Viral Photo Paints the Perfect Picture of Strong Motherhood

In a culture where improving one’s status matters more than being responsible, we mothers know that we have our work cut out for us.
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Last Updated
April 22, 2019
posted on
March 2, 2020
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Minute Read

You may have seen the most recent viral parenting photo.

A fellow mom caught this mother teaching her son a lesson in the Hobby Lobby restroom. He was back-talking her, and every time he did, he had to do another push-up. As the woman who captured the moment said, “As your son gave you the back talk of the century, you stayed calm and collected while adding 10 more push-ups to his already growing number. We need more parents like you, who aren’t afraid to parent their own children because of what someone else might think."

This photo is the perfect window into the special relationship between mothers and sons. I have often said a strong mother will raise a strong son, and that is exactly who this mother is in this photo.

Sons learn so much from their mothers, but perhaps the biggest lessons are these: wisdom and responsibility. As women, we have an intuition that tells us what is right for our kids. It’s built into us. That’s wisdom. As the stabilizing force in our families—the ones who have given birth to and fed our children from birth—we also have an innate sense of responsibility. Because of this, our sons often learn these two important qualities from us.

In a culture where being successful trumps being wise and improving one’s status matters more than being responsible, we mothers know that we have our work cut out for us when teaching the lessons of wisdom and responsibility to our sons. But we are the perfect ones to do this.

We accomplish this first by modeling good wisdom and responsibility ourselves. We trust our gut and intuition, and we stand firm in doing what we believe is best for our kids as they are growing up, even if that means doing push-ups on a public restroom floor. Then when they are older, we can challenge them to follow us in our behavior. We do this by implementing strong boundaries and speaking up.

If your son is about to make a destructive decision, we tell him. If he has broken a rule, we enforce the consequences. All the while ensuring him we are allies with him, not enemies. Our sons need to know that we have their backs, even if it doesn’t seem this way.

Moms, when you are strong with your sons, they will respect the rules you’ve put in place and eventually they will see how much wisdom and responsibility is required for setting boundaries and sticking to them. This will instill the invaluable lessons of wisdom and responsibility in your son.

I’m not worried about the son in this photo. I know he will grow up to be strong because his mother is clearly strong. I hope this encourages mothers of sons everywhere. It’s hard work you’re doing. Setting boundaries is hard. Sticking to them is even harder. But I urge you to continue doing the hard work. You are instilling a sense of wisdom and responsibility in your son that may not be apparent now, but certainly will be when he is old. And it is you he will thank for that.

Dr. Meg Meeker, MD

Practicing pediatrician, parent, grandparent, coach, speaker, and author. Say hello @MegMeekerMD

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