04/03/2014 12:00 pm ET Updated Jun 03, 2014

The Motherhood Extras That Make a Good Mom Great

By Ana Connery

My friend Bianca is an amazing mother. We met when our sons took karate lessons together, and we were regulated to sit in uncomfortable chairs as a Sensei attempted to teach our boys how to kick and chop properly.

Bianca, an elementary school counselor, is a tough cookie, but she's also a big pile of love for her son, Dallas, who has long said he wants to become the president of the United States someday.

Recently Dallas went off to first grade to take his first test. To prep him properly, Bianca wrote him this note, encouraging him to do his best, reminding him that she believed in him while at the same time teaching him that hard work and yes, lots of test-taking, is the only route to success, especially if you want to be the leader of the free world.

Sometimes the daily challenges of motherhood -- carpooling, homework, dinner and sports -- leave little energy for the extras our kids not only need but deserve, like a simple, thoughtful boost of confidence. Every day can feel like a race to the end, checking off imaginary boxes of things we "have to do." What about the stuff we should do, or heck, the stuff we want to do? These motherhood extras are what takes us from basic caregivers to life guides. They are what builds character, confidence and bonds us with our kids, and we need to make time for them.

I recently started taking my son for bike rides before dinner. Sometimes we're so busy that we're lucky to cruise the neighborhood just once a week, but at least it's on my mind. I've forced myself to start considering this fave family activity as much a priority as eating a healthy meal. It bonds us, and it lifts my son's spirits after a long day at school.

Like Bianca's love note, it's my bonus moment, the one where I shine as a mom not because it's something I have to do for my son, but because it's something I want to do.

What motherhood extras are you most proud of? Don't wait until Mother's Day to pat yourself on the back! Share your extras below and feel the love from other moms just like you.