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In Praise of Mothers!

 “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” Rudyard Kipling

Motherhood—the lifelong occupation with no salary, no promotions and absolutely no retirement. Every day, mothers put their children’s needs above their own. They give and feed and clothe, teach and help and heal, even when they don’t feel like it. (Doing your job even when you don’t feel like it separates the amateurs from the professionals.) Mothers do an enormous job, an essential job, a job that deserves heartfelt hoopla.

So here, in celebration of Mother’s Day, are some accolades for, by and about mothers.

“A mother is the always the beginning. She is how things begin.” Amy Tan, author

“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and her children sleep soundly in them.” Victor Hugo, author

“Man are what their mothers made them.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” Sophia Loren, actress

“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” Tenneva Jordan

“24/7: Once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer.” Jodi Picoult, author

“Motherhood is an epic event. You can’t help but be altered by it—and it is important to be.” Anne-Marie Duff, actress

“A mother understands what a child does not say.” Jewish proverb

“Mothers hold their children’s hands for just a little while, and their hearts forever.” Irish proverb

“I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.” E. M. Forester, author

“Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing.” Ricki Lake, TV host

“I know how to do anything—I’m a mom.” Roseanne Barr, comedian/writer/producer

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:25-26

“It’s not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” Ann Landers, columnist

“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” Barbara Kingsolver, author

“Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” Meryl Streep, actress

“Of all the haunting moments of motherhood, few rank with hearing your own words come out of your daughter’s mouth.” Victoria Secunda, author

If we’re really lucky, we’re blessed with a mom who is not only kind and caring, but exceptionally clever. Here is some lovely Mom Advice from the British columnist Caitlin Moran, writing to her own 13 year-old daughter:

“Dear Lizzie: Hello, it’s Mummy. Here are a couple of things I’ve learnt on the way that you might find useful in the coming years.

“The main thing is just to try to be nice. You already are—and I want you to hang on to that and never let it go. Keep slowly turning it up, like a dimmer switch, whenever you can. Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you in order to feel happy, and to read things more clearly.

“Choose your friends because you feel most like yourself around them. Never love someone whom you think you need to mend—or who makes you feel like you should be mended.

“Stay at peace with your body. While it’s healthy, never think of it as a problem or a failure. Pat your legs occasionally and thank them for being able to run.

“Whenever you can’t think of something to say in a conversation, ask people questions instead.

“See as many sunrises and sunsets as you can. Run across roads to smell fat roses. Always believe you can change the world—even if it’s only a tiny bit, because every tiny bit needed someone who changed it. Love, Mummy.”

Happy Mother’s—and Grandmother’s—Day. Congratulations, ladies, on a job well done!

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