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Quotations about Mothers

My mother was a being very happily constituted. She rose with the sun, like the birds; and she herself resembled the birds by her domestic industry, by her maternal instinct, by her perpetual desire to sing, and by a sort of brusque grace, which I could feel the charm of very well even as a child. She was the soul of the house, which she filled with her systematic and joyous activity. ~Anatole France, Le crime de Sylvestre Bonnard, 1881, translated by Lafcadio Hearn, 1890

No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother's love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star. ~Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1814–1880)

One warm mother-kiss dried the little wet eyes and stilled the little troubled heart. ~Jay Benson Hamilton, "How Santa Claus Made One Dollar Hold Out," 1891

My mother was the simplest creature you modern young folk could conceive, skilled only in simple household tasks. Her life was so charged with duties that they left room only for love, and that filled every vacant chink and corner. ~Thomas Bailey Clegg, The Love Child, 1906

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in the world, since the payment is pure love. ~Mildred B. Vermont

Any suburban mother can state her role sardonically enough in a sentence: it is to deliver children — obstetrically once and by car forever after. ~Peter De Vries, in LIFE, 1956

Suburban life is merely motherhood on wheels. ~Peter De Vries, in LIFE, 1956

And when a child is born,
we miss one point completely —
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.
~Osho, The Way of the White Cloud, 1975

If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam. ~Henry Bickersteth, Baron Langdale

My little son, when you were born
      There died a being, sweet and wild,
      A lovely, careless, radiant child,
      A passionate woman — her I mourn.
And in her place has come another,
      With troubled smile and brooding eyes,
      Insatiate of sacrifice
      And wholly, utterly your mother.
~Marjorie Allen Seiffert, "The Father Speaks," A Woman of Thirty, 1919

"Oh, mother, mother, mother," the boy groaned, and he longed, as if his heart was breaking, to lay his head on her knee, and look up for comfort to her face, as he had often done in his childish troubles. "Dear, dear mother!" and the tears came at last, raining through his fingers, and taking away that dull stupor of pain from his heart. ~Cousin Alice, "All's Not Gold that Glitters;" or, The Young Californian, 1858  [Emily Alice Bradley Neal Haven (1827–1863) —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been. ~Robert Brault,

...a mother's heart is ever a part
Of the babe upon her knee...
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "A Blossom of Mother-love," 1890

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. ~Pam Brown, To a Very Special Mother, 1992,

Women's Liberation is just a lot of foolishness. It's the men who are discriminated against. They can't bear children. And no one's likely to do anything about that. ~Golda Meir, 1972

Besides, the real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men, — from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)

The world is a finer, better place,
For the love that glows in your kindly face,
For the smile that is constant, ever there,
For your cheer that banishes dark despair
For all that you are, for all that you do,
Ah, the world is better for knowing you,
      My Mother.
~W. Dayton Wegefarth (1885–1973), "Mother," Rainbow Verse: A Book of Helpful Sunny Philosophy, 1919

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his. ~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People, 1895

One primary effect, however, of such devotion to one's own mother should be the making of all motherhood everywhere infinitely sacred. He is a poor son whose sonship does not make him desire to serve all men's mothers. ~Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Meaning of Service, 1920

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. ~Spanish proverb

Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime...
~William Shakespeare

When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren

Mother, have you ever thought, dear,
That some day our lives must part,
And the fated one must linger—
Linger here with broken heart?
~W. Dayton Wegefarth (1885–1973), "To My Mother," Smiles and Sighs, 1910

What is it about being at your mom's house that lets you completely relax? ~The Middle, "Mother's Day," 2010, written by Jana & Mitch Hunter  [S1, E22, Frankie Heck]

Women are aristocrats, and it is always the mother who makes us feel that we belong to the better sort. ~J. L. Spalding, Things of the Mind, 1895

I had to take time out to have a baby. I just couldn't have balanced it all physically. Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep, in The Ladies' Home Journal, 1984

...The sweetest sounds to mortals given
Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven...
~William Goldsmith Brown

It has been said that the sweetest words in our language are "Mother, Home and Heaven"; and one might almost say that the word "Home" included the others. ~Silas X. Floyd (1869–1923), "Home, Sweet Home," Floyd's Flowers: or, Duty and Beauty for Colored Children, 1905

What are Raphael's Madonnas but the shadow of a mother's love, fixed in permanent outline forever? ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "A Shadow," 1870

Mothers are always on stand-by. ~Pam Brown, To a Very Special Mother, 1992,

The formative period for building character for eternity is in the nursery. The mother is queen of that realm and sways a scepter more potent than that of kings and priests. ~M. H. H., quoted in Our Mothers, compiled by Mary Allette Ayer, 1916

[A] mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled. ~Emily Dickinson, 1870, to Thomas Wentworth Higginson

A mother is the truest friend we have; when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends, who rejoiced with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Author unknown, c. 1875

Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease. ~Lisa Alther, Other Women, 1984

[She] was bathed in the wonderful glory that comes to a woman when her first-born is laid beside her. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915

