The Hopeful Mother


The whole idea of motherhood is an implication of hope. Her business is about raising the next generation as she keeps an eye toward the future and the possibilities for her posterity, which fills her heart and mind with all sorts of ideals. Wouldn’t it then be strange, that mother in keeping to her duty would shun any idealizing of her own role with her being a causal agent in the child’s life? It is only my broad observation, but there appears to exist in the younger generation a sort of intellectual snobbery toward an ideal. An ideal is simply a vision of possibility.  I guarantee my life circumstances in so many areas, like most on the planet, have fallen short of an ideal clung to, but it has been the very  vision of the ideal that has fueled a  hope within, which in turn has moved me to better action, especially as Mom. I’ve always liked the title of President Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope. It implies to me a boldness of expectation in achievement of an ideal others might otherwise scoff at, but let them scoff.  I am grateful my faith affirms an ideal for motherhood.  A word like noble reminds me that although motherhood is universal, it is for no common purpose. Innately it stands dignified and principal. This truth transforms my monotonous and sometimes difficult tasks, though reality means not necessarily in the moment. Noble work doesn’t have to feel noble, and feeling one way or another does not diminish the reality of its importance. Angelic is another word that is often associated with the work of mothers. Why not when the work of angels is to minister, proclaim truth and stand in the trenches as warriors.  I need these ideals. They audaciously sustain my hope in me as a Mom, because when circumstances feel or truly are less than ideal, I know motherhood never is, never was and never will be.  

Mothers: The Next Generation’s Hope for the Future


     This is Lydia Sigourney’s message in her beautifully intelligent 1838 treatise on Motherhood, “Letters to Mothers”. Each page inspires one to recognize the noble and glorious work of Mother, while instructing in a gentle manner through story, anecdote, and practical wisdom. Her work brings energy to the soul, and will strengthen your resolve as a Mom.  A few of her notions for a woman’s place will seem starkly Victorian, but her message to mothers remains a timeless model worth emulation.

“Let Mothers mingle their teachings with smiles, and the dialect of love. It is surprising how soon an infant learns to read the countenance, how it deciphers the charm of a cheerful spirit, how it longs to be loved.

….the strength of a nation, especially of a republican nation is in the intelligent and well-ordered homes of the people. And in proportion as the discipline of families is relaxed, will the happy organization of communities be affected, and national character becomes vagrant, turbulent, or ripe for revolution.”

“Do you ask, when shall we begin to teach our children religion ? As soon as you see them.As soon as they are laid upon your breast. As soon as you feel the pure breath issuing from thatwondrous tissue of air vessels which God has wreathed around the heart. The religion of a new-born babe, is…”  (Infancy)

     The above are quotes from Lydia, Christian wife, mother, and the American poetess of the Victorian era, known as the “Sweet Singer of Hartford” and the “Female Milton”.  Her popular wisdom inspired many 19th century female Lyceum Societies to be named after her. It is a shame her work has quietly gone into the dust bin of History, but old can be new again. Give yourself, your family, and society a gift this Mother’s Day and share , “Letters to Mothers”. You can find her work free online at :