A mother is any female parent: only mothers love and nurture their young ones. It is also a label for an older woman superior, sometimes described as a mother superior. The word mother has various other meanings, depending on the country where you live. It can mean a loving and nurturing aunt, teacher, governess or friend. In Britain, it can mean a wife of a king, a cousin of the king or simply a woman in general.
Generally, in most societies, it is considered that a mother plays an important role in the upbringing of her children; this role is generally defined by age. The older a woman is when she gives birth, the more of her time and energy are spent with her children, until they become independent. In some cultures, younger mothers are thought to be more involved in their children’s welfare, and less as a mother, than older mothers. This is not always the case.
In our modern world, the definition of motherhood is often looked at through the perspective of a traditionalist viewpoint. Traditionally, it was seen as a role associated with womanhood, and was therefore seen as feminine. But it was also seen as a financial burden, since it required a large amount of expenditure to bring up children, which often put financial hardship ahead of other priorities. As a result, many women delayed motherhood for economic reasons.
Historically, some cultures encouraged or even forced women to be mother, and others allowed it to be a private choice. Sometimes, a mother was seen as unfit to be a mother because of her physical make-up or environment. But in many modern societies, a mother is seen as having all the rights to being a mother. Not only that, but some cultures actually consider motherhood to be a prerequisite for societal acceptance and some even openly encourage it, seeing motherhood as a privilege.
Ancient Egyptian mythology portrays the mother goddess as the divine energy associated with the Nile. She is often shown in bedecked, flowing clothes, carrying a bundle of grain as she carries her child. The story goes that the infant Horus became like the Mother Goddess after his birth, and he would carry her around on his back in the sky, until he eventually reached the sky. This imagery of the Mother Goddess holding the child in her arms, and representing the divine protection of child birth, shows the link between motherhood and fertility. Similarly, in Greek mythology, the Mother Goddess is frequently shown in a white dress, carrying a child in arms, often with flowers in her hair. In Rome, she is often represented wearing the attributes of the Mother Goddess, such as the veil of the goddess, or carrying a child.
Ancient Greece and Rome also have archetypes of the Mother Goddess, who often took the form of the moon goddess. The mythological Grecian goddess Luna, known as the Moon God, was the Earth Mother and the Moon god, Dionysus, was her husband. It was Dionysus himself who experienced a rebirth as the Son of the Sun God, and so it was his son Solikelius, not his wife, who went on to be the father of the Roman goddess, Venus. The mythological stories of these ancient societies all portray a feminine figure as the source of life, and motherhood in particular, despite the sometimes violent reaction of those who have followed from these ancient societies. In modern times, mothering is still viewed as a divine role, but one that is still carried out in different ways by different women, depending on their personal beliefs.