Mom is a Metaphor for Home

“My story starts where every man’s story starts: with mom.”[1]

Mom is our very first home. Every one of us began our lives in our mother’s womb. Here we were nurtured, fed, protected, and grew until we were old enough, developed enough, to leave the womb and peak our head out into the world. Which, of course, was a shock. Leaving home is always a bit of a shock. The first time we did it, we were quickly returned to our mother’s breast and cradled in her arms. Instinctively we turned to mom for food and comfort. She held us as our eyes wandered and stayed close when our chubby little limbs became strong enough to crawl, and then walk. With curiosity we ventured farther and farther away, always scrambling back to her when we were afraid.

Mom is a metaphor for home. Mom is constant. She protects us, nurtures us, and “houses” us. She is a safe harbor, providing consistency and security. When this is true, when we have no reason to doubt she will be there for us, we are free to go off and explore. First, the rooms of our dwelling, then maybe playing with friends. Eventually we explore the backyard, the neighborhood. And finally, when we are old enough, developed enough, we leave this home, our mother’s home, and peak our heads out into the larger world. Maybe we go off to college. We travel. We create our own homes. Our world gets bigger but Mom is constant. Wherever Mom is, is home.

Remember Max in Where the Wild Things Are? We never see his mom, but she is there. She calls out to him. Max stomps around and then sails off to play precisely because his mother, his home, is a given, a constant. He has no reason to worry his mother won’t be there when he returns. And when he does, when he becomes lonely and wants “to be where someone loved him best of all,” he sails back home and finds supper—still hot—waiting for him in his room. It doesn’t matter that we don’t see his mom bring him his supper. Mom and his room, his home, are one in the same: this is where he is loved, protected, and nourished.

Some of us didn’t have a mom that was there. Her presence wasn’t guaranteed. Maybe someone else filled this role for us: a father, a grandparent, a sister, a teacher. Hopefully, all of us have, at some point, at least felt “mothered” by someone. The maternal presence of someone who cares for us deeply, cheers for us, who loves us just the way we are.

Today we celebrate our very first homes, our mothers, the ones who held us in their wombs. And we celebrate every person who has mothered us along the way: the ones who have cared for us, nurtured us, protected us, loved us, believed in us, and eventually nudged us out into the world to be more. Always still there for us, always waiting. Always ready to welcome us home.

Happy Mother’s Day, friends.

May you feel safe, loved, and protected today. Wherever you are, may you feel the presence of home.


[1] Said by the character Tom Warshaw in the film, House of D. Dir. David Duchovny. Performances by Anton Yeltsin, Tea Leoni, Robin Williams, and David Duchovny. Lions Gate, 2004

2 Comments on “Mom is a Metaphor for Home

  1. Pingback: Not Every Mom Is A Good Mother – Jan Peppler HOME

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