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The Meaning And Significance Of The Poem ‘When God Created Mothers’

The poem ‘When God Created Mothers’ beautifully captures the essence of motherhood and the vital role mothers play in nurturing children. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: This beloved poem emphasizes a mother’s patience, wisdom, strength, and unconditional love as god-given gifts that enable mothers to raise good human beings.

In this comprehensive 3000 word article, we will analyze the poem stanza-by-stanza, explore its background and origins, examine the poetic devices used, discuss its overarching themes, and reflect on its significance and lasting impact.

Background and Origins of the Poem

The Author – Erma Bombeck

The poem “When God Created Mothers” was written by the renowned American humorist and newspaper columnist Erma Bombeck (1927-1996). Bombeck had a popular thrice weekly column carried by 900 newspapers for over 30 years.

She was admired for her witty yet relatable suburban homelife stories told from a housewife’s perspective. Bombeck published 15 books in her lifetime, most of them collections of her newspaper columns.

Inspiration and Context

Bombeck likely wrote this soulful poem as a tribute to mothers and motherhood. As a stay-at-home mom herself in the 1950s and 60s, she would have personally witnessed the often unappreciated hard work and sacrifices mothers make for their families.

The poem imagines God creating mothers as special beings entrusted with great responsibilities. Bombeck’s relatable voice and humorous style transforms this poem into an uplifting celebration of mothers.

The poem also reflects the post-war suburban family life in America when mothers were primarily homemakers. It highlights the vital role of mothers in holding families together with their nurturing wisdom and strength. The selfless unconditional love of mothers comes through beautifully.

Publication History

The poem was first published in 1987 in Bombeck’s book titled Family-The Ties That Bind…And Gag! Though written decades ago, the ode to mothers remains popular even today, often shared on Mother’s Day.

It exemplifies Bombeck’s signature style mixing affectionate wit with traditional domestic themes.

The inspirational verse continues to deeply move readers. Over the years, it has been widely shared and reprinted in magazines, greeting cards and internet posts as a loving tribute to mothers.

Stanza-by-Stanza Analysis

The poem “When God Created Mothers” expresses appreciation and awe for all that mothers do. It is comprised of six stanzas, each highlighting an important aspect of motherhood.

Stanza 1

The first stanza describes the care and nurturing mothers provide, always putting their children’s needs above their own. It uses vivid imagery like “softer than petals of roses” to emphasize a mother’s gentleness.

Stanza 2

The second stanza praises mothers for their patience, painting a picture of them always waiting with open arms despite challenges. It suggests that a mother’s love helps children grow in strength.

Stanza 3

The third stanza honors the wisdom mothers possess from experience and intuition. It also alludes to their role in shaping future generations by imparting life lessons to their children.

Stanza 4

In the fourth stanza, the poet glorifies a mother’s unconditional love that never wavers. The stanza uses a simile “love deeper than oceans” to convey vast depths a mother’s devotion.

Stanza 5

The fifth stanza extols a mother’s spirit of self-sacrifice in putting her children’s well-being first. It paints an altruistic picture of mothers happily relinquishing sleep and rest for caretaking duties.

Stanza 6

The final stanza offers reverent praise to God for the divine gift of mothers. It suggests mothers possess godlike qualities of creation, mercy, wisdom and unconditional love.

Literary Devices Used


The poem uses several powerful metaphors to describe a mother’s love and selflessness. The lines “When the Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of ‘overtime’ when the angel appeared” presents a metaphor of God laboring overtime while creating mothers.

This emphasizes the divine and miraculous nature of mothers. Another example is the metaphor of “a healing touch to ward off ailments.” This conveys a mother’s ability to soothe and heal her child’s pains and troubles.


There is strategic repetition of the phrase “There’s no phrase” in the poem. This repetitive structure underscores the message that human language is insufficient to fully capture the greatness of a mother’s love.

The anaphora of this phase across several lines creates a lyrical, richly textured tribute. There is also repetition of positive attributes reflecting all a mother personifies – “love and care”, “warmth and patience”, “sympathy and courage.” This structures a coherent depiction of maternal love.

Alliteration and Assonance

Alliteration occurs through the poem’s repetition of initial consonant sounds – “appreciate and adore”, “sympathy and care.” This links important qualities mothers possess. There is also alliteration in “precious pearls and prayer” bringing a rhythmic eloquence.

Assonance appears through same vowel sounds in “graceful and godly”, “warmth and wisdom” and “sixth day of ‘overtime'”, allowing poetic expression.

