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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4 thoughts on “The Powerful Woman as Mother”

  1. Wow! I loved this. So true. Thanks for writing this. I got my bachelors in Home and Family Living and we talked about how “feminists” rather than fighting to say what women do in the home is important they fought to say we are equally capable of doing what men do outside the home. This further diminished the role of motherhood rather than improving it. I love what you’ve said.

  2. Wow. This really made me think. It reminded me of the responsibilities I have to myself. This is the most empowering,lovely, and true piece I have read in a long time!

  3. I found this very interesting. I belive that the strong mother, the victimised mother, whilst polar oppiste are actually the same. I know of many outwardly strong women in my role as a parenting therapist, who are victims of their conditioning. Whenever we are a victim, we use it as a form of control, and how we play that out comes in so many different forms.

    The head of the PTA, the mother who picks up everyone’s children whilst baking the cake for the school fair and organising work appointments at the same time, is the same as the mother who is constantly feeling weighed down by parenthood. Neither one is authentic, and neither one is who we truly are. We have chosen these roles because they serve a purpose. Both roles feed our issues of self abandonment. They both scream for approval. The strong woman, the woman who is on her knees, both are the same.

    For many honest women, becoming a mother highilights all their insecurities, and all their suppressed feelings of unworthiness are unleashed. For me, the strong woman is the woman who says: I find parenting a real challenge, it has brought me to my knees on so many days, I make mistakes everyday, but I am working on my own personal development and I am making changes. Those are the words of a natural parent, one who is honest and who puts changes in place.

    We are only a victim when we choose to complain, overachieve, and repeat the same mistakes over again. Everything we do is ultimately about needing love from others. Learn to love yourself and you will be the greatest parent that walked the earth.

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