The Power of a Mom

Whether you are a mom or just have a mom, you know that all mothers have flaws. No matter how hard we try, we just can’t be perfect.

Sure, there’s that one mom from the PTA meetings who seems perfect. But rumor has it that she blew a gasket last week in Target when her toddler decided to remove his diaper and run full-speed past the checkout lines. On a crowded Saturday.

So while most days begin on a good note, things can take a turn at any moment.

Take a few minutes too long in the bathroom when you have a crawling infant and you may find your potted plant has been un-potted.

On the carpet.

Babies teethe, blow-out diapers, and don’t sleep when you need them to. Toddlers rip pages from favorite books, overturn coffee mugs (wasting precious caffeine), throw epic tantrums, and terrorize pets. Older children bicker with siblings, whine, miss their carpool pick up, whine some more, make extreme messes, flunk tests, leave laundry on the floor, and argue with you about it all.

Most of these things on their own aren’t so major. But combine a few, and even the best of us might blow our tops once in a while. We may yell a little bit, say something we don’t mean, send someone to their room, or simply grunt and clench our fists in frustration.

Then the mommy guilt sets in. Melissa at Confessions of a Dr. Mom wrote a great post about this just last week. We all set such high standards for ourselves that when the inevitable scolding/yelling/sending the kids out of the room/morphing into The Hulk happens we immediately go to that place inside that labels us as a bad mom.

These are the episodes of parenting that have led to many a spirited playgroup discussion. We lay our mommy indiscretions at the feet of our friends, looking for redemption and hoping they’ve done the same thing.

But today I am going to let you in on a little secret. A secret that may change the way you look at those little rugrats, those unruly but adorable toddlers, and those sulky teens.

Our biggest cheerleaders may not be our other mommy friends.

They are our own children.

The very children who say we are the meanest mommy ever, who roll their eyes when we ask them to clean their rooms, and who want nothing to do with us when we shop together at the mall. Children who most certainly think they are being reared by none other than Attila the Hun and his wife Bertha the Horrid.

They are the ones who want us to succeed the most.

That’s The Power of a Mom. These little pieces of our heart walking around in dirty socks with messy hair and runny noses really, really love us. And they want us to do a good job.

I work with young children who are at-risk for difficulties with school adjustment. Each year, I have at least a handful of students who have experienced first-hand some of the worst mistakes a mom can make: drug or alcohol abuse, incarceration, neglect, verbal or physical abuse.

And without fail, time and time again, these little children still put their mothers on a pedestal.

Because they want them to succeed at being a mom. Their very being depends on it.

They draw pictures of their beautiful, smart mommies. They create visions of what their life will be like when mommy comes home or brings them back to live with her. They gloss over details they don’t know I am aware of, creating excuses for their moms who have taken a path not consistent with motherhood.

The Power of a Mom.

We are, most of the time, someone our children can count on. Whether it’s a peanut-butter sandwich in a lunchbox, a hug after a fight with a friend, or someone to check your spelling homework: mom is there.

So even when she’s not consistent, not physically or mentally able, or not even particularly interested in being a mom, her children are still her biggest cheerleaders. They want their mommy to succeed.

So the next time you yell at your little one because she spilled milk for the tenth time or send your teenager to his room for being surly and the guilt sets in, remember this.

Without fail, these little ones are your biggest fans.

They expect you to make mistakes, they accept your apologies, and love you in spite of it all.

Even if their facial expressions and eye rolls don’t show it.


  1. The Flying Chalupa says:

    You are so, so right, Sherri. And it's important to remember this in our dark moments. I keep thinking that I'm scarring the chalupa by doing whatever or saying whatever but truth of the matter is that children are the best at forgiveness. And forgetting. Thank god.

  2. Cheryl D. says:

    Great post! I loved Melissa's post too. I think kids are very understanding of the occasional mom-screaming episode–especially when they've done something really egregious. Sometimes, it makes them realize that what they did was seriously wrong. When it's the exception, rather than the rule, the child doesn't hold it against us. Whenever I do it, I always apologize afterward for my "tantrum" and explain I'm not perfect. I make mistakes too!

