You're Doing a Good Job

Let me say that again. Allow it to sink in.
12/09/2015 11:26 am ET Updated Dec 09, 2016
A mother holds her young son to comfort him after falling down whild hiking on the trails at Frenchmans Coulee in Eastern Was
A mother holds her young son to comfort him after falling down whild hiking on the trails at Frenchmans Coulee in Eastern Washington.

Hey you. You, with a toddler hanging off of you while you wipe spit-up off your shirt. You, with the two-minute shower routine perfected. You, sitting at the table fighting with your kids about doing their homework. You, who are so exhausted at the end of every day and so overwhelmed with the idea of having to do it all over again tomorrow. I want to tell you something.

You're doing a good job.

Let me say that again. Allow it to sink in.

You're doing a good job.

I know it doesn't feel like it when your baby is crying and you have done EVERYTHING to make the squalor stop, to no avail. You've sung and bounced and rocked and shushed and burped and changed and still that baby won't calm down. You may think to yourself that you're obviously not doing this motherhood thing right because, if you were, your baby would be smiling and cooing. But let me tell you that you're doing a good job. You are devoting yourself and your time and your energy to doing everything you can think of to make your baby happy, and that is commendable.

It may not seem like you're doing a good job when your days are jam-packed with toddler tantrums and screams and misunderstandings and weighing the pros and cons between doing another puzzle with your 3-year-old or running away screaming. You make their favorite food, only to be told it's yucky. You announce it's time to play and they want nothing to do with you. You try to do some housework and they suddenly are under your feet. It's hard. You want to cry. And that's OK, because you're doing a good job.

To you moms with school-aged kids who are struggling to teach your kids right from wrong, about social skills, about friendships and honesty and proper behavior, you're doing a good job, too. Every day you have to let your kids out into the real world and just hope and pray they make good decisions. That they choose to be kind. That they choose to respect authority. That they choose to be generous. You watch them venture off into the schoolyard -- the great unknown -- and all you can do is hope that you're doing enough.

And, trust me, you are.

None of us is perfect. We all have our flaws. I yell at my kids too much. I don't spend enough quality time with them. I find them dull as rocks sometimes. I let them have too much screen time and way too many fruit snacks. Maybe you have these problems, too, or maybe yours are different. Either way, these are small things. I know it seems like a huge thing now that your kid has every episode of "Daniel Tiger" memorized, but it's really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

What's important are the big things, and the biggest thing is that your kids know they love you. They may not tell you they love you. They may be all kinds of pissed off at you for various reasons. But they love you. They love you because you kiss them good night. They love you because you get them a new toy when they're sick. They love you because you played their favorite song for them 712 times in a row. They love you because you wash their favorite shirt. They love you because you remembered a funny thing they did last week. They love you because you take care of them.

And if your kids love you, then you're doing a good job.

I know this won't ease your mom guilt. I know it won't dry up the tears of exhaustion. But I hope that, just for a second, you let these words pierce your heart and fill you with a moment of joy in your chaotic day.

You're doing a good job.

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