From The Catholic Family Handbook by Fr. Lovasik
As the father is the head of the family, the mother is its heart. Just as Pope Pius XI speaks of the father as “strong in faith and manly in virtues,” he speaks of a mother as “pure and devoted.”
Elsewhere he says, “As the father occupies the chief place in ruling, so the mother may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.”
But the Holy Father speaks of supernatural love, not of the tender maternal love-instinct upon which the supernatural is built.
Natural love, which is excellent in itself, and offers the possibility of untold good, may even at times be a hindrance when you are imprudent and cannot keep your children truly obedient, cannot refuse what is harmful, and cannot punish if necessary.
It may be abused if it is made a wedge to separate the children from their father. Supernatural love exercises the strongest appeal. Of it are born piety, modesty, purity, and fear of the learned at the mother’s knee.
Every person has a supernatural destiny, to be worked out in time. He must be educated for what he must be and what he must do here below, in order to attain the sublime end for which he was created.
That education is the result of the combined efforts of both parents. But in his youngest years, the child is almost exclusively under the mother’s guidance.
Your efforts are to produce effects that will have their final reckoning in eternity. Although your educational influence is of a nature entirely different from that of the father, your vocation as mother is equal in importance to your husband’s.
Most adults attest that mothers have had far more to do with the shaping of their character than fathers have.
But so necessary are both that if either is lacking for any cause whatever, the education of the children is seriously, and sometimes fatally, handicapped.
As far as possible, be at home with your children. As you nourished your child before he was capable of eating solid food, so in the early formative years, nature has determined that you must nourish your child in virtue.