward to talking to my mom.
My wonderful mother questioned me about it. She learned my intent. She asked me what I had put in and how I had measured it. And then she went to the pantry and got out her cookbooks. She and my older sisters began looking through for a recipe they could use to transform my mess into actual cookies. They reasoned that the closest thing would be to turn it into a triple batch of Mrs. Field's Cookies. When it was finished I remember my mom and older sisters saying it wasn't very good, but I thought it was fantastic! I remember sitting on the steps in our garage with my cousins and the two sisters closest to me in age, eating that cookie dough and taking about it.
I didn't get in trouble that day, but she taught me lessons that remain with me stronger than any spanking or timeout I ever got. I learned more that day than just the importance of using a recipe when cooking. I learned that mistakes can be fixed. I learned to be patient and kind and understanding because little children are often trying to do something good. I learned that even imperfection can be delicious with the right attitude. But most importantly, I knew that she loved me more than she cared about whether I made a mess or tried to get out of doing chores.

- AnnaLisa Davis

More Stories on Motherhood

The Incredible Importance of Mom Harry Harlow’s study on monkeys and motherhood

On Attachment theory by John Bowlby

The Case for Mom and Dad by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D.

Children Need a Mother and Father by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D.

The Social Benefits of Marriage by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D.

  Love and Economics the 20th anniversary of Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse’s book on the importance of motherhood

The Rich and Famous Depriving Children of Mothers by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, on the unfairness of surrogacy

The Ruth Institute Stands with Children Why we do what we do!

Be a Happier Parent or Laugh Trying Betsy Kerekes’ humorous book on parenthood

A Mother’s Impact Is Greater Than We Think by Kay C. James

How Mary Helped Me Become a Better Mother by Christina Antus