Mothers Day — or the annual mom’s guilt trip as some moms call it — is next Sunday. Moms have the toughest job in the world. Seriously, coal miners at least get to go home every day. Moms are on the job 24/7, and the paycheck is internally generated satisfaction and fulfillment — emotions that often don’t last near as long as the effort it takes to get them.
But there’s an inborn longing in most women who raise children to do what is right for them. No matter how plentiful or meager her situation, a wise woman raises children up to be good, to choose right, and to grow past her to someone even greater than she ever was. Yet we are persistently brutal in our assessment of how well we’re doing, because we tend to compare ourselves to others around us. Too often, we use the wrong measuring sticks.
So. For this moment, you moms look in the mirror and say, “I’m doing fine.”
If your kids get fed, you’re doing fine. If they eat three meals a day and know they have to be at the dinner table every evening unless they prearrange with you why they aren’t, you’re feeding more than just their bellies.
If your kids are dressed each day, you’re doing fine. If their clothes are clean and their socks match, you’ve got this big time.
If your kids make it to school every day, you’re doing fine. If they get to school with their backpacks on, a coat in cooler weather, and their homework done, you’re doing great. And if they come home at the end of the day and you find their work and the note from the PTA still in their backpack, you need to share your secret.
If your kids don’t mind school, you’re doing fine. If your kids look forward to school, no matter how well they actually do there, you’ve given them the gift of learning.
If your kids can read at an appropriate age, you’re doing fine. If your kids have learned to love reading, ask you to take them to the library, and want you to help them buy their own books, you’ve given them the world.
If your kids can finally get their coats on by themselves, you’re doing fine. If they get their coats on, get into the car, don’t argue about who sits by the window, and fasten their own seatbelts, you’ve reached nirvana.
If your kids aren’t afraid of animals, you’re doing fine. If your kids persuade you to buy them a pet and then they take care of it themselves, you’ve helped them learn responsibility.
If your kids like playing games, you’re doing fine. If your kids play those games without fighting, cheating, or quitting, you should write an instruction manual.
If your kids like playing outside, you’re doing fine. If your kids choose to play outside over watching TV or languishing on the computer, you’ve mastered a mystery.
If your kids play sports, you’re doing fine. If your kids see you spend your weekdays at their practices and your Saturdays cheering them on, you’re becoming part of their foundation.
If your kids don’t bully other kids, you’re doing fine. If your kids stick up for someone else being bullied, you’re raising kids of courage.
If your kids can tell when someone is in need, you’re doing fine. If your kids reach out to help someone in need without being prompted, you’re raising kids of compassion.
If your grown-up kids still like their siblings — and you — you’re doing fine. If they plan events to get you all together, and they take care of the details, you deserve a medal.
If your grown-up kids don’t permanently live in your basement, you’re doing fine. If they’ve figured out their own place to live and occasionally invite you over because they still like your company, you’re their friend for life.
If your grown-up kids face tough times without crumbling, you’re doing fine. If they’ve learned how to overcome tough times and have grown stronger from it, you’ve helped them find the courage to face their future even when you’re no longer there.
If your kids hear you tell them you love them, you’re doing fine. If your kids know, through all the ways you support them, teach them, cheer them, guide them, and even correct them that you love them, you are the mom you want to be.
Whenever you doubt your mom abilities, just remember that.
Happy (guilt free) Mother's Day.