Motherhood is a complex role; always has been. It's also one that is constantly evolving, along with the definition of what it means to be a woman.

The liberties achieved by women over the decades have allowed mothers greater freedom to shape their lives than ever. However, motherhood has never been a simple picture of tending to children and a household.

These are some of the mothers who have been breaking the mould throughout history.

Maggie Lim

Maggie Lim was a woman of many firsts. She was the first girl to attend the all-male Raffles Institution and in 1930, she was the first girl to be awarded the prestigious Queen's Scholarship. After completing her studies, she returned to Singapore to helm a decades-long effort to improve public health.

Particularly, she's known for her work in establishing clinics specialising in maternal and pediatric care, and improving access to birth control and women's health in Singapore.

Maggie Lim has two daughters, and she is featured in the Singapore Women's Hall of Fame.

Hedwig Anuar

Hedwig Anuar transformed Singaporean libraries during her tenure as the director of the National Library of Singapore between 1965 and 1988.

She led several campaigns, including the Read More Books Campaign and the mobile library service, to make library resources more accessible to Singapore's schools and rural communities. She also worked on modernising the library network by introducing computerisation in the late 1980s. When Hedwig retired, library membership was more than 7 times than what she started with.

Hedwig Anuar has a son, and she is also a founding member of AWARE (the Association of Women for Action and Research), as well as a recipient of the Public Administration Medal.

In the modern world, motherhood is just as complex, rewarding, and awe-inspiring as it has always been. The mothers of a few preschoolers from Kiddiwinkie Schoolhouse and Little Footprints Preschool share their thoughts on being a working mother:

Throughout history, mothers have been at the forefront of moulding the world, whether it's through raising their children or by taking the reigns themselves (or both!).

Let's spend this Mother's Day remembering the extraordinary women who shape our world.