A Google Search For 'Motherhood' : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture This Mother's Day, psychologist Tania Lombrozo revisits a Google search on motherhood, noting that while being a mother is hard, the experience of motherhood is ever-changing and enchanting, too.
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A Google Search For 'Motherhood'

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The Google search autocomplete on a search for 'motherhood' shows that while it is hard, it's also magical.
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Two years ago, when my children were 1 and 4, I "found" the following poem with the help of Google's autocomplete search function:

A Google search for motherhood in 2015.
Courtesy of Tania Lombrozo

Today, with children now ages 3 and 6, I decided to repeat the experiment:

A Google search on motherhood in 2017.
Courtesy of Tania Lombrozo

What I take away: First, motherhood is hard. That's just what the data suggest.

Second, the experience of motherhood isn't constant. An individual mother's experiences change as her children grow, as her circumstances are altered, and as her own life evolves. Alongside the changing trajectories of individual mothers are changing norms for parenting and women. If I repeat this experiment in another two years, I expect to find a new poem once again.

Third, amid the difficulty and flux of motherhood there's some element of enchantment. Call it magic or a muse, there are times of wonder and awe, rapture and joy, dazzling moments of inspiration amid the inevitable moments of perspiration.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers and their children!


Tania Lombrozo is a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She writes about psychology, cognitive science and philosophy, with occasional forays into parenting and veganism. You can keep up with more of what she is thinking on Twitter: @TaniaLombrozo