Do mothers matter?

It may sound crazy, but explaining why mothers matter is apparently necessary
Premieres Caresses by William Adolphe Bougereau

Premieres Caresses by William Adolphe Bougereau

The following comes from a May 8 Federalist article by Rachel Lu:

Contrary to what your first-grade teacher may have told you, there are such things as stupid questions. “Do moms matter?” is one of them. It’s the sort of ridiculous query that actually should leave us spluttering for an adequate response.
Stupid questions aren’t always easy to answer. Sometimes the most fundamental things are hardest to explain, precisely because they are fundamental. Reasonable people do not dismiss the deep intuition that yes, mothers constitute a unique and vitally important part of a child’s moral universe.

In a way, maternity is best appreciated through the small (but innumerable) services that mothers supply every day without fanfare. At the same time, a mother’s contribution transcends any particular ideas we might have about the talents or temperament of particular mothers.

Dr. Rachel Lu, a Catholic convert, teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Dr. Rachel Lu, a Catholic convert, teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Crisis Mag)

Some women struggle with this if they are not by nature emotionally demonstrative, or if their interests and talents don’t run in a particularly domestic vein. I had a slightly rocky transition to motherhood, because my actual personality and interests didn’t quite match my internal picture of what a mother should be. I had a strange idea that pregnancy and birth would transform me into the sort of person who preferred baby-swaddling to philosophy, and who found it positively delightful to devote my afternoons to dusting and organizing curios.

That didn’t happen. But, over time, I realized two things. First, good parenting begins with a willingness to do the things your children really need. This needn’t always fit harmoniously with your own preferences and interests. Second, the natural bonds between mothers and children run far deeper than we can immediately appreciate.
Of course, the day-to-day of mothering involves plenty of unglamorous work, and it’s absolutely possible to let your kids down through mistreatment or neglect. Nevertheless, the most unique contribution of a mother is, in some sense, just to be. To be a totally-unquestioned source of love and support. To be the “north” of the child’s developing moral compass. To be the anchor that makes him feel he has a natural place in this swirling, shifting, ever-changing world.

All of us realize at some early point that we’re not really up to the job. That, once again, is irrelevant. It’s the sort of role you fill because it is yours, not because you ever claimed to be qualified.

In our world, there are plenty of people who have no objection at all to creating a market for motherless children, all for the sake of fulfilling adult interests. The beauty of motherhood is no longer (alas!) securely cliché. This Mother’s Day, therefore, we should take a moment to reflect seriously on the thoroughly stupid question of why mothers matter. It’s a case we actually need to make.


  1. Moms? Dads?

  2. Librarian says:

    Most women can manage to crank out a child, biology does what it knows to do. The sappy semi-holiday known as Mother’s Day has become an overly sentimental praising of women doing what nature intended of them.

    If it takes a special day to remember to honor your mother then you obviously don’t and the second Sunday in May is just an aberration for you.

    These days, with IVF and surrogacy, children have become must have accessories, and their selfish mommies want everyone to know they are to be praised for their reproductive success.

    Yes mothers matter, duh. But aren’t we over the must have flattery?

    • Just ask any young girl what she wants to be when she grows up. Not one will answer, I want to be a wife and mother. If that isn’t an indicator of whether mothers matter or not, I don’t know what does. It seems like the general consensus is that jobs come first and it doesn’t matter if it’s Happy Clappy Daycare or a neighbor down the street that hears a baby’s first word or teaches them to take their first step. I don’t know anyone with a designer baby, however. Do you 🙂

      • Linda Maria says:

        Oh yes, Dana! I agree! The first thing most natural, normal little girls want to be, when they grow up– is a wife and mother! Yes! No crazy, political, overly-intellectual– or sick, lesbian feminist— can pretend that this is not as true and natural, as the sun coming up in the sky, each and every morning! That is for certain! And when young girls and boys are ready for manhood, and womanhood– they all should naturally want to grow up to be exactly as their Mom or Dad! That does not mean their personalities are like their parents– it means, to become MATURE men and women, just as their Mom”s role, and their Dad’s role! That is the next step towards Nature’s full maturation! Just like a child at about a year old, when they are now ready, to learn to walk!! A young person was NEVER meant to grow up into a “freak,” of rock “music,” dope addiction, and promiscuity– nor an “intellectual leftist political freak,” going on wild rampages, destroying Nature, society, and the Church, like two-year-olds with temper tantrums!!

    • Linda Maria says:

      Librarian– Motherhood is SACRED!! It is not about “biology,” or “managing to crank out a child,” as you stated, so cynically! Motherhood is of God! God makes all little babies, and God makes Motherhood, too! Modern women have forgotten God, and Mother Nature– and have forgotten Womanhood, and Motherhood!!! All America should love, honor, and respect their Mothers (though none are perfect, of course!) and give great love, honor, and respect, and show thankfulness, to all our Mothers, and appreciate all they have done for us, and sacrificed for us– all our lives– on Mother’s Day!! Ignore the craziness and stupidity of the modern world– it will not last! Only God is forever! And Motherhood will always be SACRED– it is of God!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I found the first part of the article more interesting socially and culturally than the part that was printed here. Please click the link.

  4. Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother. – God’s Commandment.

    (Everyone appreciates a ‘thank you” for the sacrifices they make for others.)

    • Linda Maria says:

      The Fourth Commandment, is “Honor thy Father and thy Mother.” We must imitate the Child Jesus, Who loved, honored, and obeyed his parents, while growing up in Nazareth! (Of course– this Commandment also means, to obey your parents, so long as they are not in opposition to the laws of God, and our Church!) Catholic parents have a big responsibility! There is a beautiful Scripture passage, SIR. 3:12-16, about taking care of your father and your mother, when they are old. Also– I was very touched, when one of our Latin Mass-priests remarked, in his Mother’s Day sermon, that he planned to call his mother that afternoon, after Mass, and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day– and say the Rosary with her, over the phone! That is one of their traditions! Beautiful!! A wonderful priest, and a wonderful son!