A woman's life isn't worth a plateful of cabbage if she hasn't felt life stir under her heart. Taking a little one to nurse, watching him grow to manhood, that's what love is. We say we love our husbands, we stand up in church saying as how we'll love them forever and ever, till death do we part, but it's our own blood and sinew we really love. ~Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries, 1993

Don't ever tell the mother of a newborn that her baby's smile is just gas. ~Jill Woodhull

I, that still pray at morning and at eve,
Loving those roots that feed us from the past,
And prizing more than Plato things I learned
At that best academe, a mother's knee...
~James Russell Lowell, "The Cathedral"

She was sleeping with the absolute confidence peculiar to her age; a mother's arms are made of tenderness, and children sleep soundly in them. ~Victor Hugo, "Two Mothers Meet," Les Misérables, translated by Lascelles Wraxall, 1862

Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that supposed to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

A mom accepts love in whatever currency it's offered and returns it always in gold coin. ~Robert Brault,, 2019

Who fed me from her gentle breast,
And hush'd me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
      My Mother.
~Ann Taylor (1782–1866)

When sleep forsook my open eye,
Who was it sung sweet lullaby,
And rock'd me that I should not cry?
      My Mother.
~Ann Taylor (1782–1866)

Who sat and watched my infant head,
When sleeping on my cradle bed,
And tears of sweet affection shed?
      My Mother.
~Ann Taylor (1782–1866)

Who ran to help me when I fell,
And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the place to make it well?
      My Mother.
~Ann Taylor (1782–1866)

When thou art feeble, old, and grey,
My healthy arm shall be thy stay,
And I will soothe thy pains away,
      My Mother.
~Ann Taylor (1782–1866)

The only mothers it is safe to forget on Mother's Day are the good ones. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child — and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own. ~Robert Brault,

Hundreds of stars in the pretty sky;
      Hundreds of shells on the shore together;
Hundreds of birds that go singing by;
      Hundreds of bees in the sunny weather.
Hundreds of dew-drops to greet the dawn;
      Hundreds of lambs in the purple clover;
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn;
      But only one mother the wide world over!
~George Cooper

A mom forgives us all our faults, not to mention one or two we don't even have. ~Robert Brault,

A mother is a mother still,
      The holiest thing alive...
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Three Graves," 1798

You can fool some of the people some of the time... But you can't fool Mom! ~Our Gang, 1935

There's nothing like a mama-hug. ~Terri Guillemets, journal, 1996

The Mother's smile was the light of the World. Her voice was the song of a summer rain, cool and soft and sweet. Her laughter was the lilt of a meadowlark's song. ~Jennifer Roberson, "The Court of the Summer King," 1987  [a little altered —tg]

What is a mom but the sunshine of our days and the north star of our nights. ~Robert Brault,

I go a little further in your house and I find the mother's chair. It is very apt to be a rocking chair. She had so many cares and troubles to soothe that it must have rockers. I remember it well; it was an old chair, and the rockers were almost worn out, for I was the youngest, and the chair had rocked the whole family. It made a creaking noise as it moved; but there was music in the sound. It was just high enough to allow us children to put our heads into her lap. That was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries. Ah! what a chair that was... The chair knew all the old lullabies and all those wordless songs which mothers sing to their sick children — songs in which all pity and compassion and sympathetic influence are combined... That old chair has stopped rocking for a good many years. It may be set up in the loft or the garret, but it holds a queenly power yet. ~Rev. T. DeWitt Talmage

My mother held the ladder for me to climb to the stars. ~Monte Durham

Mothers are the gardeners of the human race. ~Anna A. Rogers, "Why American Mothers Fail," The Atlantic Monthly, March 1908

Mother is a name held sacred
      By most mortals of the earth;
      It means great love and sacrifice
      From the very day of birth,
A love that's so full of beauty,
      So tender, so very true!
      Something, seemingly, from Heaven
      That has come to me and you.
There's no love so understanding
      And so faithful to the end
      As a Mother's love—God bless her!—
      That to us our Lord did send.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "Mother," 1940s

Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children... ~William Makepeace Thackeray

Thank you for showing me, when I thought my mothering days were over, that the best days between us are only just beginning. ~Pam Brown, To a Very Special Daughter, 1991,

A daughter is a mother's gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. And mothers are their daughters' role model, their biological and emotional road map, the arbiter of all their relationships. ~Victoria Secunda, Women and Their Fathers, 1992

It felt good to lie on mother's shoulder and chokingly sob away all the misunderstandings of one little life — a life trusting and simple, which saw the Light and lived in it. ~Anonymous freshman college student, "The Grown-up World," c.1916

And then, somehow, I don't know why,
I tell her everything and cry.
She hugs me then, and right away
I feel less sad. That's mother's way...
~Anonymous, "Mother's Way," 1905

...mother's love grows by giving... ~Charles Lamb

...a babe at her breast and a new light in her eyes, the light of the dawn of motherhood. ~Dr. R. V. Pierce's Favorite Prescription advertisement, 1899

