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What Moms Really Feel on the Inside

Woman to Woman

It has been generally found and concluded by various researchers that women with the most positive attitudes towards motherhood described themselves as loving, patient moms with supportive spouses. Those with the most negative attitudes had children with more problems, unsupportive spouses, and less loving children. These women described themselves as impatient and shorter on love.

When National Family Opinion Incorporated polled 1,100 moms between the ages of 18 to 80 in the 1980s, it found…

  • One in four women with very positive feelings about motherhood.
  • One in five women with mostly negative feelings about motherhood.
  • The majority of women with primarily ambivalent feelings on motherhood.

However, what is important is the final outcome. Despite the frequency of negative feelings, distress, or anguish, a mother's moments of joy with her children carried more psychic weight into her evaluation. In everyday living, the positives of motherhood are more powerful than the negatives.

A Mother's Love Isn't Always Unconditional

A mother's love has been characterized as different from all other forms of love. Women have expressed a mother's love using such words as the following:

  • Intense
  • Stronger
  • Biological
  • Protective
  • Giving
  • Forgiving
  • Responsible

Although it seems to be widely acknowledged that mothers say love for a child is unconditional, numerous accounts offer opposite testimony.


Too much of a good thing can turn sour if a mother loves blindly in a way that keeps the child from growing, developing, and dealing with frustration. A mother's love must incorporate and accept the separate identity of a child with all of the human frailties and disappointments from which no one is exempt.

Ingredients for Extreme Motherly Love

There are, in fact, reasons why some mothers are able to love more, love less, and love unconditionally. According to research, the factors that allow a mother to feel overwhelmingly positive about her children and love them despite any or all negative inferences include…

All of this is a lot to ask of a mom these days, especially on a daily basis. Practically speaking, it is an overriding combination of these activities that is present most of the time but not all of the time in moms who love their kids the most.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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