      • Anonymous says:

        Manner Of Honouring Other Superiors

        We are bound to honour not only our natural parents, but also others who are called fathers, such as Bishops and priests, kings, princes and magistrates, tutors, guardians and masters, teachers, aged persons and the like, all of whom are entitled, some in a greater, some in a less degree, to share our love, our obedience, and our assistance.

        The Honour Due To Bishops And Priests

        Of Bishops and other pastors it is written: Let the priests that rule well be esteemed worthy of double honour especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

        What wondrous proofs of love for the Apostle must the Galatians have shown ! For he bears this splendid testimony of their benevolence: I bear you witness that if it could be done, you would hove plucked out your own eyes, and would have given them to me.

        The priest is also entitled to receive whatever is necessary for his support. Who, says the Apostle, serveth as a soldier at his own charges? Give honour to the priests, it is written in Ecclesiasticus, and purify thyself with thy arms; give them their portion, as it is commanded thee, of the first fruits and of purifications.

      • Anonymous says:

        The Apostle also teaches that they are entitled to obedience: Obey your prelates, and be subject to them; for they watch as being to render an account of your souls. Nay, more. Christ the Lord commands obedience even to wicked pastors: Upon the chair of Moses have sitten the scribes and Pharisees: all things, therefore, whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do; but according to their works do ye not, for they say and do not.

        The Honour Due To Civil Rulers

        The same is to be said of civil rulers, governors, magistrates and others to whose authority we are subject. The Apostle in his Epistle to the Romans, explains at length the honour, respect and obedience that should be shown them, and he also bids us to pray for them. St. Peter says: Be ye subject, therefore, to every human creature for God’s sake; whether it be to the king as excelling, or to governors as sent by him.

        For whatever honour we show them is given to God, since exalted human dignity deserves respect because it is an image of the divine power, and in it we revere the providence of God who has entrusted to men the care of public affairs and who uses them as the instruments of His power.

        If we sometimes have wicked and unworthy officials it is not their faults that we revere, but the authority from God which they possess.

    • Linda Maria says:

      I will add something, to my above post. Parents who are older, should receive special love, care, and respect! They should be specially honored, on Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day! To be an obedient son, while growing up, does not mean (as some mistakenly think!) to be a babyish “Mama’s Boy!” Rather, it means to be responsible, mature, and to act more grown-up, with your behavior, and responsibilities! Same thing, for a girl! This also paves the way, for lots of self-worth– and future life success, that you can be proud of!! And God will greatly bless you, and richly reward you, for loving obedience to Him, throughout your life! You will be ready for Heaven, at life’s end!

    • Linda Maria says:

      The priest whom I mentioned above, was Fr. Driscoll, who said the Tridentine Mass on Mother’s Day, at Star of the Sea Church, in San Francisco! Both Fr. Illo and Fr. Driscoll, the two priests at Star of the Sea, regularly say the old Latin Mass! Wonderful! My favorite Mass!

  5. Father Karl says:

    YES, mother’s matter ! What a silly and asinine question. Look at the Blessed Mother who dignified motherhood. If you do not accept that, then look to the animal kingdom and see how mothers take care, nurture and defend their young. Just as human mothers adopt babies, so also do some animal mothers when they see an orphaned animal baby. Now since humans are higher than animals, does it not seem that human mothers should matter more? Together with their spouse, mothers share in creating new life,, which is always a special gift from God. The world wants to bash mothers and fathers for the special God given role they play in society. An elderly lady once told me that one can have more than one wife, one can have more than one brother or sister, and one can have more than one son or daughter; but one will only have ONE MOTHER. Josef Cardinal Mindzenty (sp) wrote that motherhood is a special gift from God. Knowing all of this, how can any rational person not only question God’s wisdom, but also question the validity of motherhood?

    • Ann Malley says:

      Father, this absurd questioning of “Whether Mother’s Matter?” is the natural fruit of generations having been conditioned that God doesn’t matter. So taking the commandments in progression, the next thing will definitely be – if it isn’t already practiced in this ‘me’ culture is – does one’s neighbor really matter?

      God help us!

    • Anonymous says:

      Father Karl, we all have two mothers. Some of us have more than that.

  6. Anne T. says:

    All I know is that there is a strong connection between some mothers and their children, not only physically but spiritually. Some scientists say that when a woman has a child, just as some of her DNA goes into the development of that child, some of the child’s DNA is left behind in her body after her child’s birth.

    Perhaps that explains why some women, including myself, have been strongly urged mentally to pray for one of her children, sometimes asking for the intercession of a particular saint. only to find out later that that child was in a particular type of danger at that time. My grandmother could always since when one of her daughters, who lived out of state, was coming without any phone or letter contact with her. It was as if she just sensed it.

    It often works with close friends also. My mother one time while doing dishes, had a strong urge to call her friend which would not go away. She gave in and called her only to find her friend hysterical because the friend’s brother had died.

    Perhaps it is guardian angels warning us. I do not know.

    • Anne T. says:

      Sorry for all my grammatical errors and typos. I wrote in a hurry.

    • Linda Maria says:

      A wonderful post, Anne T.– and all very true!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, Linda Maria, many women, and men too have been called (by urges that would not go away, or in some cases auditorally) to go help others. Often we do not know until we get there that the Lord has used us to answer some ones prayer and need.The Bible speaks of the Lord calling one person to help another.

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