Glennon Doyle's quotes on being a mother will speak directly to your soul

You might have a hard time getting through these without crying.

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A New York Times bestselling author, activist and mother of three, Glennon Doyle exudes the kind of warmth and realness that make you wish you could sit down and have an in-depth conversation with her about everything from life's biggest questions to what you ate for breakfast that morning. Undoubtedly, what it means to be a mother would also be discussed. Doyle has written extensively about motherhood, sharing little nuggets of wisdom and relatable quotes in her best-selling books as well as social media accounts, and her fans (including me!), read every word.

Quotes about motherhood can sometimes seem trite or feel as though they're straight off of a greeting card, but Glennon Doyle is able to sum up this often challenging role in a way that is both reassuring and thought-provoking. And now many of her laser sharp words can be found all in one place.

Here are 11 times Glennon Doyle hit the nail on the head when it comes to the complexities (and humor!) of motherhood.



  • "My most important parenting job is to teach my children how to deal with being human. There is really only one way to deal gracefully with being human, and that is: forgive yourself." —from her book, "Carry On, Warrier: Thoughts on Life Unarmed"
  • "We're just trying to raise human beings. Right? And the definition of a human being is someone who just shows up and screws up and apologizes and starts over. So in order to do that, we have to show them all of ourselves. We have to allow ourselves to make mistakes in front of them and be what we would call imperfect in front of them and lose our temper. And. Show up and apologize and try again and forgive ourselves relentlessly because that's the only graceful way to be human." —In Season 4 of the Motherly podcast, cofounder Liz Tenety asks Glennon about her unique approach to motherhood
  • "Mothers have martyred themselves in their children's names since the beginning of time. We have lived as if she who disappears the most, loves the most. We have been conditioned to prove our love by slowly ceasing to exist. What a terrible burden for children to bear—to know that they are the reason their mother stopped living. What a terrible burden for our daughters to bear—to know that if they choose to become mothers, this will be their fate, too. Because if we show them that being a martyr is the highest form of love, that is what they will become. They will feel obligated to love as well as their mothers loved, after all. They will believe they have permission to live only as fully as their mothers allowed themselves to live. If we keep passing down the legacy of martyrdom to our daughters, with whom does it end? Which woman ever gets to live? And when does the death sentence begin? At the wedding altar? In the delivery room? Whose delivery room—our children's or our own? When we call martyrdom love we teach our children that when love begins, life ends. This is why Jung suggested: There is no greater burden on a child than the unlived life of a parent." —from her book, "Untamed"
  • "One can't truly know what kind of person one is until one's child announces she can't find her soccer jersey at 9pm. Turns out I'm a mean kind of person." —@glennondoyle
  • "I spent a lot of time teaching my kids to express their feelings but this morning I'm wishing I'd also mentioned the lost virtue of suffering silently. PENDULUM PARENTING = When parents overcompensate and screw our kids up the opposite way our parents screwed us up. If you're gonna teach your kids they can express every feeling: ALSO GET THEM A DIARY. So they can TELL THEIR FEELINGS TO THE DIARY." —@glennondoyle
  • "We don't have to have answers for our children; we just have to be brave enough to trek into the woods and ask tough questions with them." —from her book, "Untamed"
  • "One of the most popular quotes from Untamed is 'being human is not about feeling happy. It's about feeling everything.' If it's true for us, it's true for our babies, too. So maybe we stop trying to "make" our kids happy- and instead we just let them be everything. So they learn that being everything is okay. Perfect, even. It's not our job to make them happy. Here's to letting our kids BE. Here's to trying easier." —@glennondoyle
  • "My children do not need me to save them. My children need to watch me save myself." —from her book, "Untamed"
  • "The old definition of Mother doesn't ring true enough. I've stopped thinking of Mother as a fixed identity--something you are or aren't--and more of an energy all of us have inside of us, that we're either unleashing or not." —@glennondoyle
  • "We need to love ourselves if we want our kids to love themselves. We don't necessarily have to love them more; we have to love ourselves more. We have to be gentle with ourselves. We have to forgive ourselves and then...oh my goodness...find ourselves sort of awesome, actually, considering the freaking circumstances." —from her book, "Carry On, Warrier: Thoughts on Life Unarmed"
  • "It's so important to be a bad parent often. This way if our kids become parents, they will be able to forgive themselves for being human- Because they've seen us do it." —@glennondoyle

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