Mom, Mothers, Baby, Mother's Day, Mother's Day 2012

Economics and Mothers Who’ve Never Had or Adopted Children

Though we do not often think of it in this way, Mother’s Day can serve to remind us of the enormous economic impact mothers have on society. The contribution mothers make goes far beyond whatever job they might hold in the workplace. A mother serves as both caretaker and educator. These are jobs of the utmost value, not only when we are young but when we are older. Most of all, mothers give us something you cannot put a price tag on; love.

What, however, of mothers who have never had or adopted children. Do we recognize their contributions on an individual as well as a societal level?

Some of you might be scratching your heads. “Mothers who have never had or adopted children?” you are asking yourselves, “Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?” And the answer is yes, mothers who have never had or adopted children and no it is not a contradiction in terms.

There is being a mother by way of biology. There is being a mother by way of adoption. And there is being a mother by way of action, even when it is not supported by biology or adoption. What of all the aunts, cousins, next door neighbors and friends – women who do not have children of their own – who often step into the role of mother but do it without carrying that title?

These women often act in the same ways as “official” mothers. They work as caretakers and educators. And they bestow upon those in their charge much love.

Where would society be without the aunt who, having no children of her own, freely nurtures her nieces and nephews? Often, these aunts share in the process of child rearing to such an extent that the actual mothers of these children have more time available to work or pursue an education. What is the net economic benefit of this to society?

What about the neighbor who might not work and might not have children of her own but is always there with a helping hand to care for neighborhood kids? And, of course, what of the childless godmother who gives her all in the raising of her godchildren? Not only do these good women provide essential love to these children, they have a positive economic impact on society.

Let’s give thanks to all mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, etc., not simply those with the official title but those who fulfill that role by way of action. Women who are childless yet take upon themselves the role of mother make a valuable contribution to society, economically and otherwise.

*A very smart person made me aware of this powerful concept of mothers who have never had or adopted children. I thank them.

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.

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