Happy Mother’s Day! There’s always something so special about this time of the year where we think about all the things we mothers do every day to take care of our babies. We make them laugh, show them, love, wipe the tears, clean the messes, step on the legos, and wake up the next day to do it all again. And, we try to raise them to be good people. We want our children to be kind, strong, independent, non-judgmental, and loving. In essence, we aspire to raise world changers, which is no easy feat.

There have been few women in history who are so good at raising world changers as the Kennedy Women. In honor of Mother’s Day, let’s look back on the history and legacy of the Kennedy family mothers and the world-changers they raised!



Rose Kennedy:

To properly celebrate the mothers of the Kennedy family, we have to start with the matriarch of them all, Rose Kennedy, who boldly raised nine children who would all have some lasting impact and legacy. It’s safe to say that the Kennedys wouldn’t be where they are today without Rose’s steadfast motherhood and guidance.

Joe and Rose Kennedy, center, with their eight children at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. Ted Kennedy was born a year later. (Photo by Richard Sears in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum)


Eunice Kennedy Shriver:

Along with being a mother to five children, Eunice also dedicated herself as an advocate for the disabled. Her self-founded Camp Shriver would later evolve into the Special Olympics. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984. The impact of her work can still be felt today, much of which is being carried on by her children and grandchildren.

Eunice Shriver (center), her husband Sargent Shriver (far right) and 16 of their 19 grandchildren celebrate her 85th birthday in 2006. Source: people.com


Patricia Kennedy:

It’s safe to say that Patricia was a trailblazer. After graduating college, she moved to Hollywood in hopes of becoming a producer and director. She was the mother of four children.

Patricia Kennedy, daughter of U.S. Ambassador to England Joseph Kennedy, is married to actor Peter Lawford. Here they are in their Los Angeles home with their son, Christopher, 2. Credit: Bettmann/Getty


Ethel Kennedy:

Shortly after her husband died in 1968, Ethel Kennedy founded the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. She balanced her advocacy while also being the sole parent of eleven children! She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.

Golden couple: Robert and Ethel Kennedy with two of their children in 1957. Photograph: Bettmann Archive


Joan Kennedy:

Joan Kennedy is a mother to three children. Along with being a mother, Joan is a published author and has worked with many children’s charities. Joan is an accomplished pianist and has spent many of her later years teaching classical music to children.


View of married couple Joan Bennett Kennedy and lawyer (and future US Senator) Ted Kennedy (1932 – 2009) with their children, infant Edward Kennedy Jr, and Kara (later Kara Kennedy Allen, 1960 – 2011), seen against a white background during a photo shoot, 1962. (Photo by The Estate of Jacques Lowe/Getty Images)


Jean Kennedy:

Jean Kennedy had four children, two of which were adopted. Jean served as U.S. ambassador to Ireland and was paramount in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Jean posed with her baby son, Stephen. She would go on to have another son, William, as well as adopting two daughters, Amanda and Kym. Credit: Nina Leen


Jackie Kennedy:

And last but most certainly not least, we have Jackie Kennedy. Perhaps the most famous Kennedy mother, (and the most famous First Lady, for that matter) Jackie Kennedy has left a lasting legacy, from women’s fashion to international relations etiquette. Along with being one of the most influential women of the 20th century, Jackie Kennedy was a mother to four children.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy shortly after moving into the White House with three-year old daughter Caroline and son, John Jr. (Mark Shaw)

Want to learn more about the Kennedy women? Then be sure to check out our episodes on The marriage of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, this episode on Jackie’s wedding gown, and this episode on the marriage of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy. Thanks for reading!

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