    When I was growing up, my mom never apologized to me. She felt that since she was the mother, she never had to. I felt that this was her biggest flaw. Yes, I loved her anyway and never held it against her. I was always determined to not repeat that mistake!

  3. Booyah's Momma says:

    I need this tonight, Sherri. Thank you. Seriously, your insights into motherhood… as well as this writing? Beautiful.

  4. The Blogging Goddess says:

    Great post! And, this is so true. No matter how mean or how loud I scream, my kids always tell me I'm nice. Of course, then they roll their eyes at me…but, I can live with that!

  5. So, so true. They are incredibly forgiving (thank God) and love unconditionally.


  6. Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says:

    I don't get the eye rolling yet. She still tells me often that I'm the best mommy ever. It's good to think about the lasting power of a child's love for their parents. This is why we do it!

  7. The Empress says:

    I don't know what I"d do without my children.

    My life began with them.

    Wonderful post, Sherri. Very wonderful.

    Thank you.

  8. I was going to say what Gigi said – they are so forgiving.

    Beautifully written, Sherri. Your words were what I needed to hear today. Thank you for sharing them.

  9. I am going to print this out and put it on my fridge, Sherri!

    There are nights when we put the kids to bed and I come downstairs and beat myself up over expressing my frustration in front of my kids. The remorse is gut-wrenching.

    Thank you so much for this excellent reminder.

  10. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says:

    Can't comment here. Sending you an email instead.

  11. Megan (Best of Fates) says:

    One of the best posts I've read about motherhood in a long, long time.

  12. Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli says:

    I've felt guilt at losing my cool many a time. Telling my kids why I lost it and apologizing- very powerful. For all of us.
    Great post Sherri.

  13. The Sharp's says:

    This is a great, great post and something we all need to remind ourselves of often!

  14. MommaKiss says:

    You are a genius my friend. I always know my faults are MY faults, everything I do as a mother I try to cut myself some slack because those guys? They didn't choose to be born to me. I chose them. The least I can do is try to raise them right. Or at least,loved.

    This post rocks.

  15. Aging Mommy says:

    Lovely posts – there is that awful guilt when you blow up or have a day when everything seems to make you want to scream. But in the scheme of things these are small digressions and teach our children that everyone is human and no one is perfect. It's just had to remember that sometimes. You are right too that children will forgive and try to forget so very much, always hoping that parents such as those you describe will come back/get better/turn out right. But there comes a day when they can no longer do that and that is the saddest part of all I think for those children.

  16. I thought this was a wonderful, insightful post, Sherri. So "right on" with what it's like being a mother. Kids know if they are loved so some of those moments mom's might regret aren't going to ruin a kid. It's the big picture that counts.

  17. Julie Hedlund says:

    What a beautiful post and inspiration to keep close to our hearts in our "bad mom" moments.

  18. Right now, my children are my biggest nightmare! I was going to blow a gasket if naptime didn't arrive. And if this afternoon isn't calm enough, I may need to escape after dinner for some quiet.

  19. Oh Sherri, you made me cry. I can't think of a more perfect and more needed thing for me to read today. It has been the worst day and I have not been a great mom. Sometimes it feels like being a mom is just too big of a job and I will surely fail no matter what I do, but thinking of them as my cheerleaders, as knowing that I will make mistakes and that is ok, it makes me feel so much better. I know I love them and they know I love them and would do anything for them. Wow, I feel so much better. Thank you!

  20. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) says:

    Truly a beautiful and extremely well written post. I could not have said it better myself. I did beat myself up over losing my cool but you are right…they do cheer for us. My little guy asked Dad to buy me flowers at the store and ofcourse that completely melted me b/c he must have known I needed it πŸ™‚

    It is so sad thinking of those children that you work with and yet, they want more than anything to be with their Moms again. Heartbreaking.

    Thanks for such a beautifully written piece and for the mention πŸ™‚

  21. Thank you. I really, really needed to read this just at this moment. I never thought of it this way. But I need to. I need to.

