A Mother’s Day Tribute – What Is A Mom


Jeffrey Leiken, MA Evolution Mentoring International
A Tribute To Moms  – Mother’s Day 2011
Today is Mother’s Day. I wanted to take a few minutes to write a tribute to Mother’s everywhere, but especially to my wife. I hope you enjoy this piece. Happy Mothers Day to all of you.

In my business, mom’s often get a bad rap.

To many teens, mothers are the overprotective, overly-worried, overly concerned, micromanaging parent.

According to Sigmund Freud and his many disciples, Mom’s are to blame for most of our neurotic tendencies and issues. “Tell me about your mother…”

In the Jewish culture that I come from, mom’s have even another layer of baggage heaped on top of them. The jokes about high-maintenance Jewish mothers have been told a million and one times.  [Serendipitously, I was picturing Joan Rivers as the poster-child for this stereotype when I wrote this line while on the plane home from Los Angeles yesterday, only to find out when we landed 20 minutes later that Joan Rivers was actually sitting right in front of me on the flight. What do you make of that?!?]

So what is a Mother really?

Sure one becomes a mom the moment they bare children or adopt and assume the responsibility for raising kids.

But that is the technical answer, and while it is accurate, it is missing something.

I remember when my wife was pregnant and her motherly biology began to kick in… She could hear things no one else could hear, smell things no one else could smell and feel things no one else seemed to feel. Her full biological capacity as a woman kicked into high gear.

Her sensory awareness was almost other-worldly and every mom I’ve ever spoken to, tells me similar stories.

Biologically this makes sense.

A Mother needs to be able to notice all the most subtle details to be able to attend to the most primal means through which a newborn communicates – noticing the messages contained in the different cries, reading the messages contained in the different looks, sensing when their child need to be fed or to nap before they get too hungry or overly tired…

They often call this the Motherly Instinct.

Sure dad’s can learn many of these things too – but we must learn it.

Mother’s just do it.

The only thing that stops them from just doing it seems to be they listen too much to the advice and opinions of others, instead of just listening to the wisdom contained in themselves.

As my daughter grew, my wife’s capacity for patience, reassuring calm and tolerance seemed endless.

I remember at one point when my daughter was about a year and half old, my wife told me:

 “As long as I just let go of everything else and just be mom, I am totally fine. It is only when I try and be other things to other people that I get stressed.” The same was true of having conversations . “I sit at the table and I can hardly compose a coherent sentence when I speak with adults about adult things.”

But anytime we’d be out somewhere and another mom would talk to her about mom stuff, the sentences flowed and still do.

I’ve heard so many mom’s tell me things like this too.

As the months began to become years and our daughter’s baby babble became constant chatter, the need for constant attention gave way to the desire for independent, free play and the time and room for my wife to attend to her own needs as an adult returned, so did the regular work outs at the gym, the making plans with friends, etc.

But the moment her need as a Mother is required, everything else gets dropped with no hesitation, no complaint and no resistance.

There is nothing more important in the world than to be there as a Mother and to offer the piece , or should I say peace, that only a mother can give.

I think it is best summed up with this story:

On St. Patrick’s Day the teachers in Nursery School told the kids a magical story, then gave out colorful bead necklaces for each child to have. As they went around the room, the children reached in the bag and took one. “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!” is their policy.

Well my daughter reached in and pulled out a green one, but what she really wanted and was wishing for was a purple one.

She was so disappointed but she held it together, not saying a word and not throwing a fit.

When the door opened and the children came outside after school that day, they ran out with their necklaces flashing. My daughter came out with her green one.

I kneeled down for her to run to my arms as she does every day at ‘pick-up’, but instead she ran right by me and crawled into my wife’s arms, burying her face little face in her mom’s shoulder and blubbering away about how disappointed she was that she didn’t get the purple necklace.

She didn’t complain. She didn’t pout about it not being fare. She just accepted how it was, and felt deeply how hard life can be at times.  Like my wife and myself, she feels things deeply, and I hope she always does, even when it isn’t pleasant. It just makes things harder at times.

My wife hardly said a word. Instead she just sent the message the way only a mother can do – letting every cell of her being just resonate the most important message of all, “You are okay. All is okay. Even in your tears and disappointment you are okay.”

And then she just held our little one and let her tears get absorbed into her shirt, soaking them up the way so many of Mother clothes have done throughout all history all over the globe.

In a few minutes the tears were gone, the smiles returned and we were on our way home.

For my wife and daughter though they were already home.

Home in being a Mother. Home in soaking in the nurturing reassurance that only a Mother can give in this way that speaks so deeply and completely to a child in a language that is as old as time and that cannot be captured in writing or words.

I thought about what had just happened, and how many times it happens.

My daughter and I are as close as a father and daughter can be, and I am totally capable of patiently reassuring her in any moment she needs it…

But when it comes down to it there is something a Mother can offer that a father just can’t. This is the way nature works and that G-d intended it to be.

It is biological, and yet it is also something else…

It is how biology merges with something so much greater and bigger than any one of us… I like to think of it as biology and Soul… when combined in just the right way, we have a Mother… and today is a day to honor Mothers, nature’s perfect mix of biology and Soul.

So here is to Mothers.

Our own.

Our children’s.

And all the Mothers in the world.

Happy Mother’s Day to all, but especially to my wife  – Peyton’s mom.

All the best,


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