What is Motherhood? A look at Mothers’ Responsibilities

“What is motherhood” can be answered by talking about and defining a mother’s responsibilities. Let’s break it down.

What is motherhood?

Here’s the thing – a large part of today’s struggles with motherhood and parenting is that we’re expecting mothers to do too much, period.

The actual definition of motherhood is: the state of being a mother.

But let me ask you something – do mothers have to do laundry? Do mothers have to do the dishes? Do mothers have to make the meals for everyone?

No, they don’t.

So in this article, we’re going to talk about a mother’s responsibilities as a mother and person and a mother’s responsibilities as a parent.

What are a mother’s responsibilities as herself?

Generally speaking, as a mother (not a parent,) her responsibilities are to foster her relationship with her children.

A mother’s responsibilities are NOT to clean the house, comfort the children every time there’s tears or make meals every day.

As only labeled as a mother, her responsibilities are not a long to-do list of items around the house.

To foster a relationship with their children

As a mother, her responsibilities include anything that helps foster a relationship with her children. This includes one on one time, learning their personalities, getting to know their likes and dislikes, etc.

To take care of herself

Yes, practicing regular self-care is one of your responsibilities as a mother. I know it’s hard to accept that we should be taking care of ourselves as well as our children (thanks, society) but it’s so necessary to continue being an effective parent and mother.

A great place to start here would be with my podcast and my free Self-care guide for the Mom Going Through it.

What are a mother’s responsibilities collectively with their partner?

These are the things the mother needs to collaborate with the other parent to get done.

If you struggle with this, I suggest starting with the book The Fair Play Method (affiliate link) by Eve Rodsky and hoping over to Instagram and checking out @ThatDarnChat (Laura Danger). She talks a lot about the Fair Play Method and equal rest and domestic labor in the home.

You have to start by breaking down all of the tasks at home and then splitting them up between the two of you. Some you can hire out, give off to your kids, or just take off of your list completely.

There are a lot of categories that come into play here and I could go into all of them – but that would derail me from my point. My point is that the mother shouldn’t be the one doing all of these things, therefore it isn’t a part of motherhood. It’s a part of caregiving and parenthood.

Do Partners have the same responsibilities as mothers?

YES! Your partner also has relationships to build with the children and also have a house to take care of. There is nothing that says that it should all fall on the mother.

Key takeaways

  • As mothers and partners individually, their responsibilities are to focus on their relationships with their children. The things only THEY can do for and with them.
  • As parents collectively, it is their job to divide up tasks fairly between them (with taking into consideration that you can get rid of some household tasks, hire out or hand off to kids).
  • Mothers and fathers both need to take care of themselves and be people outside of their role of parents

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