People often say being a mom (or parent) is a thankless job. While I have some serious evidence from this past week to support this claim, I have to disagree. Don’t get me wrong. Parenting is hard, stressful, and draining work. And the thank-yous don’t usually flow freely. And people judge what you do or don’t do or tell you how they did/do it better. And as a mommy, you carry enough guilt to fill an airport’s worth of suitcases. And just when you have worked your hardest and sacrificed the most and are maybe feeling like you did something right for once, someone – likely your own child – will say or do something that makes you feel like you are a major failure or make you wonder why you bother working so hard and sacrificing so much. But even then, it is not a thankless job. Let me tell you why…
These past two weeks have been a challenge in the parenting department for me.
Scratch that. These past two weeks have been down right miserable in the parenting department. Lots of meltdowns. From me, I mean. LOTS. I think I was pretty close to a nervous break down on more than one occasion. And while I don’t think I did a horrific job, I’m certain I won’t be winning any “Mother of the Year” awards.
But here’s the thing. Even during these weeks, there were moments where the work was worth it, where my kids said or did something that made me feel appreciated, loved, and in their own way – thanked. Each time one of these things happened, I couldn’t help but think about how awesome my kids are and how blessed I am to have them.
I’m pretty sure most parents think their own kids are the coolest. I definitely think all kids are cool. They just are. Kids are awesome. And I know we’re biased, but Matt and I think ours are extra awesome. We often say to each other, “Why do you think God put so much extra awesome in Leesie?” Or, “Do you think other people realize all the extra awesome Jacob has?” (We have our theories as to why they have this extra awesome, and none of them have to do with us. We’re pretty certain it’s not genetics.)
My point is this – as a parent, when you see the extra awesome in your own kids, you can’t help but know it’s all worth it. That it isn’t a thankless job. That even if I don’t win any “Mother of the Year” awards, I could put my kids up against any other for “Awesomest Kids” awards and to me, mine would win every time.
Here are some recent “extra awesome” moments:
- Jacob is THE most thankful boy I know. He says thank you – or tank you – to everything. For example, on his first snowy day, he was so excited to get outside and play. But first came a diaper change and layers of clothes. He thanked me after each step. Cleaned bottom? “Tank you, Mama.” Medicine on butt? “Tank you for meh-sin, Mama.” Diaper? Onesie? Each and every layer of clothing – including 4 socks, 2 boots, and 2 gloves? “Tank you.” “Tanks, Mama.” “Tanks foh glub, Mama.” “Tanks foh udder glub. I luh you so much.” I was thanked for each thing. (See? Who says this is a thankless job? Not me!) But seriously. Such thankfulness for a one-year-old is definitely extra awesome.
- Annalise’s “Naked Dance.” Pure hilarious entertainment. And definitely extra awesome. Plus, her little brother now does it. Double extra awesomeness.
- Jacob’s singing. While whatever he sings is awesome enough, he changes the words, gets a sly smile on his face, then stops and says, “WHAT??” And laughs at his own joke. Extra awesome.
- Annalise’s ability to make up a song about anything, anytime, anywhere. Sometimes as a response to me. “Leesie, it’s bath time.” Singing response, “It’s tiiiimmmmeee for a baaaattthh. Oh you knoooowwwwwww it’s time to get cleeeaaaannn…”And on and on goes the awesomeness.
- Pretty much anytime Jacob talks, it’s full of extra awesome. His seemingly limitless vocabulary + his adorable facial expressions on two chubby cheeks = daily extra awesome.
- Leesie’s prayers. Her heart. Her desire to be mighty for God. “Mom, I want to be mighty for God. I really do. I just don’t hear Him talking to me. How am I ‘posed to know how to be mighty for Him when He isn’t tellin’ me any words?” I reminded her that we can read the Bible and learn what He wants us to do – (like obey mommy and daddy, right?) “Mom, that’s what He wants everyone to do. I want to know what He wants me to do that is mighty for Him.” How extra awesome is that?
- Jacob walking. When he’s in an extra awesomely good mood, he struts to a beat like he has music playing in his head.
- The hilarious comments both of them make. I post a lot of them on Facebook. But we’re probably laughing 10 times more than what I post. And each time I think, “There it is. The extra awesome.”
My dad always says, “I just can’t figure out how they got to be so cute!” (I’m a bit offended at his tone of surprise. Apparently he is certain it isn’t genetics, either. Thanks, Dad.) I just have to tell him, “Yep. They’re pretty extra awesome.”
Matt always says, “We got some pretty extra awesome kids here. That’s pretty amazing considering… I just don’t think we’d want to risk having a third, because, well, you know. The chances of three turning out so awesome aren’t very good.” (Again, I’d like to know what is wrong with us that it is so shocking we have awesome kids!)
I think he’s wrong. Because I think any kid we have would be extra awesome to us. I think every parent has the ability to see the extra awesome in their own children. Sometimes we just get too busy to look for it, too frustrated to see it, or we don’t feel appreciated in all the work we do. It’s easy to forget that while kids won’t always say, “Thank you, Mama, for doing my laundry while I threw a fit about picking up my own mess,” they have other ways of showing their love and appreciation. When they feel safe and loved, kids maybe just thank you by filling your day with all their extra awesome.