The Powerful Woman as Mother


The popular stereotype of woman suggests that she is easily influenced by the opinions of others and victimized by her role as a mother. This tired stereotype of mother as victim does not match the experience of real mothers. A woman is transformed by the experience of becoming a mother. Mothering unlocks in her an instinctual intelligence that generates confidence in her own authority. Inevitably, this increased confidence changes her relationship with others.


Not wanting to be dominated by others is a legacy of the new mother because in becoming a mother a woman also gives birth to herself. When a mother thinks about her experience in a truthful way, when she is honest with herself, she will see that the act of mothering is not one-sided. It is reciprocal. Once we appreciate that the mother/child dyad is mutually beneficial, we can change the stereotype of motherhood as burden into the archetype of mothering as transformation.


Mothering is not just something we do for our children. It defines us. And, it also liberates us. When we mother in a creative and transformative way we can easily move between our role as mother and our other roles. When being a mother comes from our strengths and our good opinion of ourselves rather than from an imposed script, we embody a powerful and unique feminine presence.


This embodiment of mother no longer identifies with control or coercion. Unlike the desperate stereotype of the fearful, out-of-control mom, the mother of the new archetype is not attached to outcome. She knows how to be in the moment, to pay attention, to take responsibility for her own feelings, and even how to let things go. She learns how to care deeply from an objective place.


We have inherited a subservient and wounded view of mother. I suggest that we reject it in favor of an authentic archetype, one in tune with our intrinsic nature and more robust and than any stereotype will ever be. By trusting ourselves we begin to live our own original lives.




Peggy O’Mara  (101 Posts)Peggy O’Mara founded in 1995 and is currently its editor-in chief. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has lectured and conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League International, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four.


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