To the Mom Wondering if She is Even Making a Difference
Girl, I see you.
I can’t count the thousands of times that I think to myself, “Am I even speaking?” “Maybe I’m invisible.” “Is all of this mothering worth it?”
And they are valid questions. Between the constant busyness and daily chaos and the sleepless nights up with the kids or worrying about the kids--it can be REALLY hard to see that we’re making a difference as moms. Not making a difference by changing the entire world, but in the consistencies of who we are and how we love. Are those things making a difference in the lives of our kids?
We could obviously and pretty easily jump to, “OF COURSE! They’re alive, aren’t they?!” But we long to know this on such a deep level that when we’re in a season of stress, anytime anyone offers the classic, “You’ll reap the rewards someday…” a highly-trained surgeon will have to come rescue the eyes that you so violently rolled into your head. When is SOMEDAY?!?!?!?!??!?!?
And then it happens. A fleeting, magical moment where you have a glimpse at the rewards of the profound work you have done. This happened to me twice this week. TWICE. In between the exhaustion and exhilaration of upping my consistent-discipline game to keep up with the strong-willed girl child (another story for another time), running from daycare to pre-school to work to pre-school to daycare to home, and all the things I’m supposed to be doing (ie: feeding the children every single day)…I was lucky enough to catch two amazing moments.
The first was actually brought to my attention by my father-in-law. As a retired police officer, I thought he would be interested in knowing Josie’s class had a visit from a State Trooper who gave each child a sticker badge. In McDonald’s, we took a picture to send to Papa and then Josie said, “I want to give my sticker to a little boy who comes to eat here.” Soon enough a little boy and his family sat at the table behind us. On the way out the door, she gave him the sticker! I texted that little story to my father-in-law to brag on Josie’s kindness and he was the one that connected the dots for me: She sees me give Mother of the Year Award stickers out and that has encouraged her to do the same. The simple act of my handing out a sticker is actually a lesson that has stuck with her -- to look for opportunities to express kindness to others!
Hallelujah. I’ll take it. Whatever works.
The second moment occurred when I wanted to meet the new neighborhood mailman who just happened to be rounding the corner to our house when Josie and I pulled into the driveway. I said, "I'd like to say hello to the new mailman and learn his name." She said, "Ooooo! We could give him candy and a milkshake!"
So she chose 4 pieces of her own candy to give to him, we swapped the milkshake for a cold bottle of water and waited to meet him. In the meantime, Josie dropped gems like, "He's working really really hard. I'm going to tell him that" and, "it's so nice to meet new people" and, "maybe we could give everyone in the neighborhood candy today and ask them how their day was!"
Mark, our new mailman, graciously chatted about all the things with a very friendly Josie and politely declined the sleepover at our house that she offered.
“I had to get to church early for worship practice and the kids would not be ready in time for when I needed to leave. I told my son (14) to have church with his sister (8) and brother (3) while we were gone. I recommended he play some worship music on YouTube and then read some scripture from the Bible.
When we got home we asked about how ‘church’ went and the 3 yo said ‘I will follow God’. Apparently my oldest read them the story of Jonah and that is what my youngest got out of it! My daughter told me they listened to about 6 worship songs (the oldest picked them out) and they enjoyed their time. I asked if they prayed and was told ‘no', I forgot to tell them to do that.
I am so proud of them, it blessed me incredibly to know they did so well to do what I asked them to do and they enjoyed it. I am mother of the year but not of my own power -- God is good.”
Couldn’t have said it any better myself. What an amazing blessing it is when we get a peek into what God is working on in the hearts of our kids! So listen, on Mother’s Day and EVERY OTHER SINGLE DAY, know this:
You are doing an incredible job. You are the most amazing mother for your kids. You are especially and uniquely gifted to raise your kids well. You are Mother of the Year.
And finally, never underestimate the power of telling another mom what you see in her or her children. Like I needed my father-in-law to do for me, be the one who speaks life and truth into a mom. Could be your BFF or a complete stranger.
To make it easier for you, you can purchase Mother of the Year Award stickers to help you remember to be that crucial voice. And get your kids in on the action! My daughter LOVES running up to stranger moms with stickers (she even peels the backs off for them) and says, “You’re a really good mommy!” It’s always impactful for us all.