What is a mother?


When I was in college I needed to write an essay for an English class and at the same time I wanted to give my mom a gift from my heart for Mother’s day. So I wrote an essay to give to my mother that would express all the things she has taught me and the wonderful example she has always been throughout my life. So here is a copy of that essay:


Tammy Anderson

May 6, 1993

WHAT IS A MOTHER? According to Webster, a mother is a “female parent which has produced anything.” A mother is much more than a person who gives birth to a child. A mother is someone who teaches, guides, directs, protects, nourishes, prays for, worries about, has sleepless nights because of, makes decisions in behalf of, (even if they are tough decisions to make), and loves her children unconditionally. My mother is more than just the person who struggled giving birth to me. She is a woman of sacrifices and service.

She is a person who gives her all in everything she does. She always goes the extra mile, and tries to do more than is humanly possible, She unselfishly gives of her time, money, talents, and energy to help those in need. She is a person who is dedicated and responsible. She is a hard worker, and everyone knows they can trust her and they know they can depend on her and count on her.

She is a woman of strength. She stands up for what she believes in and she doesn’t’ back down. She is strong when she needs to be strong. When others need her to be strong for them, she is. She has a sixth sense, or in other words, she is in tune enough to know where she is needed most and is at the right place at the right time and she knows what she needs to do to help

They say that the three best ways a child learns are by example, by example, and by example. The most important things to learn in life have been taught to me by my mother through her example. She taught me the gospel, and through her example how to live the gospel. She taught me to pray and to have faith that my prayers will be answered. She has helped me realize where I should turn to for peace when my heart aches. She taught me to be responsible and dedicated. She taught me to love and care about those around me and to do what I can to help their lives to be better and happier.

She has helped me to see that it doesn’t matter whether I win or lose at something as long as I do the very best I can. She supported me and encouraged me in everything I wanted to do. She may not have been to every softball game or activity I was in, but she still supported me and silently cheered me on. She has always trusted me. She gave me a lot of responsibility at a very young age. She trusted me with that responsibility. I don’t know if I would have the courage to trust a child with what my mother entrusted me with.

My mother taught me the importance of getting a good education so that I could get a good job to support myself. She has taught me to be independent and to be all that I want to be. She has made me see the importance of being a good money manager and having financial security, but that money isn’t everything. Money isn’t the most important thing in life. The most important things in life are family, friends, testimonies of the gospel, service to other’s and loving one another. People are more important than money or worldly things.

My mom helped to establish family traditions. We have done and continue to do many things as a family. We get together for family reunions. Chrismas, Thanksgiving, the 4th of July, Easter, and other holidays and special occasions. We have many family traditions from the foods we eat, to the games and activities, we participate in. Some of these traditions have been passed down from generation to generation. The traditions we have, help to bring us closer together and learn about each other and about the heritage we come from.

My mother taught me to be a camper and to love the mountains and the beautiful world that was created for us. She taught me how to build a fire, to extinguish a fire properly, to tie knots, to use a compass and find direction using the sun and stars. She taught me how to purify water, and how to obtain water in the desert. She taught me how to make a bedroll, and how to find or make a suitable shelter for protection. She taught me how to use and handle a knife, ax, or saw. She taught me how to make good use of a piece of bailing twine. She taught me to make great dutch oven chicken and potatoes.

She taught me to appreciate nature and love the outdoors. She taught me what animals, plants, and berries are dangerous and which ones are edible. She taught me to keep the mountains beautiful and natural. to protect, not destroy, by not picking wildflowers or carving in the trees. She taught me the different types of trees, flowers, birds, animals, and cloud formations. She taught me how to survive in the wilderness. She taught me about wounds, burns, frostbite, heat exhaustion, snake bites, poisons, ticks, and heart attacks. She taught me how to treat and bandage injuries, do the Heimlich and CPR, and even how to take a ring off a swollen finger. I even learned how to keep a truck from overheating when going up a steep hill. (Don’t be in a hurry. You’ll get there faster if you take it slow).

My mom taught me how to bump, set, and spike a volleyball, how to shoot and dribble a basketball, how to throw a football, and hit a softball. She taught me how to saddle and ride a horse. She taught me how to swim. She even saved my life when I was drowning in the swimming pool. She taught me how to ride my bike, and shoot a gun, and drive a stick shift.

She taught me nursery rhymes and fairy tales. She taught me about the Cat and the Fiddle, the Cow jumping over the Moon, and Green Eggs and Ham. She taught me about birds baked in a pie, Fairy Godmothers, and going to the Ball. She taught me about eating porridge, and poisoned apples, and candy-covered gingerbread houses. She also taught me about Jack and Jill, Mary Mary Quite Contrary, Jack Sprat, Little Boy Blue, Goldilocks and Bears, sheep who lost their tails or went to school, or sold their wool, or got in the meadow. She taught about wolves, pigs, dwarfs, trolls, kings queens, evil stepmothers, handsome princes, and happily ever afters.

My mother has always allowed me to be myself. She let me climb trees and skin my knees. She let me catch toads, lizards, and water snakes. She allowed me to have experiences, even if they were potentially dangerous. She let me learn and grow and make mistakes so I could learn from them. She taught me right from wrong.

