Motherhood: A lifelong journey of letting go

Published 12:06 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

From the moment the umbilical cord is cut at birth, a mother begins the lifelong journey of letting go of her child.

Someone once said, “A mother’s job is to teach her children not to need her anymore. The hardest part of that job is accepting the success….Sometimes love means letting go when you want to hold on tighter.”

Author Erma Bombeck wrote in her humorous way, “I take a very practical view of raising children. I put a sign in each of their rooms: ‘Checkout Time is 18 years.’” Eventually, it’s time to “cut the apron strings” so we will no longer be dependent on our mothers.

Letting go happens when a mother watches other friends and family hold their newborn, as she sees her precious infant slowly passed from one set of arms to another.

Letting go continues when your toddler turns loose of the furniture or your fingers that he or she is holding onto to stand and the little one takes those first few shaky steps.

Letting go occurs the day the preschooler learns to pick up a spoon and feed himself or herself.   Letting go takes place when a mother registers her child for kindergarten and sends them off to school for the first day.

Letting go transpires the first time your child spends the night away from home with family or friends. Letting go means letting them experience the consequences of their choices – especially when you have warned them….but still rescuing them from danger in the nick of time.

Letting go means getting out of the driver’s seat and letting them get behind the steering wheel. One of the most difficult days of letting go is watching them back out of the driveway all alone, while saying a prayer for their safety.

Letting go includes high school band trips to away games and band competitions. Letting go means meeting the guy, who comes to the door to take your daughter on a date.

Letting go happens when we cannot hug our children because they go away to college, career or military in places far from home. A mother’s hug speaks love in any language. It’s been said that a mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.

“There is eternal influence and power in motherhood,” writes Julia Beck. Or as poet William Ross Wallace put it, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” Proverbs 31 describes the ideal mother, “She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her.”

Someone once said, “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.” Motherhood is a lifelong journey of letting your children go so they can grow up; but they’ll always be close to a mother’s heart.

Happy Mother’s Day to every mother!


– Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at