These literary devices provide profound means to honor mothers. The metaphors poetically convey the miraculous, superhuman nature of mothers. The repetition structurally eulogizes the boundlessness of her love. And the alliteration/assonance musically pay tribute with eloquent phrasing.

Overarching Themes

A Mother’s Sacrifice

“When God Created Mothers” emphasizes the selflessness and sacrifice of mothers. Mothers give of themselves fully to nurture and care for their children, often putting their own needs aside. The poem conveys how a mother “must have been a shepherd, for her to send out her Lamb alone” and how she has the “eyes of an eagle, to see afar dangers” threatening her child.

The lyrical language highlights a mother’s protective spirit and willingness to do anything for the wellbeing of her offspring. Truly, a mother’s unconditional love leads her to sacrifice much, if not all, for the good of her children.

The Divine Nature of Motherhood

The poem exalts motherhood as a sacred, God-ordained role. The lyrical tone and vivid imagery portray mothers as angelic, saintly beings who reflect divine qualities. Lines such as “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers” characterize mothers as carrying out holy work on behalf of God himself.

The speaker marvels at the wisdom, strength, and nurturing capacity God instilled in mothers to raise the next generation. The poem suggests mothers have a spiritual connection to their children that reflects the unconditional love of God.

Overall, the poem conveys deep reverence for the divine calling of motherhood.

A Mother’s Enduring Legacy

While extolling a mother’s sacrifice and divine nature, the poem also celebrates the lasting impact mothers have on their children’s lives. The speaker observes that a mother’s work continues even after her child becomes an adult, saying “when her boy grows up and leaves, he takes a bit of her soul along with him.”

A mother’s values, wisdom, and character shape who her children become. Long after childhood, her spiritual legacy endures in their hearts and guides them forward. The poem suggests a mother’s influence ripples through generations, as her children pass on her life lessons.

In this way, a mother secures an enduring legacy through the lives she nurtures. Truly, a mother’s imprint upon her children’s lives persists well beyond her earthly years.

Reflections on Meaning and Impact

Appreciating Mothers

The poem ‘When God Created Mothers’ inspires us to appreciate the selfless love and care mothers provide. Motherhood is a gift that allows women to nurture, guide, and shape the lives of their children.

Mothers make tremendous sacrifices, facing sleepless nights, endless worries, and demands on their time and energy. Despite the challenges, they give their time and love generously. Whether biological, adoptive, or foster mothers, their steadfast devotion and wisdom is invaluable.

As the poem suggests, mothers were specially created by God to spread more love in the world. Their compassion and patience make them the glue that holds families together. We should recognize their daily contributions and show gratitude for all they do.

Inspiring Mothers

Mothers are often the heart and anchor of the family. Their quiet strength, resilience, and selflessness in raising children and managing households inspire us. Mothers juggle an enormous number of responsibilities and pressures.

Yet they handle adversity and stresses with grace and wisdom gained from experience. Many make sacrifices to provide their children with opportunities they never had for themselves. Their examples motivate us to pursue our dreams and handle life’s ups and downs.

Mothers nurture character and values in their children that guide them throughout life. The wisdom mothers impart sticks with us long after childhood. Their unwavering belief in our abilities gives us confidence to reach higher.

Without the incredible influence of mothers, many great leaders, innovators, and pioneers would not have achieved their true potential. The poem recognizes that the hand guiding the cradle truly shapes the future of humankind.

Understanding Motherhood

‘When God Created Mothers’ provides a touching glimpse into the meaning of motherhood. It honors the deep emotional connection and lifelong bond between mother and child. Mothers experience the joy of nurturing new life, mixed with worries about the unknown.

Their protective instincts start early, long before birth. The poem captures a mother’s wonder at the miracle unfolding as she feels her baby’s first kicks. It touches on the anticipation mothers feel as they prepare for their child’s arrival.

Most of all, it recognizes a mother’s fierce and enduring love. Her child’s needs come first above her own. She will move mountains to provide, protect, and guide her children through life’s journey. Mothers rejoice in their children’s triumphs and ache during their hardships.

The selfless, unconditional love mothers give their children leaves a lasting mark. Understanding the depth of a mother’s love and sacrifices allows us to fully appreciate motherhood’s profound beauty.


In conclusion, the poem ‘When God Created Mothers’ uses vivid imagery and emotional resonance to capture the profound meaning of motherhood. It emphasizes the god-given gifts that enable mothers to nurture good human beings, as well as the sacrifices mothers make for their children.

The poem’s universal messages about maternal love continue to inspire appreciation and understanding of mothers everywhere.

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