Dear moms of babies,
You are exhausted, I know. You aren’t getting enough sleep. You’re in the thick of all of the mommy wars—breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, cloth or disposable diapers, pacifier or thumb—and all you want to do is love your kids well and not mess them up! Baby snuggles are amazing—blowout diapers are less so. You know these days are fleeting but they feel infinitely long, and the next time someone tells you to relax and enjoy them, you just might lose your mind! But you love those little ones with all your might, and that’s what matters. Keep up the good work.
Dear moms of toddlers and preschoolers,
Welcome to the chasing years. These kids never stop, do they? They run and they talk and they eat in a continuous cycle, and they don’t ever seem to need a break. You are potty training and figuring out preschool and worrying that if you mess up either of those things, you may just ruin their college experience. You are teaching them manners and boundaries alongside colors and numbers, and it is all so important. You are laying a great foundation. Keep up the good work.
Dear moms of school-aged kids,
This is a whole new world! Maybe you are putting your baby on a bus each morning and sorting through mounds of paperwork each afternoon. (“Mom! How could you throw away my masterpiece from art class this week?” “Mom! Did you sign the field trip form that was due yesterday?” “Mom, where is my backpack?”) Or maybe you are homeschooling, immersing yourself in being both mom and teacher with nary a moment to yourself. Keep up the good work.
Dear moms of teenagers,
You are exhausted, I know, just in a different way now. When your kids were tiny, you longed for the day they could be more independent and not so physically demanding. But now you see that the demands don’t lessen, they just change. Less physical, more emotional. You’re no longer sure which is easier. You are navigating hormones and drama and grades and after-school activities. You might be having incredibly rewarding, deep conversations one minute, only to find yourself getting the Worst Mom Ever award for inquiring about regular teeth-brushing the next. You’re seeing the day approaching when your kids will be grown—some days it looks like a death sentence, others like the finish line of a marathon. You are launching the next generation. Keep up the good work.
Dear moms of kids with special needs,
You are so dear to my heart. You are navigating all the ups and downs of parenting, but with additional concerns about doctors, therapies, and IEPs. You cry over birthday invitations that don’t come—and even more over the ones that do, so thankful that your child is seen and loved. You fight for your child and teach your child to fight for himself. You are your child’s biggest cheerleader and best advocate. Keep up the good work.
Dear foster and adoptive moms,
Thank you. You step into the hard and broken places. You paint a picture of God’s love story with your lives. It is not always easy or picture perfect, but you persevere because you love your kids. Keep up the good work.
Dear working moms,
You fight for your families and your career. You demonstrate strength to your children. Keep up the good work.
Dear stay-at-home moms,
You are immersed in board books and Disney Junior. You long for grown-up outlets but don’t want to miss a single “first.” Keep up the good work.
Dear single moms,
You are doing it all. This is probably not the way you envisioned motherhood, and some days you worry you are messing it all up. I promise you, we all worry about that. But just keep loving your kids. You’ve got this. Keep up the good work.
This is all of us. Every single one. I used to think this kind of exhortation only applied to the early years, but I have realized this is false. We might move from trench to trench, but raising children is no cake walk at any point. Our roles change, from caretaker to coach to cheerleader to advocate to friend—sometimes all in one day. But we are all down in the trenches, doing the hard and amazing and beautiful work of raising children. I know sometimes it seems like a thankless job, but what you are doing is vital.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9 NIV)
Keep up the good work, Mom. You are seen, loved, and so important.
Katy Epling is a writer, speaker, and “masterpiece in progress” (Ephesians 2:10) from Akron, Ohio. She and her husband Jon have three beautiful children who provide her with multitudes of material—both dramatic and comedic. Learn more about her heart and ministry at katyepling.com.
Photograph © Journey Cloud, used with permission