Here’s your reminder that Mother’s Day is a little more than two weeks away. As you’re preparing to shower all the moms in your life with gifts and love on Sunday, May 14, why not start celebrating early with some feminist quotes about motherhood. Moms and mother figures are, after all, likely one of the first empowering female figures many people have in their lives.
Empowerment is arguably one of the defining characteristics of motherhood. You make or adopt a human, and then you raise the human, so that the human can go be an autonomous human that makes good human decisions. I’m oversimplifying and not speaking from my own experience, as I am not a mother myself. However, I know of some moms; I’m related to at least one. And I’m not sure what embodies the idea of empowerment more than a parent teaching their child how to function independently in the world.
So, in honor of the all the women in your life who have taught you how to human, here are 16 quotes about motherhood by and about some famous feminist mothers. Share them on Facebook. Write them in a card. Or just take them to heart as you celebrate all the badass mothers and mother figures in your life on Mother’s Day and beyond.
1“I want them to see a mother who loves them dearly, who invests in them, but who also invests in herself. It’s just as much about letting them know as young women that it is okay to put yourself a little higher on your priority list.”
2“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.”
3“The strongest lesson I can teach my son is the same lesson I teach my daughter: how to be who he wishes to be for himself. And the best way I can do this is to be who I am and hope that he will learn from this not how to be me, which is not possible, but how to be himself. And this means how to move to that voice from within himself, rather than to those raucous, persuasive, or threatening voices from outside, pressuring him to be what the world wants him to be.”
4“Give your daughters difficult names. Give your daughters names that command the full use of the tongue. My name makes you want to tell me the truth. My name doesn't allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right.”
5“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.”
— Tina Fey, on being a working mom
6“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.”
7“It’s about leaving something better for our kids. That’s how we’ve always moved this country forward, by all of us coming together on behalf of our children, folks who volunteer to coach that team, to teach that Sunday school class, because they know it takes a village.”
— Michelle Obama, on the future she wants for all children
8“There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”
9“Right now, after giving birth, I really understand the power of my body… I just feel my body means something completely different. I feel a lot more confident about it. Even being heavier, thinner, whatever. I feel a lot more like a woman. More feminine, more sensual. And no shame.”
— Beyoncé, on being a new mother
10“My mother told me two things constantly. One was to be a lady, and the other was to be independent.”
11“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.)”
12“[My mother] had handed down respect for the possibilities — and the will to grasp them.”
13“Mom measured her own life by how much she was able to help us and serve others. I knew if she was still with us, she would be urging us to do the same. Never rest on your laurels. Never quit. Never stop working to make the world a better place. That’s our unfinished business.”
14“It is hard when it turns to... people are grading you on your personal decisions. You just realize you'll never make everyone happy. ... I'm learning to let things roll off my back a bit easier. I have more important things going on now.”
— Chrissy Teigen, on how to deal with judgement about your parenting style