To Mother


{Mother, Verb – To Mother – To watch over, to nourish, to protect maternally.}

To mother is to worry, to correct, to encourage.  To mother is to rise with the sun or the first coo or cry of the morning.  To mother is to fumble along with tired eyes going through the motions of toasting the waffles and pouring the milk and measuring the coffee.

To mother is to grow accustomed to a luke-warm cup.

To mother is to hustle little feet along so as to get them to the church on time.  To mother is to remember to replenish the diaper bag and to pack the snack pack and to grab the activity bag to help keep them still in the pews.   Often, to mother is to hear the sermon, but not always to hear the sermon.

To mother is also to teach the children in the Sunday School classroom, to rock the babies in the nursery, and to play peek-a-boo with the curious two-year-old three pews ahead.

To mother is also to prepare the pastries and the coffee for the hungry congregation, to organize those activity bags for busy little hands in the pews, and to carefully prepare and fold and stack the bulletins.

To mother is to break the bread and to pour the wine.

To mother is to hush little voices when too loud and to encourage them when too meek as they try to join the congregation, singing in response to our gracious gift.

To Mother is to stand, arms weary from holding a wriggling and curious child, and sing.

To Mother is to guide, arms busy as fingers trace the path of the hymnal lyrics, and teach.

To Mother is to weep, arms empty of those not yet or no longer, and ache.

To mother is all these things as the song goes on, verse by verse.

For if we are called to make a joyful noise to the Lord, how then can we do so if not for the love of a mother?  Without the actions, the “to do’s” of a mother?  Without the “to do’s” of our community of mothers?   For I know that it is not just I, but the entire pew, the entire congregation, who helps my children, at last, to sing.  For any of us, and all of us, who encourage the song out of a child, who shape the tone and deepen the harmonies, who beam with pride at their melodies basking in the joyful offering by our collective choir…we too know what it means, “to mother.”



  1. Love this post of yours. You really do a great job of fleshing out what motherhood is. Thanks for sharing at #smallvictoriessundaylinky!

  2. Beautifully written, Holli!

  3. Tanya M says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your inspiration with us this week at Small Victories Sunday linky. Hope you join us again this weekend! Pinned to our linky board and tweeted!

  4. Hi Holli–my name is Sara Hallisey. I learned about your blog through the Momastery project. I appreciate your voice and point of view, so I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award. You can learn more from my post:

    It’s an award to help bloggers connect and create more exposure. I hope you accept the nomination and I look forward to reading your answers. All best, Sara

    • Hi Sara,

      Many thanks and happy to connect! I so appreciate the Liebster nod, you are too kind. As this is a second nomination, I will have to pass it along. I look forward to reading your post and staying connected. Thanks again!

  5. Kaylene Yoder says:

    Holli, this is beautiful! I smiled & cried and drank coffee from a lukewarm-ish cup. well… it was more toward the cold side, but it was still coffee! :) Blessings to your day, dear momma!

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