Every year when flowers are in full bloom, we celebrate the powerful women in our lives—our mothers. From them, we draw strength, passion, kindness and determination.
We really should celebrate motherhood every day—and you can start here, with these inspiring words from strong women, wonderful mothers, who have admitted imperfection, struggled with life balance and who are eager to reject “mom” stereotypes.
To them we say thank you. Now go hug your mom.
1. “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.”
2. “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.”
3. “When my mother took her turn to sit in a gown at her graduation, she thought she only had two career options: nursing and teaching. She raised me and my sister to believe that we could do anything, and we believed her.”
4. “What greater aspiration and challenge are there for a mother than the hope of raising a great son or daughter?”
5. “I am Gabrielle Anwar: mother, love, daughter, sister, friend, and creator in the pursuit of happiness.”
6. “There’s something really empowering about going, ‘Hell, I can do this! I can do this all!’ That’s the wonder thing about mothers, you can because you must, and you just DO.”
7. “There is an unspoken pact that women are supposed to follow. I am supposed to act like I constantly feel guilty about being away from my kids. (I don’t. I love my job.) Mothers who stay at home are supposed to pretend they are bored and wish they were doing more corporate things. (They don’t. They love their job.)”
8. “The absolute [greatest] thing about being a parent is that every day is a fresh start. You always can say, ‘Today we’re going to try this!’ And, if it goes horribly, you can say, ‘Today we’re throwing that out, and we’re trying this!’”
9. “I like my body so much better after I had kids. Is that a crazy thing to say? I’m more womanly. I feel sexier.”
10. “[My boys] bloody well will work. Same as myself, same as David. They’re not going to be the kinds of kids that just hang about. I want them to be able to fulfill their passions, but I think it’s important that the children grow up and have respect for themselves.”
11. “The time I’m not spending with my kid has to be worth it.”
12. “[After the twins’ birth,] I spent two years doing nothing. I was a wife and a mom. But you need that time to grow. You can’t be afraid of, Oh, I’m out of the public, then I’m going to have to make a comeback. It’s ridiculous. No.”
13. “I’ve learned the value of absorbing the moment. I remember the first time Ripley saw her shadow. My God, it was like shadows had just been invented. It was the most exquisite moment.”
14. “Sometimes, when I want to take on the world, I try to remember that it’s just as important to sit down and ask my son how he’s feeling or talk to him about life.”
15. “My instinct is to protect my children from pain. But adversity is often the thing that gives us character and backbone. It’s always been a struggle for me to back off and let my children go through difficult experiences.”
16. “I try to call my mother, Betty, with more regularity because I think, What if Hazel didn’t call me for two weeks? I’m able to see her mothering now from a different vantage point.”
17. “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.”
18. “When Valentina was not even 1 month old, my aunt [gave me the best advice]: ‘Put her to sleep yourself every night. Sing to her and cradle her in your arms and sit by her side—every night. Because one day you won’t be able to, and it’s going to happen really fast.’”
Related: 20 Inspiring Quotes About Love