I found this conversation with Elder Paisios to express what I have observed in the role of mothers I know.
It isn't enough to merely love another, we must love the other more than ourselves. A mother loves her children more than she loves herself. She will stay hungry to feed her children, yet she feels greater pleasure than they do. The children are fed materially, but she is fed spiritually. They experience the taste of food, while she experiences spiritual rejoicing.I always wondered why you always see more women in church than men. This self-sacrifice a mother gives a child is the essence of spiritual love, the kind of love that Scripture speaks so loudly about and calls us all to practice. Becoming a mother seems to be something that models the love we are expected to have for all human beings.
A young girl, before she marries, may sleep until ten in the morning and have her breakfast prepared by her mother. She may be too lazy to do even the slightest chores. She wants everything at her beck and call. She has expectations from her mother, expectations from her father, while she sits at her ease. And although she is capable of loving, this ability is not developed because she's completely receiving help and blessings from her mother, her father, her siblings. However, from the moment she becomes a mother, she resembles a little engine that the harder it works, the more it's recharged, because love works constantly. Before, she hated to touch anything unclean, and she used aromatic soaps to wash herself. But after she becomes a mother, when you see how she cleans her soiled child, oh, you would think she's touching marmalade; she's not repulsed by anything. Before, if she was woken up early, she yelled because she was annoyed. Once she becomes a mother, when her child cries, she stays up all night without complaint. She rejoices in taking care of her child. Why? For she is no longer a child. She becomes a mother; sacrifice and love have come into her life.
Reference: Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual counsels IV: Family Life: pp 84-85