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
It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.Erma Bombeck, humorist
Motherhood is basically finding activities for children in three-hour pockets of time for the rest of your life.Mindy Kaling
Having kids — the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings — is the biggest job anyone can embark on.Maria Shriver
There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.Jill Churchill, author
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
The majority of my diet is made up of the foods that my kid didn't finish.Carrie Underwood
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
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
[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
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
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
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
I always say if you aren't yelling at your kids, you're not spending enough time with them.Reese Witherspoon
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
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