Dear Oxford Dictionary – I’ts time you updated your definition

The Oxford Dictionary defines a mother as – A woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth

Mother Definition

I think it’s time to update that definition Oxford. And perhaps Webster dictionary, you could update your definitoin too – a woman who has borne a child.Excuse me if while I lift the giant chip off my shoulder, but frankly that definition really pisses me off. 

For me, the definition of a mother is so much more than a woman who gives birth to a child. Any woman can do that… well maybe not but still. For me, the definition of a mother is virtually endless. A mother is a nurturer, a protector, a disciplinarian, a companion, a teacher, a provider. A mother is someone who sets aside her own needs and wants for the sake of her children. A mother is someone who works hard, every moment of every day, to set an example for her children, to teach her children, to care and raise her children, to equip her children with the skills and knowledge they will need to grow up, safely, healthy, adjusted adults. Last time I checked, none of those things require the act of giving birth. 

To define a mother as someone who has given birth is to, in my opinion, down play the role a real mother has in raising her children because mother’s come in myriad of different forms. Step mother, adoptive mother, surrogate mother, birth mother, all of these types of mother have sacrificed, loved and nurtured a child they did NOT give birth to or are raising but they have still had a profound impact on the lives of their children, whether biologically their own or not. 

I am so tired of the lip service society plays to the roll of mother. I’m so tired of being told in one breath that I am a mother and then in another, having that definition of mother being a woman who gave birth, even when it’s done as a joke using funny mother meme’s.

It’s time. It’s time we formerly change the definition of a mother. It’s time to make the definition of a mother, inclusive all mothers and in so doing, honoring all mothers for the roles they play in raising their children.

Mother Definition Me





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  • Reply Gaelyn Cokayne

    Yes yes yes!! I didn’t give birth to Z, but I spend more time with her than any other biological relative she has. I am all the things you listed above, and then some! I am proud to be a mother!

    January 21, 2016 at 9:16 am
  • Reply chastin dreyer

    Absolutely agree the definition of a mother should be someone who brings up and nurtures a child through to adulthood and beyond no matter how the child was birthed and no matter the relation to said person! Anyone can give birth just like any man can give his sperm that does not make you a parent!

    January 21, 2016 at 9:52 am
  • Reply Heather

    Thanks Sharon for this post.

    January 21, 2016 at 3:53 pm
  • Reply panjels

    I had to field the classic “you’re not her real parents” comment recently. Flip it stabbed my heart! Who are we then? And what exactly would my little person think if she heard that? I know it was in the category of brainfart and they didn’t mean to hurt or even actually say it out loud… but it was a reminder that others still see a gap between my mothering and my child.

    January 22, 2016 at 10:16 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Exactly! And that’s why I think it’s time that that definition changed to be more inclusive!

      January 22, 2016 at 10:25 am
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    January 28, 2016 at 11:29 am
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