Is it correct to say "Mother is my life"?

6

1

I need this phrase for some design as today is Mother's day. Basically, I want to say:

My mother is my life.

This is the graphic I designed which inspired me

enter image description here

Is “My mother is my life” grammatically, morally, ethically right to say this?

Mother is a very important person for everyone. So I don't want to make a mistake while using such phrase. I am asking this because I couldn't find Google search results for this phrase. Is it correct to use it?

Vikas

Posted 2018-05-13T08:26:25.090

Reputation: 379

2It is not culturally usual in English to say: "My mother is my life." There are many things one might say about one's mother and this is not one of them. It sounds like Hitchcock's movie Psycho. – Lambie – 2018-05-13T14:50:59.167

@Lambie Yes! Psycho is exactly what popped into my head as I was reading this question. "My mother is my life" sounds like an obsession rather than a healthy expression of love. – JBentley – 2018-05-13T20:54:08.487

@JBentley Indeed it does. Also, no one caught the fact it is not something one would write on a card, etc. – Lambie – 2018-05-13T20:57:22.397

2It's a very touching thoughtful and clever design. And, more importantly, it's not a sentence so it's absolutely fine. Pity you didn't explain the reason behind the question well enough. An image is worth a 1000 words! – Mari-Lou A – 2018-05-13T21:15:42.040

1Mother = Life (Mother Earth is life) "You are my life" – Mari-Lou A – 2018-05-13T21:26:44.973

2The graphic design in question is likely to be interpreted as "my life comes from my mother", not as the OP suggests. – svavil – 2018-05-13T21:59:12.640

@svavil I guess my design is saved. Also, I didn't get any complain from anyone for this. – Vikas – 2018-05-14T02:41:03.947

To me, that design says "MY MOTLIFE" which doesn't make a great deal of sense. – Michael Harvey – 2018-06-26T07:08:21.347

Answers

8

Grammatically, your sentence is fine. Morally and ethically, I don’t think you will find too many people who will argue that it’s wrong to honor your parents – especially on Mother’s Day.

That all said, I do think the phrase might sound a little bit awkward, depending on what you are trying to say. The phrase “is my life” implies that you are pouring your energy into something. If a mother of three young children were to say, “My children are my life,” that sounds more accurate, as most mothers of toddlers need to invest a lot of energy into taking care of their children. It’s a demanding and tiring job.

Most adults don’t usually invest the same kind of energy into taking care of their parents, unless perhaps their parents are becoming elderly and infirm. So, in my mind, the phrase is grammatically okay, but I think you risk using flowery language that sounds more overstated than accurate.

For that reason, I like some of the alternatives suggested in another answer, or you could simply say:

My mother is very important to me.

I am so thankful for my mother.

J.R.

Posted 2018-05-13T08:26:25.090

Reputation: 108 123

1Thank you for the explanation. However, this sound confusing to me: "My children are my life". Children are her life because she loves them and can't live without them. This sounds logical. What's the relation of "invest a lot of energy into taking care of their children" here? – Vikas – 2018-05-13T09:59:54.147

2When I hear the phrase “X is my life,” it doesn’t merely indicate that you love something – it also suggests that you pour a lot of energy into it. It consumes you. I can love my boat and enjoy fishing on weekends, but I wouldn’t say “My boat is my life” unless I was spending nearly every available recreational moment on my boat. If a friend told me, “Golf is my life,” but I knew he only played golf a few times a month, I'd give him a quizzical look. On the other hand, if I knew someone who played three times every weekend and was on the driving range most weeknights, that would make sense. – J.R. – 2018-05-13T10:09:40.403

1A mother of three young children might say “My children are my life,” not just because she loves them, but also because she invests so much energy in caring for them. It’s not just the affection and maternal love, but all the time-consuming laundry, cooking, cleaning, guiding and advising that comes with that love. So, whether or not the phrase is “correct” for you and your mother really depends on the nature of your relationship with her. Do you worry about her when you’re gone? Can’t wait to hug or kiss her when you come into the house? If so, maybe your expression is fine. – J.R. – 2018-05-13T10:11:55.533