I miss thee, my mother! Thy image is still
The deepest impress'd on my heart...
~Eliza Cook, "I Miss Thee, My Mother!," Melaia; and Other Poems, 1833

Most mothers are instinctive philosophers. ~Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Minister's Wooing, 1859

Oh, Angelique would mother anything,
A homeless cat, a dog, a broken bird.
~Lew Sarett, "Angelique," Slow Smoke, 1925

Nothin' ever seems the same
      When Mother goes away!
      The sun don't shine so brightly;
      The day seems long and gray!
The dishes all get dirty;
      There's no one who is gay
      And full of fun and laughter
      When Mother is away!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "When Mother Goes Away," 1940s

A little girl, when asked where her home was, replied, "Where Mother is." ~Keith L. Brooks

For mother's kiss — sweeter this
Than any other thing.
~William Allingham, "Wishing"

Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall;
A mother's secret hope outlives them all.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, "A Mother's Secret"

Mom — the person most likely to write an autobiography and never mention herself. ~Robert Brault,

SUE:  Please don't erase our childhood...
BRICK:  I love my room. I don't want it to be a room that Mom thinks she can do projects in and then just ends up drying sweaters.
~The Middle, "Adult Swim," 2017, written by Jana Hunter and Mitch Hunter  [S8, E20]

If I were hanged on the highest hill,
      Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose love would follow me still,
      Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
      Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose tears would come down to me,
      Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
      Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
~Rudyard Kipling, The Light that Failed, "Dedication"

[S]he beamed upon them with such maternal tenderness and pride that her homely face grew beautiful...~Louisa May Alcott, "Through the Mist," Work: A Story of Experience, 1873

Aside from new babies, new mothers must be the most beautiful creatures on earth. ~Terri Guillemets, journal, 2010

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not. ~James Joyce

She had a slender, small body, but a large heart — a heart so large that everybody's grief and everybody's joys found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation. ~Mark Twain

My Mother's hands, so thin and work-worn,
      Were loved by me as jewels, rare,
      For they had rocked me in my cradle,
      And, lovingly, they'd stroked my hair.
They worked for me, both night and morning;
      They helped to smooth away my fears,
      For never were these dear hands idle;
      I think of them with love and tears!
My Mother's hands to me were precious:
      I thought their beauty was sublime;
      I felt no harm on earth could touch me
      If they were near me all the time!
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "My Mother's Hands," 1940s

Mothers are the vital warmth of sun — and they are the comforting coolness of shade. ~Terri Guillemets

The mother's heart is the child's school-room. ~Henry Ward Beecher

No man can share either the mysteries or miseries of motherhood. ~Dr. R. V. Pierce's Favorite Prescription advertisement, 1899

A mother's kiss lovingly forgives the past, present, and future. ~Terri Guillemets

...Women know
The way to rear up children, (to be just,)
They know a simple, merry, tender knack
Of tying sashes, fitting baby-shoes,
And stringing pretty words that make no sense,
And kissing full sense into empty words...
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, 1856

There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. ~Author unknown

God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers. ~Proverb

I hold before me, in weak, trembling hands,
      The fading portrait of a woman's face—
      A picture not of young and girlish grace,
But one upon whose sacred head the sands
Of Time had dripped, until the gleaming strands
      Shone wan with sprinkled white.—A band of lace
      Circles the wrinkled throat in fond embrace
E'en as these boyish arms, years gone, their bands
Of love clasped round the then fair neck of her
      As softly rained her lullaby upon
            My drowsy ear in dreamland's golden drips,
And as I scan that face, now, thro' the blur
      Of manhood's tears, I hear a voice long gone
            Soft crooning thro' the portal of lost lips!
~Kimball Chase Tapley, "A Portrait," c.1893

Perhaps we are given a mom that we might take into death the memory of a lullaby. ~Robert Brault,

Boy, I love meeting people's moms. It's like reading an instruction manual as to why they're nuts. ~Ted Lasso, "The Signal," 2021, written by Brett Goldstein  [S2, E6, Ted]

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
      The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
      None so devotional as that of "Mother,"
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you —
      You who are more than mother unto me...
~Edgar Allan Poe, "To My Mother," 1849

Mamas everywhere — don't worry so much about being a "hot mom." A child needs a role model, not a supermodel. You will always shine by simply being your best, doing your best, and radiating the magical love that only a mama can. ~Terri Guillemets, journal, 2005

I went behind mother's chair and put my arms round her neck. So thin and old it was, with just a little faint grey hair at the back, out from under the tight black net. Her hair in front lay grey, and flat and smooth, parted in the middle, with a little black lace cap on top. Mothers in those days soon made themselves old and ugly. They wore their charm away for those they cared for, and thought it right and duty. ~Barbra Ring, Før kulden kommer, 1915, translated from the Norwegian by W. Emmé, Into the Dark, 1923

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish proverb

Those times you wished she loved you less, do you think she didn't try?
Those times you could not bear the truth, do you think she didn't lie?
Those times you did not see her tears, do you think she didn't cry?
~Robert Brault,

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published 1999 Feb 16
revised 2021 Jan 16
last saved 2024 Apr 16