Sunday is Mother’s Day in America. As a mom, I feel a strong connection to other moms who are trying to make their way in this world - simultaneously trying to bring their own dreams into fruition while being emotionally and physically available for their children. It can be a very delicate balancing act.
In fact, you might say that a "mother's work is never done." This is a famous expression that has earned its place in the English vernacular because of the truth that it possesses. Moms are quintessential; therefore it comes as no surprise that the word "mother" appears in many English expressions.
So, with moms in mind, I thought I’d explore some idioms that are connected to moms this week.
Mother's Day Idioms for ESL Learners
Like mother, like daughter
This expression can be used like a complete sentence. For example, my daughter is as stubborn as I can be, so when she refuses to brush her teeth or eat her dinner, my husband might say, “Like mother, like daughter.” Now, he doesn’t mean that I don’t brush my teeth or eat my dinner! He is implying that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” and that our daughter has personality traits that are similar to mine.
To be a “mother hen”
Literally, a mother hen is a female chicken who has chicks. But if your mother is the type of person who is constantly trying to care for you even when you’d prefer that she didn’t interfere, then your mom might be a mother hen, too. A mother hen is overprotective and outspoken when it comes to her kids. As you can imagine, this character trait has its advantages and disadvantages!
Your mother tongue
This is synonymous with your “native language.” It’s the language you first spoke, and people use this term from time to time; I know I do!
My mother tongue is English. What’s yours?
The mother of all…
The Free Dictionary does a great job of describing this: “The largest, most extreme, or ultimate example of a particular kind of thing."
For example: The blue whale is the mother of all mammals, weighing in at 180 metric tons.
Or, if you see your friend eating a foot-long sandwich at Subway, you could say, “Man, that is the mother of all sandwiches!” It’s an exaggeration, but it’s a perfect use of informal language.
This was originally a mining term but has become a synonym for a large amount of something. Think of the word “lode” here as the word “load.”
For example: We weren’t having much luck fishing, but finally around sunset we hit a mother lode of catfish near the shore.
Try these idioms on for size this week! You’ll never remember them if you don’t use them. And, for all of you hard-working moms out there, I hope you have a minute on Mother's Day to stop and smell the roses. You deserve it!