Hey Mom at church with your little ones: How much effort did it take for you to get all three dressed for church and get yourself ready? You are brave to be here at church without Dad. When I see one of your little ducklings starting to misbehave, I feel for you as you juggle one in your arms while you reprimand the other. With grace and patience (and maybe a little sweat – thank goodness for antiperspirant!) you manage to corral your brood for 60 minutes. Please know I noticed you, and I admire what you’re teaching your kids about the value of faith.
Hey Mom at the grocery store with the screaming toddler: We’ve all been there. I can’t tell you how many carts I’ve had to abandon when one of my Littles would act up beyond any control I could muster. Go ahead and open the bag of treats. I see you eyeing the the cookies in your cart, but wondering how other shoppers would react to your blatant bribery. Honestly, give your kid the snack to quiet him, find the shortest check out line, and get to your car with the milk and bananas that you needed. We won’t judge. I promise.
Hey Mom at the mall with the stylish preschooler: Yeah, you with the kid wearing red sweatpants, a collared shirt, and cowboy boots. Before I had kids, I rolled my eyes at parents like you, believing I would never let my kids walk out dressed like that. Funny how time changes one’s opinions on things. Because today as I see you walking with your kids, I think how you’ve already learned that some battles aren’t worth fighting – and what outfit a kid wears to the mall is totally not worth it on days when you have errands to run and places to be. Good for you, Mom.
Hey Mom whose middle schooler has a major attitude: When they talk back to you, when they don’t appreciate you, when they seemingly don’t need you – it hurts, doesn’t it? I heard your child’s words to you, and my heart sank. You didn’t raise your voice, you didn’t physically respond, and you stayed calm. I am in awe at your composure. Can I tell you that mine have said things to me that have made me cry because their words were so hurtful? It’s ok to feel hurt; it’s a sign of the depth of your love. Just don’t let yourself get trampled. Kids need to know to treat Mom with respect, even in the moments when they aren’t happy with us!
Hey Mom watching your college kid leave for school: Get a strong hug. Make sure you say, “I love you.” And, go ahead and cry. Here’s a tissue. As the college years pass, it doesn’t get any easier to watch a part of your heart walk away. I always think I can hold back the tears, but as I watch him leave, I always choke up. Always. (And it’s been three years.)
Hey Mom sitting in the pew at your child’s wedding: Do you remember sitting in this same pew, 25 years ago, wrestling with Little Ones who wouldn’t sit quietly? And now, you sit alone, waiting to watch your child walk down the aisle as she prepares to start a new chapter of life. Well, let me be the first to tell you, “Job well done, Mom.”