2My children love me as their father, but I’d be uncomfortable if they told me, “My dad is my life” – even on Father’s Day. They are at a stage in life where they are (rightfully) investing their time and energy into their careers and adulthood as a whole. They may love me, but I am not the center of their world. – J.R. – 2018-05-13T10:21:10.547

1Some people are very sentimental and given to an intensity of expression that others see as hyperbole. I have heard people say that their smartphone, job, or political party is their "life". About the only common factor is that the thing mentioned is more than ordinarily important to the speaker. – Michael Harvey – 2018-05-13T12:08:22.693

1@VikasKumar if you're old enough to ask a question on SE, then it's seriously creepy to be all-consumed (which is what "is my life" means; see the golf example; young children typically consume so much of a young woman's time, too) by your mother. – RonJohn – 2018-05-13T13:41:06.197

Also, if this is for a card or poster or banner, "Mother is my life" is wrong. Not grammatically wrong; contextually and culturally wrong. Your suggestions are about talking to another person about the mother in question. What has that got to do with Mother's Day greetings and comments to one's mother?? – Lambie – 2018-05-13T15:22:16.417

To all: Basically I wanted to make this https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-7e691f71d7b5f1ea0c46ba29b1edf080 and I've made it now. My aim was to show that you love your mother a lot. Your life would be hard without her (It is true at least for me). What do you think now?

– Vikas – 2018-05-13T16:08:24.853

1@VikasKumar The graphic does not contain the sentence you ask about. It is very nice and very clever. So, you really needed to be more precise and careful. – Lambie – 2018-05-13T17:35:59.003

@Lambie I thought my design would eventually mean that. So I posted the question. Thanks. – Vikas – 2018-05-14T02:42:00.797

Graphic design cannot be said to equal some sentence word for word unless it actually contains the sentence. – Lambie – 2018-05-14T13:59:13.283

7

My mother is my life is OK, especially if you mean my whole life is my mother, I live my mother. Note that a person who is very religious might say The Church is my life. It means the Church always comes first and there is nothing more important than that. If you have a meaning like that on your mind, of course you are free to use the phrase My mother is my life.

Here are a few alternatives which you might like to consider:

  1. My mother is my everything / my angel / my treasure.
  2. There is no other like my mother.
  3. My mother is my hero.
  4. My mother is the most important person in my life.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Enguroo

Posted 2018-05-13T08:26:25.090

Reputation: 5 123

4I live my mother??? That is not English. "My mother is my life" is not OK to an English ear (of any variety). My goodness. Over attachment to a mother is not a good thing. Only a parent can say that about their children or a spouse about another spouse. – Lambie – 2018-05-13T14:50:28.827

@Lambie I wrote "I live my mother" to emphasize the meaning of "my mother is my life". You know, some people really do live their mothers, which is not OK. Why it's not OK is quite a different story. But I just meant to explain what " My mother is my life" would mean. – Enguroo – 2018-05-14T00:18:49.313

@Lambie I'm not sure ONLY a parent/spouse can say that. There are different life situations. It all depends. – Enguroo – 2018-05-14T01:23:18.607

2

I typed "Mother is my life" into Google and got 42 hits. If you surround text with quotes Google looks for an exact match. Many of these show "My mother is my life", but the phrase is equally applicable (fine) without "My".

Definition of 'be one's life'

phrase [VERB inflects]

If you say that something or someone is your life, you are emphasising that they are extremely important to you.

The Church is my life.

Collins Dictionary

Michael Harvey

Posted 2018-05-13T08:26:25.090

Reputation: 31 750

That's the problem with Google. Would you as a native English speaker ever say "My mother is my life"? In an English-speaking imaginary (imagination), it borders on the perverse. Now, it's different if a mother says that about her children. It may not be emotionally very healthy but people do say it and the culture accepts it. – Lambie – 2018-05-13T14:45:30.863

Some people are very sentimental and may say "My mother is my life" when what they really mean is "I love my mother", in an ordinary way, not Bates Motel fashion. – Michael Harvey – 2018-05-13T15:10:14.273

