provide with sustenance
Rachel worried that her daughter did not gain, and fussed over the fire concocting
stews which Mercy obediently tried to swallow.The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Whether through breastfeeding, bottles, or ordering a pizza, mothers nourish their children. The first meanings of this word applied to breastfeeding, but the word has broadened quite a bit. You can call any food nourishment, and you can even call some non-edible things nourishing. For example, a great book is nourishment for your mind. But as your mother would say, "Never, ever eat books."
shield from danger, injury, destruction, or damage
When she had asked me what I was going to say, I told her, “I’m going to
my own . . . you know how it is.The Freedom Writers Diary
Motherhood isn't just about feeding and clothing: moms protect their young, as you can find out for yourself by messing with a baby bear in the wild. Moms protect their kids from suspicious strangers, inappropriate TV shows, and bad decisions, like a toddler who thinks he can jump off the top of the couch and stick the landing. Moms are, in their own way, the most caring bodyguards in the world.
Along with this, self-preservation and development and reproduction, the
of offspring of like nature, are characteristic.Various
This word, best known for its use in the Bible, is something all biological mothers can put on their resume: they begat, to use the past tense. To beget is to have children: begetting is reproducing. This old Germanic word doesn't pop up too often these days, though it is useful in jokes.
providing nurture though not related by blood or legal ties
disturb, especially by minor irritations
His mother would be
to see him gulp his malted milk or bolt his sandwich.Kilmer, Joyce
As great as your mom is—and hey, I never said she wasn't, so relax—I bet she sometimes vexes you. This is a short, punchy, useful word for irritations. Mothers constantly worry about their children, so they tend to nag them—nagging is one of the top ten vexations in the universe. Vex has been a word since at least the 1400s, and it can be used in two ways. If someone is annoying you, you can say "Stop vexing me!" or "I am vexed!" Vexing is a two-way street, but both are a pain in the tuchus.
cause to feel better
I let her hold and
me like a little child, until I fell asleep.Purple Hibiscus
Mothers often soothe their children, especially little ones who start crying because they're hungry, they have to go to the bathroom, they're tired, or it's Wednesday. I have a friend with three small children, and she spends most of the day soothing. The origins of this word are surprising: soothing had to do with proving something true rather than making someone feel better. Soothe was related to soothsayer, someone who speaks the truth and is therefore hard to find these days.
give moral or emotional strength to
I don’t need to be patted or
, like a child.Allegiant
Consoling is similar to soothing. When you console someone, you make them feel better with kind words such as "You'll do better on the next math test" or "Here, have a cookie." Mothers have a lot of consoling to do, since children are constantly getting their knees scraped by the pavement and their dreams crushed by the world. Even as kids turn into adults, they still usually turn to their moms for consolation.
be concerned with
His mother would be
sick once she realized he was out in this weather.Hoot
inspire with confidence
her daughter’s natural musical talent by enrolling her in piano lessons.Hidden Figures
influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
Whether a woman parents her child as her mother
her, or adopts a different style, becoming a mother provides an opportunity for a do-over.New York Times (May 8, 2017)
be a motivating force or drive
Roy figured she used up her
skills every day at school and was too worn out to deal with Garrett when she got home.Hoot