Teaching them to “do the right thing” and showing the “value of hard work” are among other key elements in what it is to be a mother today, the polling commissioned by the Church of England shows.
Others singled out their mother as a provider or a role model in the survey which was conducted ahead of Mothering Sunday this weekend.
Researchers at ComRes asked more than 2,000 British adults what is or was the most important thing their mother has ever done for them, from a list of statements.
By far the most popular, chosen by a third (33%) of those who responded, was the fact that their mother “was always there to support me when I needed her”.
Almost one in five (18%) said it was that she had taught them to do the right thing and just over one in 10 (11%) singled out the fact that she had shown them the value of hard work.
An equal share of men and women surveyed (7% each) said that the most important thing their mother had done for them was being a positive role model.
The Revd Dr Sandra Millar, Head of life events at the Church of England, said: “It’s great to hear that people appreciate mums way beyond stereotypes of cooking and cleaning.
“Being there for you, teaching and modelling good values and working hard are qualities that inspire and shape lives.
“The Church of England will be celebrating all these qualities this weekend with thousands of families across the country in schools, communities and churches.”
The survey also asked people to name one person they saw as the ideal mother.
The hundreds of different suggestions offered by the public ranged from figures from history to children’s stories or films while around one in 25 respondents (4%) chose their own mother.
Diana, Princess of Wales was the most commonly cited single figure, chosen by one in 20 (5%) of respondents. Other Royal mothers making it into the top 20 were the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Virgin Mary was also in the top 10 (as the eighth most popular option).
Other women who did not have children but were viewed as ideal maternal figures include Mother Teresa of Calcutta (chosen by 3%).
Notes to Editors
ComRes surveyed 2,015 adults in Great Britain online between March 2nd and March 4th 2018. Data was weighted to be representative of British adults aged 18+ by age, gender, region and social grade. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available here