Did you notice, like I did when typing this post, that the difference between both words is an "s"? Yes, that letter usually used to indicate more (an increased quantity) of something - now that's something to think about. Of a truth, when you "over-mother," you start to smother* your children and/or those you are a mother figure to.
Before I continue, let me pause here to say "Happy Mother's Day!" to all of us wonderful Mothers/Mother figures.
Have you had time to think about the difference the letter "s" makes to the word and role? Smothering can be deadly while Mothering is life-giving.
So what is "Mothering"? I'd like to liken this to nuturing a plant...with enough nutrients, water and sunlight, the plant will grow healthy and be productive hence fulfilling God’s plan for its life. Smothering, in this instance, will be overfeeding, over-watering and over (or even under) exposing the plant to sunlight. Yes, too much of a good thing can be bad and even destructive - or worse yet, deadly.
A good mother is a model not a mould. While we have a duty to "mould" our children, we are not to fit them into our mould. Their lives are not to be a replica of ours - if they are, then we have not succeeded as mothers (and fathers). You can quote me. We're quick to say and sing: "Abraham's blessings are mine" - do you realize that one of Abraham's blessings was that though he was great (Gen 12:1-3), his son, Isaac, was very great (Gen 30:43) and his grandson, Israel was exceedingly great (Gen 26:13) - all because he was a model (Gen 18:19) not a mould.
What would you do if you felt like you were suffocating? Stay put or run for breathing space?
I remember a time when I felt I was being over-mothered (aka "smothered"), my reaction was to run, actually more like "revolt" - and no Mother/Mother figure ever wants that.
Like Isaac Newton said, "For every action results in an equal and opposite reaction."**
When you mother, children (even as adults) will run to you; if you smother/over-mother, children - long before they become adults and after - will run from you.
I join your family, friends and the world to celebrate you today and pray that you'll be a HAPPY MOTHER*** beyond this Mother's Day. Keep Mothering qualitatively, avoid smothering (over-mothering) which is quantitative. Once again, Happy Mother's Day! God bless you & yours.
* Smother means surround (in an overly protective manner), stifle, suffocate
** Newton's Third Law of Motion
*** Ps 113:9