What Is a Mother?


Mother is a person who nurtures her offspring, whether through natural birth or adoption. Mothers also can be stepmothers, foster mothers, grandmothers or anyone who provides loving care and guidance to a child. Women can mother themselves, other children, friends, pets or even entire nations.

Most societies consider a mother’s primary role to be the raising of her children. This is thought to be the most natural and normal way to organize a family. Generally, a mother assumes this responsibility within a heterosexual relationship that includes a father and may be legally married. In agricultural societies, a mother’s work on the land may provide most or all of her family’s subsistence. The term mother is often used as a personification of nature, a reference to the earth as a giver of life and as a source of wisdom. The concept of mothering extends to a group of people who help others in need, such as nurses and humanitarian workers.

A mother’s love is unconditional, and she will often sacrifice her own needs to ensure the welfare of her children. She may have to choose between career and children, and she must learn to balance her own interests with the needs of her family. She is responsible for nurturing the growth and development of her children, and she must encourage her children to achieve their potential. This role can be one of the most stressful and difficult tasks that a woman can undertake.

Throughout history, there have been many depictions of mothers in art and literature. For example, the artist Mary Cassatt portrayed mothers and children in her paintings. She painted portraits of Cleopatra III of Egypt and her son Ptolemy X, as well as Lemminkainen, the mother of Finnish writer Aleksis Kivi. Motherhood is considered a great achievement for many women, and it can bring about feelings of pride and fulfillment. However, some mothers may feel that they were unable to meet their own expectations of the role, and some feel that they are not valued for their contributions as mothers.

The meaning of a mother differs by culture, social class and ethnicity. Despite these differences, women around the world share some common experiences of mothering. However, a significant number of women are not mothers or choose not to be, and some women regret their decision. Some regret that they had children at a later age, while others feel that their children are not fulfilling their potential.

Mothering is an important part of human evolution. Most mammals have maternal behavior, with the closest biological relatives of humans being the great apes and the broader superfamily of primates. In zoology, the behavior of a mother is regarded as one of the most fundamental and universal aspects of reproduction. Mothers also are present in many other animal species, and some have been studied to understand the biological function of maternal behavior. The mother’s role in human society has changed significantly over time, and it continues to evolve as our understanding of biology and psychology grows.