For the Othermothers

Barbara Fagan
2 min readMay 11, 2021

An othermother is a woman who cares for children who are not her own. These women are aunts, sisters, grandmothers, nannies, stepmothers, mothers-in-law, teachers, friends, coaches, mentors and neighbors who play an integral role in fulfilling the psychological, emotional, physical and educational needs of children they did not bear.

Some othermothers are known throughout the world: Mother Theresa, Harriet Tubman, Wilma Mankiller, Maya Angelou, and so many more. Some we know from film and TV: Molly Weasley, Mrs. Gump and Anna Huxtable to name a few.

Most mothers find themselves in important othermother roles by supporting their children’s friends and the children of their friends and family.

Maya Angelou quote “I will look after you and I will look after anybody you say needs to be looked after, any way you say. I am here. I brought my whole self to you. I am your mother.

Being a mother is so much bigger than biology. It is a state of mind. An open heart. A willingness to sit down in the sandbox and get dirty.

Being a mother is not about self-sacrifice, though there is certainly some of that. It’s about being a model of a woman who takes care of herself and is therefore able to be present and helpful.

On this Mother’s Day, think about all those othermothers who have touched your life and maybe let them know!

And for those of you who are othermothers, thank you for the difference you make in so many lives!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Barbara Fagan-Smith
Chief Catalyst, Living ROI

P.S. I got a huge Mother’s Day surprise when my daughter, Emerald, and her boyfriend, Max, who live in New York, showed up at our home this afternoon!



Barbara Fagan

Founder and CEO of ROI Communication and the Chief Catalyst for Living ROI. She is committed to helping people and organizations bring their best to the world.