Words of Wisdom from Famous Mothers:
A Celebration of Mom’s Impact on Mental Health
It’s no secret that mothers have an immeasurable impact on our psychological development. While psychology has only been widely studied since the late 1800’s, mothers have been guided by meaningful wisdom and instincts since the dawn of time. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are some quotes from famous moms over the past few centuries, illustrating the many ways a mother’s wisdom shapes our mental health.
“A mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.”
Emily Dickinson, Author
Whether they have a psych degree or not, moms are our very first therapist. They help us wrap our mind around tough concepts like the death of a loved one or a friend moving away. They console us when we cry, empower us when we feel inadequate, and encourage us when we face uncertainty. Whether it be skinned knees during childhood, ugly breakups as teenagers, or career troubles in adulthood, mom is an unwavering fortress of love and support.
“She raised us with humor, and she raised us to understand that not everything was going to be great but how to laugh through it.”
Liza Minnelli, Actress
Mothers are our first example of how to manage emotions; the way we see how our moms manage grief, anger, and stress strongly impacts how we cope with these emotions ourselves. Mothers offer calming comfort when we are dealing with challenges that feel unmanageable. They offer assurance and help us to find humor, hope, and positivity during the ups and downs throughout each stage of life.
"I looked on child rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best I could bring to it." Rose Kennedy, Socialite & Philanthropist
Though it might not offer a salary or 401K, the profession of motherhood requires critical thinking, unwavering dedication, and being “on call” 24/7. In addition to the full-time job of tending to the family’s basic needs, mothers are critically influential on their child’s intellectual growth. Mrs. Kennedy also said, “Children should be stimulated by their parents to see, touch, know, understand, and appreciate.” Mothers study their child’s strengths and challenges and provide stimulating activities to help their minds develop.
"I don’t think empathy is something you can drill in someone's head. You have to have faith that while your kids can seem to be selfish and concerned only about the word 'mine' sometimes, overall, they are watching you really carefully, and if you care about other people, they will too."
Jennifer Garner, Actress
Mothers not only impact our intellectual growth, but also our emotional intelligence and character development. They teach conflict resolution, sacrifice, morality, and compassion. These lessons are imprinted on a child throughout their life. The way that mothers cultivate our character not only impacts future relationships with friends, co-workers, and romantic interests, but also influences the lessons we pass down to future generations.
"At work, you think of the children you have left at home. At home, you think of the work you've left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself. Your heart is rent."
Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel
As maddening as it may feel for moms to try to juggle it all, mothers teach us responsibility, persistence, and balance – all key elements in successfully managing adult obligations. Cultivating her interests while tending to the needs of her family isn’t easy, but her work ethic and persistence help to ingrain her child’s values and priorities.
"We don’t have a really constructive or positive view of disability around the world. But what would happen if the doctor said to you, instead of these ridiculously heartbreaking predictions, ‘Look, this is the greatest gift you’re going to be given,'"
Laura San Giacomo, Actress and mother of child with cerebral palsy
No two children are exactly alike in personality or abilities, and it’s challenging for all moms to figure out the best ways to support each child. Mothers of children with special needs are an exceptional type of warrior – not only do they have to become experts on the disability their child struggles with, they must help their child reach their potential while overcoming discrimination and ignorance. They work to educate others against stigmas, empower their child to surpass expectations, and advocate for understanding and inclusion.
"[My adopted son] is definitely all mine. Little souls find their way to you whether they're from your womb or someone else's."
Sheryl Crow, Musician
As we celebrate the way mothers impact our mental health, it’s important to note that the psychological bond between a mother and her child is not limited to those who are biologically connected. Adoptive moms, step-moms, aunts, or other maternal figures can share the same immense bond, unconditional love, and critical guidance that benefit the children they love.
"Don't beat yourself up for making decisions about things that may or may not work. [Motherhood] is an experiment in life and you're a part of that." Lucy Liu, Actress
Something that we don’t celebrate enough is that moms teach us how to deal with failure, because let’s face it, we all screw up! Maybe you are prone to dropping F-bombs when you stub your toe, or maybe you spend a little too much time glued to your smart phone. Whatever the case, no mom is perfect, and that’s ok. Great moms teach us that it’s alright to mess up sometimes. Their ability to take responsibility and be resilient through failure is a great trait to model to children. These lessons help their children remain resilient and self-assured when they face failure and mistakes.
"A good mother loves fiercely but ultimately brings up her children to thrive without her. They must be the most important thing in her life, but if she is the most important thing in theirs, she has failed."
Erin Kelly, Journalist
Mothers teach us the necessary skills to function independently as adults. From using a zipper and tying shoes to preparing meals or writing resumes, great mothers instill critical life skills that allow children to grow into competent and self-sufficient adults. These skills impact a person’s self-image, confidence, and coping skills that impact long-term success and emotional well-being.
"Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers, and sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world."
Kate Douglas Wiggin, Author
As we reflect on the importance of mothers in our lives this Mother’s Day, we remember how important moms are to our mental health and life success from the day we are born to every day after.
From all the specialists at Variations Psychology, thank you to all the mothers out there for your hard work, monumental love, and unwavering dedication.
Being a mom is hard work, and sometimes moms just need someone to turn to when life starts to feel unmanageable. Whether you are a mom who is struggling to connect with your children or spouse, or if you are dealing with issues such as depression, stress, or anxiety, Dr. Davis can help.
Dr. Daniella A. Davis, Psy.D., is an expert in dealing with the unique challenges that women face throughout each stage of life. Whether it be challenges with motherhood, work related stress, life after divorce, or struggling through menopause, Dr. Davis supports women in leading healthy, empowered lives.
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More about Variations Psychology
Variations Psychology is a group practice composed of specialists in a variety of psychology domains including Clinical Psychology, School and Educational Psychology, Child Development, Psychological Testing, Educational Testing, and Training.
Our specialists provide therapy to children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders).
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