A Basketful of Moms

There are lots of moms out there. You might even have had one yourself. Or more than one.

Here are some to cheer or miss or wish they’d been better:

  • The One Everyone Wants. Loving, supportive, defending us when needed, encouraging and challenging us, too. Always there.
  • The Overburdened Mom. Too many kids, too many jobs, too many issues of her own.
  • The Stepmom. She can be either of the first two, just not the one who gave birth to you. This mother might favor her own kids or accept you as if you arose from her body.
  • The Big Sister Mom. Usually, the oldest sister, especially if you have an overburdened mom.
  • The Nextdoor Neighbor. She might have made you wish she were your own mother.
  • The Favorite Teacher Mom. If you had a winning teacher such as this, I don’t need to tell you how much she influenced and helped you.
  • The Dad Mom. The double-duty father has to take both roles when the mother is absent or ill. He might be a stay-at-home dad when the mother is the breadwinner, too.
  • The Mentor Mom. A supportive guide you find in the workplace.
  • The Role Reversal Mom. She expects you to listen to her and, to some degree, be her moral support and caretaker (long before she gets old). You hear stories from her you shouldn’t hear.
  • The “I Know Better” Mom/Grandma: She won’t accept the second banana, supportive job you’d like her to take with your kids.
  • The Good Mom/Grandma: This lady allows you to grow up whether you have kids of your own or not, and limits her unrequested advice. You are allowed to be an adult, your own person with your own ideas.
  • The Mother Who Played Favorites. Yikes is all I can say.

Well, I’ve probably missed a few, including some of the least admirable, but you get the point. I hope the stork deposited you in the lap of the kind of mother you needed. If not, that you found a substitute elsewhere. An impossible job, for sure, but the most essential one on the globe.

A round of applause to all the best of them and perhaps some kindness even for the rest of them.

And to all of you who are mothers, will be, or wish you could be.


The drawing is called Mother and Baby. It comes from a 1923 advertisement for Lydia E. Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound. It was sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

5 thoughts on “A Basketful of Moms

  1. I give thanks for all the surrogate mothers who led me through many dark times. Thanks for mentioning the Big Sister Mom, a role often forgotten


  2. dragonflythinktank

    I love the stork! Hee hee. I’m a “birth mom.” For many reasons, I placed my daughter for adoption. I still speak with the adoptive mom. She says our daughter is doing great, and that they are looking at colleges now. Our daughter turned 18 years old last year (October, 2020), but she is still in high school and co-captain of the cheerleading team. We’re so proud of her and her accomplishments, especially during this pandemic! She’ll be around 19 years old when she starts college this year, hopefully. You could say that I was a caring mother from a distance, a disabled mother who couldn’t raise her own daughter, and a birth mother who feels saddened by the fact that she couldn’t have what it took to be a real mother. But my daughter is in good hands with her adoptive mother.

    I pray for all the mothers today. Some mothers have passed away. Some mothers are struggling with children who have passed away. Some mothers are estranged from their children. Some mothers are struggling as “birth moms.” Some mothers are struggling with sick and/or disabled family members, whom they take care of. Some parentified children and teens are serving as “mothers” to take care of their siblings, their extended family members (e.g., their grandparent, their sick uncle or aunt), and/or their parent(s). Some mothers cannot have human children, so they’ve opted to be fur baby mothers (they still count as mothers, to me). Some mothers are very caring adoptive mothers and/or foster mothers. Some mothers are disabled. Some mothers are underaged teen moms. Some mothers are widowed. Some mothers are single parents. Some mothers are middle-aged and/or elderly parents (such as in those who have given birth late or those who have offered Kinship Care and Kinship-based adoption). Some mothers are barely struggling to survive. Some mothers are battling many stressors, including domestic violence, intimate partner violence, race-based traumatic stress, minority-based microaggressions, poverty, harsh judgments, sexual harassment at work, military sexual trauma, military combat trauma, spiritual abuse, ritual abuse, and more. Some mothers are unhealthy and need wraparound services or other services to step in and help them and their children – however that help may turn out to be.

    I love the list of mothers Dr. Stein provided above. Indeed, there are many different kinds of mothers. I pray for them all. May all mothers receive some other-care today while also continuing in their much-needed self-care daily.


    • drgeraldstein

      A wonderful addition to what I wrote. Indeed, more tender and informative. Your daughter has benefitted from your generosity, a kind of loving tag-team with the the adoptive mom. Brava to you and all the mom’s you listed!

      Liked by 1 person

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