When I was a student in college, I always underestimated how well I performed on my tests, sure I had flunked only to find out I got a B+. The objective feedback helped me realize I was doing better than I thought I was.
But as a mother, I do not get this reassuring feedback. I go to our doctor’s appointment at 12:45, proud that I’m on time, only to find out the appointment was at 11:45. I see piano books scattered on the floor next to used bath towels, pillows on the kitchen table, dirty dishes, and pizza left out last night that my daughter is now eating for breakfast. My kids fight with each other, and when I try to correct them, I’m told, “You don’t know anything.” True. Why did I even bother going to college?
It’s easy for me to feel I’m flunking motherhood. Who knows? Maybe, I am, but my kids haven’t kicked me out of this house yet. What I do know is that when some friend or stranger says something kind, I want to say, “Really? Are you sure? You think so? Do you have any other complements for me?”
A few days ago the cashier in the store said to me, “You’re such a good mom.”
“Why do you think that?” I asked incredulously.
“Well you’re so patient with your kids, and you’re listening to your kids about which game table they want.”
“Well, thank you,” I said. Never mind that thirty minutes later, I was back in the store, panicked, looking for one of those children with the rest of the mall’s security staff, but she didn’t take the complement back!
When I’m closer to God, I’m gentler on myself and those around me. This morning, I was riding my bike, worrying about something, and then the thought came very clearly to me, “You bear no fault in this challenge. Yes, you still have to work through the situation, but there was nothing you did wrong. Don’t be so hard on yourself.” A feeling of peace and sweetness came over me, and I knew it was true.
So can I ask you a favor? Pray for all those mothers out there that you know, especially the ones that you think are probably flunking motherhood. And next time you see a mom, notice something good she is doing at point it out to her. Chances are, you’ll make her day.
When did someone say something kind to you?