The Oath of Motherhood

by Susie Johnson
Originally Published: 
A joyful mother with brown hair, dressed in blue, reclining and tenderly kissing her baby.

When you become a doctor, before you practice medicine, you take the Hippocratic Oath, swearing to practice medicine honestly.

When you become President, before you assume your presidential duties, you take the Oath of Office.

When you become a mother, there’s nothing.

No pledge.

No oath.

No promise.


That needs to change.

If we are all going to survive this motherhood thing, there’s some shit we need to agree to.

So, I present to you…

The Oath of Motherhood.

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those mothers in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

If they ask for it.

Otherwise, I will shut the hell up.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick child, all measures which are required. But when she falls, I will not scream in horror.

I will advise her to shake it off.

I will not turn my child into a total overdramatic wimp so that the rest of the mothers have to listen to him throw a fit and scream bloody murder at the first sign of discomfort.

I will not be ashamed to say, “I know not.”

When I am having a shit ass day, I will ask for help.

I do not need to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I will respect the privacy of my fellow mothers.

If they do not want to tell me a secret, I will not pry.

If they do want to tell me a secret, I will keep that shit a secret.

I will prevent feelings of inadequacy whenever I can.

If I make lunch out of pomegranates, quinoa, flax seed, and kale that looks like Bert and Ernie, I will not post a picture of it on Facebook.

And if my kids actually eat that shit, I will tell you they really had Goldfish and Mountain Dew for lunch.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow mothers.

If I see an inch-long black hair growing out of the side of another mother’s neck, I will tell her.

And if I happen to have tweezers, I will offer them to her immediately.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and membership in the tribe, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter.

May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of motherhood.

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