The Complete Mother: Who – and What – is She?


This is a mother who clearly knows what she is doing with her son or daughter. There is no lack of insight or empathy; she is emotionally balanced. The complete mother fully understands the incredible role she plays and influence she will have on her children now and for the rest of their lives. This mother has the ability to figure out what her daughters or sons need, want, and desire, and she helps them to get it or creates the opportunity for it.

This isn’t a super mom or a “saint,” who makes no mistakes or tries to be perfect. She is a woman who could be twice divorced, widowed, unmarried, single, gay, artificially inseminated, or married with seven children. Her life circumstances don’t dictate or determine how she is going to be a mother to her children. Education level, age, economics, ethnicity, or personal relationships don’t create emotional or social barriers to being the mother of the twenty-first century. Those self-imposed limitations aren’t part of her psychological understanding and experience of motherhood. This is a woman who is committed to motherhood, regardless of her career or outside responsibilities. She is a “mother’s mother.” The other mothers in the neighborhood, at work, and in her social circle will seek out her advice, support, and guidance. The other mothers know that this woman psychologically “gets” the mothering job. Her understanding is based on her own complete mothering style and secure emotional legacy. This mother may or may not have had a horrible, conflicted, self-absorbed mother, but she has used her childhood as a springboard to being the complete mother.

Regardless of her own mother-daughter relationship, this woman, mother, and partner has the keen insight and acute awareness to not miss the opportunity of a lifetime and actively be part of her children’s lives. All the kids in the neighborhood want her as their own mother. She is a patient, loving, and nurturing soul. Everyone craves her time and understanding. In the workplace she is the ideal co-worker, supervisor, or company executive.

People are comfortable in her presence and respect her opinion. The complete mothering style probably represents about 10 percent of all mother-daughter/son relationships. It is very important to understand how this mother is able to manage, securely connect with, consistently bond with, and emotionally empower her children so they can excel. These children of the complete mother know they are fortunate to have a mother who can see them as individuals and help them discover their individual paths and dreams. The complete mother is capable of nurturing her daughters and sons so they can successfully separate and form their own identities. Many mothers aren’t aware of this all-important step toward maturity and don’t prepare themselves or their children to move forward into adult life.

The complete mothering style prepares her daughters and sons from an early age to embrace their life and to take the necessary developmental steps. One reason that this mothering styles is called “complete” is that the mother has the ability to assist her children to achieve their own sense of autonomy while still remaining emotionally connected to her. One of the hallmarks of being a successful mother is allowing your children to separate and form their own identity in late adolescence. It is crucial for all daughters and sons to take this step in order to function in adulthood with a secure identity and stable emotional attachment style. Each mothering style will either hinder or facilitate this all-important life transition. No one can live at home forever, even though many young adults choose to live with their parents until their early thirties. The reason for some emotionally late bloomers isn’t because rents are so high or they can’t find a roommate, it is the emotional enmeshment and underdeveloped identity in the mother-daughter/mother-son relationship.

Dr. Stephen B. Poulter. Excerpt from “The Mother Factor”