Family, Evolutionary and Developmental Psychology: A Mother's Race

September 03, 2014

By Anna Agoncillo

This story is about how my mother gave me the greatest birthday present of all, it’s much bigger than P16,000 worth of Nike Gift Certificates...

Mothers: Evolutionary and Developmental perspective

Evolution predisposed mothers to be highly sensitive in attending to their infant’s needs (Hrdy, 1999). Furthermore, mothers spend time with their children more than their fathers do (Bianchi, 2000). 

One indication that a behaviour is evolutionary is when it is also evident in the animal kingdom (where learning complexities and higher form of cognition are limited).

Here is a great example:

"During their hibernation, momma bears of various species lose as much as half of their body weight while their nursing cubs grow rapidly off of their milk (Bored Panda, 2014)."

More often than not, mothers devote their time to caregiving (e.g., feeding food, changing diapers) whilst fathers spend their time playing with the children (Sigelman & Rider, 2012).Yet, studies show that fathers are able to adapt the “motherlike” role if they are primarily responsible for their child (Phares, 1999).

I couldn't agree more. I'm very blessed to have a mother that is supportive and affectionate.

When maternal instinct kicks in... 

I never thought that after 6 years, I will have an opportunity to share this inspiring story.  

It all happened last August 31, 2008. It was my birthday. Also, it was the day when my mom, Annie Agoncillo, joined the Nike+ Human Race Marathon. 
Yoga warm-up before the Race; image © thebullrunner's blog
She was very confident that she’ll win the race (as was I). I knew how hard she trained and how strong she was. You see, my mom is very athletic and competitive. She is a Yoga/Pilates instructor who has won various recognitions in the running scene at that time. Aside from that, she is very determined and stubborn (yes, in present tense mom; you’re still stubborn now haha). When she wants something, she’ll do everything in her will to get it, especially for her daughters.

This is what happens next…

as narrated from the award winning running blog by Ms. Jaymie Pizarro or better known as "The Bull Runner" (one of my mom's closest friend):

"She wanted to win this for her daughter who was celebrating her 14th birthday. The prize, P16,000 worth of Nike GCs, was going to be a surprise gift for her daughter. She wanted it badly but her body couldn’t take it. She blacked out.  
When I spoke to Annie over the phone, she was already in a hospital in Bonifacio and was hooked up to a dextrose. She was in tears over her daughter’s “lost” birthday gift—and so was I. "
To this day, I can still remember the look of disappointment in my mom’s face. It broke my heart into pieces. She was so close to winning, and yet her body slowed her down (imagine how hard she took it).

At the glimpse of helplessness or giving up, hope blossomed. To our surprise, her story was heard by Mr. Miguel Celdran of Nike Bonifacio High Street (TheBullRunner, 2008b).

Annie’s efforts were not put to waste. So who ever said that men are innately evil must think twice after reading this. A mother’s unconditional love to her child, a friend’s compassion and a stranger’s desire to help---my mom, Ms. Jaymie and Mr. Miguel can attest that.

It was truly a “human race” as it celebrated the purity of human kindness. Honestly, even if she didn’t win the race or the prize, I’m still happy, grateful and proud of her. My mother gave me the greatest birthday present of all, it’s much bigger than P16,000 worth of Nike GCs; she gave me her heart, sweat and tears. What more can I ask for?

Parting thoughts

Three words: LOVE YOUR MOM. You won't be here if it was not for her.

Sweet Victory ; image © thebullrunner's blog
Read the previous post: 7 Awesome Memes that only Psychology major and enthusiasts would understand 

Subscribe to Miss Psychobabble now!

 or "here"  to receive free updates!


Bianchi, S. M.  (2000). Maternal employment and time with children: Dramatic change or surprising continuity? Demography, 37, p. 401- 414

Bored Panda. (2014). Big bears teaching their teddies how to bear. Retrieved August 24, 2014 from

Hrdy, S. (1999). Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection. New York: Pantheon Books.

Phares, V. (1999). Poppa psychology: The role of fathers in children's mental well-being. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Sigelman, C. & Rider, E. (2012). Human Development Across the Life Span. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning

TheBullRunner. (2008a). Nike+ Human Race Part 1. Retrieved August 24, 2014 from TheBullRunner. (2008b). Thank you, Nike! Retrieved August 24, 2014 from

You Might Also Like


  1. Thanks for dropping by my blog. Yup, yup! I noticed we've got almost the same site name... guess it goes back to our being Psych majors! I look forward to reading more from you. I will bookmark your site. Mine seemed very new because I've recently moved my old rants elsewhere, haha. Hope to keep in touch with you :)

  2. Hi Janis! :) Thank you for taking the time to write back. Aww, I really appreciate that you even bookmarked my site.:"> Psychology is truly an interesting realm, don't you think? Haha I like your new template, it's very minimalist :D Me too, I shall email you about a collaboration in near future ;)


What is on your mind? I will get back to you as soon as possible! Thank you. :)

Like MP on Facebook