Good Mothers Are Not Perfect. But They’re Pretty Close

Mother's Day is May 9, 2010
Mother's Day is May 9, 2010

We’d like to offer a little shout out to all the mothers out there.  This might have shown up in your inbox at some point in the past few years, but it’s so good it bears repeating.

This is for all the mothers who didn’t win Mother of the Year in 2010.  All the runners-up and all the wannabes. All the mothers too tired to enter or too busy to bother.

This is for all the mothers who froze while sitting on metal bleachers at soccer games Friday night instead of watching from cars, so that when their kids asked, “Did you see my goal?” they could say “Of course, wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up after them and saying, “It’s OK, honey, Mommy’s here.”

For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes.  And all the mothers who don’t.

What makes a good mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? The ability to nurse a baby, fry a chicken and sew a button on a shirt all at the same time? Or is it heart?

Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?

The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 a.m. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a school shooting, a fatal fire, a car accident, a baby dying?

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they’ll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and made them homes. 

This is for mothers who put Teddy bears on their children’s graves.

This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the mothers who wanted to but just couldn’t.

This is for reading “Goodnight Moon” twice a night for a year. And then reading it again. “Just one more time.” This is for all the mothers who mess up. Who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair and stomp their feet like a tired 2-year-old who wants ice cream before dinner.

This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoes before they started preschool. And for all the mothers who chose Velcro instead.

For all the mothers who bite their lips — sometimes until they bleed — when their 14-year-olds dye their hair blue.  And those who freak.

For all the mothers who say no to piercings, parties, drugs and cruelty.  And then pray their child makes good choices.

Who lock themselves in the bathroom when babies keep crying and won’t stop.

This is for mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purses.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.

For all the mothers who make mental notes of their children every time they hear a siren sound or a tire squeal or a bump in the night.

This is for all the mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls “Mom?” in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home.

This is for mothers whose sons and daughters have gone astray, who can’t find the words to reach them.

This is for all the mothers who sent their sons to school with stomachaches, assuring them they’d be just fine once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurses an hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation. And mature mothers learning to let go. For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Single mothers and married mothers. Mothers with money, mothers without.

Anonymous

Give your mom a hug today and thank her for her imperfect perfection.  And, just in case you want to send flowers, we’re here for you.

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