I remember a time when my mom was taking me to school that she gave me some advice. I was leaving home for the first time and going away to college. I don’t remember everything that was said, but she did let me know that leaving home and going out into the world wasn’t going to be easy. There would be decisions that I would have to make. She said to watch myself and to remember what’s right and wrong and to not let outside influences influence me. Basically, to be in the world but not of the world, and to always keep my standards high. She wanted me to learn from her experiences.

Mothers aren’t; perfect, just like kids aren’t perfect. We are put on this earth to help one another and work together to make life the best we can make it. We do the best we can, and we make mistakes along the way, but hopefully, we learn from them and move on.

My mom is a survivor. She has made it through good times and bad times, discouraging, depressing, and sad times. She has sacrificed a lot in her life. She always goes the extra mile, giving more than is expected. She puts her ALL into everything she does. She has always been there for me when I needed her most. We’ve had many special moments and fun times together. She has wiped many tears and bandaged many a scraped knee. She has always been there to pick me up when I fell. She has supported me in everything I’ve done. Most of all she loves me. And I will always love her. She’s the BEST!!! I am proud to have her as my mother.

Happy Mother’s Day

I Love you MOM

Tammy Anderson May 6, 1993

Now that I am a mother

I wish I could say that I remember everything that my mother taught me or that I am good at the things she tried to teach me. Now that I have been a mother, officially, for nearly 18 years I only hope that I have taught my kids the things they needed to learn and helped them in their journey to being who they are meant to become.

So much of the time, mother’s (including me) feel like failures. We feel like we aren’t enough. That we didn’t do enough. That we should have done things differently. Being a mother is the hardest thing we will ever do. There is a beautiful video that you can find here. Also, a great article by Jeffry R. Holland you can find here.

If you sometimes feel like you don’t “measure up” or are totally overwhelmed, or that “you just can’t do it anymore”, or that you have failed, just remember that you have not failed. Just keep trying and keep praying. With God’s help, You are Enough.

Mother’s and women are beautiful, perfect, brave, loved, strong, resilient, a child of God, and WE are ENOUGH.


There were times when I absolutely hated mother’s day. I know I am not alone when I say that. There were 5 years between the time I graduated from college and when I got married. So I was an adult woman but didn’t have any kids of my own. My greatest wish was to get married and have kids. I was sad and depressed on Mother’s Day.

So do the young boys at church give you a plant on Mother’s Day or don’t they?

Then I got married and became a step-parent, but I didn’t really feel like a “real” mom.

Again, do those young boys at church give you a plant on Mother’s day or don’t they?

Then for the next 5 years, I struggled to get pregnant and had a few miscarriages. Emotionally it was a hard time and on Mother’s Day, it was particularly difficult. Even after being blessed with children of my own, I didn’t feel like I was a good enough mother to deserve being honored on Mother’s Day.

Listen up!

  • Whether you have ever actually given birth to a child or not, you have had an influence and made a difference in somebody’s life. It takes a village to raise a child and you have helped to raise many children.
  • If you are a step-mother, you have taken on an extremely difficult challenge and you should feel honored on Mother’s Day. Let them spoil you and if they don’t think of you as a mother and spoil you, then don’t let that bother you. Just go out and buy yourself a box of chocolates, and plant a rose bush so you will always have some roses.
  • For those of you who are struggling because you dream of having a baby of your own. I understand how hard it is. I know that nothing I say here will help you. Just remember that God loves you and He has a plan.
  • Also, there may be some of you that have lost a child and are grieving and your heart aches, especially on this day. I am sorry and I hope you find comfort and that you can remember the happy moments of being a mom.

So if you are an unmarried adult woman, a step-mother, a wife without a child, or a mother that doesn’t feel deserving of the honor, do you take that plant that the young boys are passing out at church?


And remember you are deserving–You are Enough–and you are loved.


My daughter informed me today that if you turn the word “mom” upside down it says “wow”. I thought that was a great way to describe it. I guess it depends on whether or not it is being said in a negative sarcastic way or enthusiastically positive with a lot of emotion. When I think of the mom’s that I know, I think about how truly amazing they are. So “Wow” really is the right word to describe them.


I was curious to see what my kids would say if I asked them what I have taught them or helped them with. Hopefully I have taught them more than this, and hopefully, they will someday realize that I have done more for them.

My mom taught me how to:

  • cook
  • clean my room
  • be independent
  • be responsible
  • be a good student and do homework on time
  • do math
  • do laundry
  • write
  • make scones
  • tie shoes when we couldn’t get velcro shoes any more
  • ride a bike
  • roast a marshmallow
  • shoot a gun
  • Mom helps me with my homework and cleaning my room.


Please leave a comment and tell me how you feel about Mother’s Day or what your family gave you for Mother’s Day.

2 thoughts on “WHAT IS A MOTHER?”

  1. Roast marshmallows! I love this and I love the things the kids say you taught them!!! All hearts over here!!

    1. merelytenacious

      I hope I taught them more than they said. A lot of times we don’t realize how much our moms have taught us until after we have kids of our own and try to teach them. Thank you for commenting.

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