1Yes, of course, one can express one's love to one's mother. It's fine to write: Mother, I love you a lot. Or something of that ilk. Also, if one is writing on a card or poster, "Mother is my life" is not right at all. "Mother is my life" sounds like you are telling someone about it. So now the OP is misinformed about this altogether in my view. – Lambie – 2018-05-13T15:18:43.657

I typed "Mother is my life" (with quotes) and got 3,490,000 hits. Either you are mistaken, or this phrase went viral since your answer. – JBentley – 2018-05-13T21:02:32.247

Strange. Maybe I have a different Google. Image link

– Michael Harvey – 2018-05-13T21:45:46.450

I got 3,050,000 hits. But the top hit is this page, three of the next four are from a poem called "My Mother Is My Life Line" (quite a different turn of phrase!), and after that we start to get quickly into examples that seem to come from people who are not native speakers of English. Cull those out and there may be enough examples to show that this is a relatively ordinary phrase; but the raw hit count is not really helpful. – David K – 2018-05-14T03:06:02.543

@JBentley - Did you go to page 5 or 6 of those Google results? It’s not uncommon for Google to report a hit count in the hundreds of thousands on Page 1, yet run out of hits by Page 5 or so. My search reported over 600,000 hits, but only went to Page 2. Page 1 said: About 662,000 results; Page 2 said: Page 2 of 17 results. Note: my exact Google search was ”My mother is my life”. Leaving off the first “my” got me to 24 hits total, one of which said, "Being a wife and mother is my life”. – J.R. – 2018-05-15T11:07:58.553

2

"Mother is my life" means your mother. It is grammatically correct but it is not contextually or culturally correct for Mother's Day or as a form of praise.

If you are trying to thank your mother, it is not a good idea to make comments that sound as if you are talking to someone about your mother, which is what your sentence sounds like.

If it's Mother's Day, you want to address her directly. And that phrase is not right in terms of direct address. Of all the ways of saying your mother has played an important role is getting you to a certain point in your life or how important she has been, that is not the phrase to use.

It is very, very weird in the English-speaking world to say that. Over-attachment to mothers is a serious psychological condition.

The movie Psycho by Hitchcock is an extreme example of this phenomenon.

I do not want to write the card for you to your mother, but I suggest you find another sentence. However, the sentence might sound more like: "Mother, you are a very important person for me." In any case, I would use direct address and not indirect address.

Many times one sees these endearments starting with thanking a mother:

"Thanks for being such a great Mother!".

"Thanks for being my mother!".

"Mother, you're the best!".

Lambie

Posted 2018-05-13T08:26:25.090

Reputation: 26 929

1

Please see this: https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-7e691f71d7b5f1ea0c46ba29b1edf080 I've made this. I wanted to show it would be hard for me to live without my mother.

– Vikas – 2018-05-13T16:10:39.133

@VikasKumar If you are addressing her directly or indirectly, it is not good culturally. These types of things are good: Directly="Mother, you're the greatest!". Indirectly: "My mother is the greatest mother on Earth!". "Mother is my life" is not good for the reasons I have stated in my answer. I suggest you address her directly. Mother, you're the best. For example. – Lambie – 2018-05-13T16:15:46.973

3There is a big difference between the prose sentence “My mother is my life” and the graphic you posted on Facebook. I don’t think your graphic has the same kind of “creepy Psycho vibe” that the sentence might. Unfortunately, what happened today is all too common on ELL: Instead of telling the full story of what you’re trying to create, you only gave us a rough paraphrase. The graphic is thought-provoking and clever; the sentiment “it would be hard for me to live without my mother” seems to go beyond healthy mother-child interaction. Hopefully that’s just something getting lost in translation. – J.R. – 2018-05-13T17:13:15.517

The graphic is not the sentence asked about. The graphic is fine since it has the word MOTHER and out of that the word LIFE superimposed on it (actually graphically reduced from it). That is no way reads: Mother is my life. The graphic is FINE, no superimposition by me. :) – Lambie – 2018-05-13T17:34:27.587

@Lambie hope you understand. I have commented recently. Also, I shared the graphic on social media with caption "My Mother = My Life". I guess that's not bad. – Vikas – 2018-05-14T02:44:21.263

@VikasKumar My mother = my life would not be used in the West. – Lambie – 2018-05-14T13:55:11.157