He said it in passing to my daughter, and didn’t even know I was listening. 

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Early on a Sunday morning — Sunday mornings when my kids leave the house earlier than when they leave for school — when we set up our portable church, only to dismantle it again a few hours later.  She was playing on her own, building something or other, while I scurried around getting things done.

“You’re an awesome kid.”

She giggled and smiled.  She’s the baby of the family, so while she loves attention, she’s also very accustomed to it.  She has no shame and no false humility when she receives a compliment.

But it took me back to a summer morning many years ago.

With two young and wild boys, I had to push every Sunday to get out of the house.  We only had one vehicle, so if I wanted to get to church, I had to be ready to go when my husband left the house at 8:00 in the morning.  He’s been a Sound Guy for many, many years, and he always has to be a church early.

I woke up to the alarm, earlier than the boys would wake up and after getting ready for the day, I packed a picnic.  You see, I’d make sure the boys had breakfast before we left the house, but Sunday mornings were always long ones, and we wouldn’t get back home til after their normal lunch time.  So I’d pack a large snack for them every week, to tide them over.  These boys, they took it out of me.  The youngest wasn’t sleeping through the night, and yet he knew every button to push to force his mother to learn the true meaning of patience.

Once we got to the church, I’d clean the nursery toys while they played, trying to kill the two hours of waiting before Sunday School started.  After the nursery was clean, I’d take them outside and we’d sit in the grass eating our picnic snack while the worship team practiced inside.

I didn’t know that anyone saw us.  I thought everyone else was too busy to notice us.  After all, we were just killing time waiting for church to start — all so that my husband could be there to do what he was committed to doing.

Until that one morning many years ago.

We were sitting, the three of us, in the grass in the warm sun, eating the cheese and crackers and grapes I had packed, when the pastor strolled past us.  I think he may have been getting something from his car.

Without preamble he said  “You are a good mother,” as if stating fact.   He didn’t even break his stride.  He got what he needed and headed back inside the building without a word.

It was one little throwaway statement, but it made a world of difference.  And it changed the way I saw my early mornings and my clenched teeth during toddler tantrums and the smell of diapers that lingered on my hands and the perpetual state of exhaustion that no nap could eliminate.

 

And you need to hear it too.  Because sometimes it doesn’t get said.

 

When you get up in the night with a child that needs you,

you’re a good mother.

When you take a deep breath when a child melts down,

you’re a good mother.

When you make a healthy dinner for your children knowing they won’t eat most of it,

you’re a good mother.

When you get down on your hands and knees to clean up the food your child spit out,

you’re a good mother.

When you sit down to read “The Runaway Bunny” for the 150th time with your child,

you’re a good mother.

When you take a few moments to let your child play on their own,

you’re a good mother.

When it feels like a waste of time to stand guard at the park while your children burn off their energy,

you’re a good mother.

When you brush your child’s teeth even though they don’t like it,

you’re a good mother.

When you say no to toddler tantrums in the grocery store,

you’re a good mother.

When you work for pay to provide for your family,

you’re a good mother.

When you take a night off and leave the children with a sitter,

you’re a good mother.

When you’re covered in throw up and you’re still sympathetic to your sick child,

you’re a good mother.

When you hustle your children out the door just in time for the bus,

you’re a good mother.

When you’re stuck on the couch nursing non-stop because of your baby’s growth spurt,

you’re a good mother.

When you lay down at the end of the day, only to be woken 15 minutes later by a child’s bad dream,

you’re a good mother.

When you give your child consequences for unacceptable behaviour,

you’re a good mother.

When you argue with teachers over what’s best for your child,

you’re a good mother.

When you pack up your children early on a weekend and take them to church,

you’re a good mother.

When you’re drained, worn out, exhausted and have nothing more to give, don’t give up.  You’re doing it right.

You are a good mother.

 

Have you ever been encouraged in your journey by the simple words someone said?  How did they help?

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48 thoughts on “A Good Mother

  1. I think we all doubt ourselves sometimes. The truth is, we are all just trying to do our best.

  2. As a pastor’s wife, I can so relate to early morning arrivals at church. After all these years, I still get there at 8:45 am on Sundays and the service doesn’t begin until 10:00 am. I get the coffee going and set up for our breakfast hour before the volunteers arrive to serve. It’s those little words of encouragement that mean the most. I enjoyed reading your encouraging words to mothers today.
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  3. What a great story! You really are a good mom. Your kids will benefit so much from your commitment to taking them to church every Sunday even though it was hard and long. I always try to remember that if I’m worried about how I’m “failing” my kids, that probably means I’m doing an ok job after all.
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  4. I think all moms try their best. Not the easiest job in the world but it’s self rewarding from those little babies.

  5. This is such a wonderful post. I think all mothers should hear that they are good mothers. It can really help other mothers. It’s great just to hear something like this. Thanks for this great post!

  6. It is nice to hear the affirmation once in awhile, isn’t it? And how nice that your pastor took the time out to say it. 🙂

  7. Such a great read! We all need to hear that and be reminded that even though your not perfect you are still a good mother!

  8. What a very lovely post. I think sometimes we all forget that we are good moms and do the best we can.

  9. Omg beautiful post!!! I think all us Kim’s doubt ourselves. We always think other have bit all figured out, but in reality we are all just doing the best we can 🙂

  10. Well thanks for ruining my make up! LOL! I needed to read this right now. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and not like the best mother and this really helped me get back to where I needed to be emotionally.
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  11. Love that! Brought tears. You could probably add amendments for when they become teenagers and think nothing you do is right. Sharing!

  12. Such a touching post, and words from the pastor. I have come across a few occasions where a few brief words from a complete stranger have made all the difference in my mood and day. You need to hear these things. That’s why when I am thinking something to myself like ‘what a nice skirt’ or ‘I love her hair’ or ‘pretty nails’ – I try really hard to let the person know it.
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  13. To be honest with you reading this made me a bit teary eyed. I never really stop to think about everything that I do as a mother of four. I just do it. And My spouse always tells me that I am a good mother but after hearing certain things from a person for so long its not as meaningful (just being honest) It’s more like “of course you’re going to say that we’re married.” But, I appreciate reading this. I actually read it twice. Thank you so much for sharing and making me feel good.

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