Dear Moms,

We are part of an exceptional group called motherhood. What binds us together is our unconditional love for our children. We think about and care for our children every day. The love we feel cannot be measured. It is strong and unwavering. But let’s get real. The reality is at times, we are exhausted (mentally and physically), feel unappreciated and overwhelmed!

Motherhood is the constant “to do” list. It is the endless laundry, the constant cooking of meals, the chauffeuring around from activity to activity, assisting with homework, etc… (The list varies with the age of your child/children.) Feeling appreciated can be your silver lining.

While walking around the track at a local park, a friend, who is the mother of a toddler mentioned that she was tired and that she thought motherhood was a thankless job. She loves her son dearly, but he wears her out. He is constantly on the move and she is constantly following right behind.

I shared with her some thoughts on how to feel a little more appreciated.

Raising grateful kids is a key component to feeling appreciated. Appreciation is very powerful in all relationships and teaching it to your children while they are young is a valuable life lesson. After a meal it would be nice to hear, “Thanks mom, that meal was delicious. Or after seeing the laundry “magically” appearing folded neatly back in the drawers, “Thanks mom for doing the laundry.” Fathers can be a great role model to their children by showing appreciation as well. A dad showing appreciation for the little things as well as the big things will have the children wanting to mimic that behavior. Encourage your children to show their appreciation and gratitude in all different types of situations and to all different people. If they are encouraged to be appreciative and see appreciation being modeled, then they will be more likely to be able to show appreciation. The first manners that we teach children are “please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome”. These phrases should be a constant in every home.

In addition to appreciation, moms need a little self care reminder. Keep up the great work you are doing with your kids but remember to take some time for yourself. My favorite analogy is when the airlines give their talk before you take off. They instruct parents that in the event the oxygen mask is needed and if you are traveling with a child you need to first put on your mask and then your child’s. Why? Well, if you pass out then you cannot help your child. If you are running on empty then you also cannot help your child. So taking time for yourself will refresh and recharge you. Find some daily “me” time and do it without feeling the “mommy guilt”.

Yes, at times it might appear that motherhood is a thankless job. But when your child looks at you with love, gives you an extra kiss or an extra hug, holds your hand, says, “I love you” or “thank you” the feeling you have is the best feeling in the world.

Motherhood is truly one of the most exhausting, difficult, challenging jobs that a woman can have. But at the same time, it is the most fulfilling and rewarding job a woman can have. Love your kids, let them love you and have a very happy Mother’s Day!

Your Relationship Expert,