  22. Just Another Mom of 2 says:

    Oh this is such a perfect post on this topic. It is so true- we hold ourselves to some imaginary level of perfection that simply doesn't exist. What a great perspective.

  23. Eek…now you've just made motherhood seem scarier. You mean I might blow a gasket? There might be poo in Target? I'm still scared — I may just have to buy another handbag in compensation! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the real post. (Yep, had to remove the comment because I said "blog a gasket" … likely would blow the gasket and then blog about it)…just sayin'.

  24. Beautiful post! There have been so many little ones who have ended up in my classroom with really difficult home lives. Makes me want to take them home with me instead!

  25. Thank you for this post. I already feel mommy guilt and that I'm not doing enough, and my kiddo is only eight months.
    One thing that's nagging at me though why do some of us have such a complicated relationship with our own mothers? I will admit I am NOT my mom's biggest cheerleader. Mystery.

  26. Oh thank you for posting that Sherri. I've said it all too many times for the simplest of mistakes and yet those big brown eyes are always waiting for another hug and kiss from me. We really do learn our best lessons from our children and the best lesson may just be that perfection is not what makes us best.

  27. I always find my way to your blog just when I need it the most. Thank you for this! I needed to read this today.

    They are little pieces of our hearts after all, aren't they?

  28. Morgan B. says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! I have been feeling like a bad mom lately. I'm having a hard time adjusting to having two children and I hate to admit it, but I'm not enjoying motherhood very much right now.

    Your post really gave me the lift I needed today.

  29. Thanks for a great post! Glad I found you (on Twitter, via @BTAC_blog via @erinlynn76). Being hard on ourselves keeps us striving to do better, but we have to balance it by giving ourselves a break!

  30. Mrs.Mayhem says:

    Sherri, you rock! This is such an excellent post!

    As I'm sure you are aware, teenagers feel free to point out all of our shortcomings. This is a great reminder to keep everything in perspective.

    I find if I disregard my teen's attitude and calmly stand firm on my position, ultimately, he'll do as I wish and apologize for the attitude later.

    Thanks for this awesome post!

  31. I LOVE this! Thanks

  32. pamelahutchins says:

    Wonderful post! Love this. Found you from the Blogging Goddess. I am a forty-something (ok 43.5) mom of 3 teenagers, so I FEEL ya!!

    Nice to "meet" you

  33. I agree! I teach an intro to composing autobiography class, and my students always seem to write about their parents (either in how much they admire them, how much they appreciate them, or even in how much they wish they had a better relationship with them.) The reality is that they will always put their parents on a pedastal even when they have been less than great. You're right…no matter if we get a little upset here or there…our children will forgive us!

  34. MICHELLE RENEE' says:

    New follower and loved this post. I am the queen of taking myself on the guilt trip…:/

  35. I love this post, too. What a great perspective.

  36. Drama queens mum (Kimberly) says:

    That's true. I never really thought of it that way.

  37. Yup!! I so get it. One of mine threw an epic fit this evening. I scolded appropriately, which made him even madder… he got over it. We read a book. And just before he went to bed, he told me "I like you Mom".

    And I was an incoherent puddle on the floor.

  38. Sherri,

    This post just made my day and made me feel better. I get called "the worst mommy ever" at least once or twice a week (maybe more often!) and it's hard to hear. But you're spot on about everything. Thank you.

  39. Bethany @ Organic Enchilada says:

    I am so glad I read this. I have felt like a complete failure in my parenting lately, and now I feel like even if I am, it's not too late. At least I'm not incarcerated! You are awesome, Sherri.

  40. Thanks Sherri for this beautiful message. Just what I needed after my week my mommy hell.

  41. Sherri- this was the most amazing post. Truly. Every little bit of it. Such a perfect balance of smiling at your humor and wiping the tears of heart wrenching honesty.

    THE BEST post I've read in weeks, not just from you, but from anyone. I'm SO happy I stopped by.

    Also? Thank you.

  42. LegosInMyPocket says:

    im sending this to my momma.. she should <3 it. thank you πŸ™‚