Article image

15 Quotes About the Complex Joy of Motherhood

Raising children may be a common life experience, but those who have experienced motherhood would likely agree that, even in its conventionality, it is a profound and complex journey. Just as birth marks the beginning of a new life for a baby, motherhood can represent a new chapter and a deep emotional shift for the person becoming a mom.

The early days of motherhood require a lot of adjustments, not the least of which are an immediate realignment of priorities and a sacrificing of self. A person's identity and perspective on life will see major shifts. There will be moments of uncertainty, exhaustion, and self-doubt — all of which are likely to rear their heads repeatedly in the years to follow. Over time, these difficult moments will reveal themselves to be constant teachers of unconditional love, joy, resilience, and otherworldly patience that will carry a mother through the experience of raising her children.

To celebrate that transformation and the people brave enough to undertake it, here are 14 quotes that highlight some of the significance — and, at times, undeniable absurdity — in the journey that is motherhood.

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, philosopher

Share Quote

It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.
Erma Bombeck, humorist

Share Quote

Motherhood is basically finding activities for children in three-hour pockets of time for the rest of your life.
Mindy Kaling

Share Quote

Having kids — the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings — is the biggest job anyone can embark on.
Maria Shriver

Share Quote

There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.
Jill Churchill, author

Share Quote

The fastest way to break the cycle of perfectionism and become a fearless mother is to give up the idea of doing it perfectly — indeed to embrace uncertainty and imperfection.
Ariana Huffington

Share Quote

The majority of my diet is made up of the foods that my kid didn't finish.
Carrie Underwood

Share Quote

When you’re in the thick of raising your kids by yourself, you tend to keep a running list of everything you think you’re doing wrong. I recommend taking a lot of family pictures as evidence to the contrary.
Connie Schultz, author

Share Quote

The one thing you've got to be prepared to do as a parent is not to be liked from time to time.
Emma Thompson

Share Quote

[Motherhood is] the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force… It’s huge and scary — it’s an act of infinite optimism.
Gilda Radner

Share Quote

Motherhood is a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is… and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.
Donna Ball, author

Share Quote

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.
Jessica Lange

Share Quote

My daughter introduced me to myself. The connection I had with her when I was giving birth was something that I’ve never felt before.
Beyoncé

Share Quote

I always say if you aren't yelling at your kids, you're not spending enough time with them.
Reese Witherspoon

Share Quote

I think every working mom probably feels the same thing: You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, “This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.” And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.
Tina Fey

Share Quote

Photo credit: Stefanie Keenan/ Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Author image
About the Author
Nicole Villeneuve
Nicole is a writer, thrift store lover, and group-chat meme spammer based in Ontario, Canada.
Play more header background
Play more icon
Daily Question
Fill in the blank: "Beautify your inner world with love, light, and ___." - Amit Ray

More Inspiration

happiness theme icon

Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance.

separator icon
Abigail Adams
motivation theme icon

My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully, and yell for help if you need it.

separator icon
Judy Blume
hope theme icon

The quality of your life depends quite a bit on the quality of attention you project out onto the world.

separator icon
David Brooks
love theme icon

Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.

separator icon
Lewis Carroll
wisdom theme icon

When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.

separator icon
Malala Yousafzai
happiness theme icon

There is only one success... to be able to spend your life in your own way.

separator icon
Christopher Morley
motivation theme icon

When you run into something interesting, drop everything else and study it.

separator icon
B.F. Skinner
hope theme icon

The difficult is what takes a little time; the impossible is what takes a little longer.

separator icon
Fridtjof Nansen
love theme icon

When we sow a seed, we plant a narrative of future possibility.

separator icon
Sue Stuart-Smith
wisdom theme icon

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.

separator icon
Lucille Ball
happiness theme icon

You're only as young as the last time you changed your mind.

separator icon
Timothy Leary