The following comes from a May 8 Federalist article by Rachel Lu:

Contrary to what your first-grade teacher may have told you, there are such things as stupid questions. “Do moms matter?” is one of them. It’s the sort of ridiculous query that actually should leave us spluttering for an adequate response.
Stupid questions aren’t always easy to answer. Sometimes the most fundamental things are hardest to explain, precisely because they are fundamental. Reasonable people do not dismiss the deep intuition that yes, mothers constitute a unique and vitally important part of a child’s moral universe.

In a way, maternity is best appreciated through the small (but innumerable) services that mothers supply every day without fanfare. At the same time, a mother’s contribution transcends any particular ideas we might have about the talents or temperament of particular mothers.

Some women struggle with this if they are not by nature emotionally demonstrative, or if their interests and talents don’t run in a particularly domestic vein. I had a slightly rocky transition to motherhood, because my actual personality and interests didn’t quite match my internal picture of what a mother should be. I had a strange idea that pregnancy and birth would transform me into the sort of person who preferred baby-swaddling to philosophy, and who found it positively delightful to devote my afternoons to dusting and organizing curios.

That didn’t happen. But, over time, I realized two things. First, good parenting begins with a willingness to do the things your children really need. This needn’t always fit harmoniously with your own preferences and interests. Second, the natural bonds between mothers and children run far deeper than we can immediately appreciate.
Of course, the day-to-day of mothering involves plenty of unglamorous work, and it’s absolutely possible to let your kids down through mistreatment or neglect. Nevertheless, the most unique contribution of a mother is, in some sense, just to be. To be a totally-unquestioned source of love and support. To be the “north” of the child’s developing moral compass. To be the anchor that makes him feel he has a natural place in this swirling, shifting, ever-changing world.

All of us realize at some early point that we’re not really up to the job. That, once again, is irrelevant. It’s the sort of role you fill because it is yours, not because you ever claimed to be qualified.

In our world, there are plenty of people who have no objection at all to creating a market for motherless children, all for the sake of fulfilling adult interests. The beauty of motherhood is no longer (alas!) securely cliché. This Mother’s Day, therefore, we should take a moment to reflect seriously on the thoroughly stupid question of why mothers matter. It’s a case we actually need to make.