Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Micah played "Angels We Have Heard on High" in sacrament meeting on Sunday.  He walked to the front of the chapel without a drop of fear, settled down on the bench, and made music. I listened to every note and bathed in the emotion he brought to the room.  He made one huge mistake that I'd never heard him make, and I worried how he was going to get out of the mess he'd made.  I shouldn't have worried.  He created a bridge between the mistake and the correct spot and continued on, with no one in the audience (besides me) even aware that he'd made a mistake.  He even took a little bow, which drew a small chuckle out of the congregation.

When the meeting was over, many people congratulated Micah on his performance.  I was so proud of him.

Later that afternoon, I had two separate conversations.  A friend was commenting on his solo, and she said, "Wow.  You are an amazing mother to be able to do that.  I'm impressed."  That comment struck me as odd, and I replied, "No, he was born with that in him.  It's not me."

Later, another friend's son posed this question:  "Does his mom make him practice, or do you think Micah just loves piano so much that he does that all by himself?"

These two questions got me thinking, and I realized that much of his achievement on the piano is because of me.  Here's a not-so-secret secret: 

Although Micah loves to perform, he HATES to practice.  I have to sit with him every day while he runs through sight reading, scales, exercises, assignments, and solos.  I fight with him more often than not when it comes to practicing, sometimes with our practice sessions containing the venom-laced phrase: "I HATE PIANO!  I WANT TO QUIT!"  And yet there I sit, 5-6 times a week, forcing him to do something he professes to hate while I help him learn something I know he was born to do.  People may see his fantastic performances, but they have no idea how many hours we spend at that keyboard every week.

That's the thing about being a mother.  Your children's shining moments are pretty rare.  People don't see past what your children present to the world--are their clothes and faces clean? Are they sitting still and behaving?

I found this spider's web a few weeks ago by accident.  I stared at that mama spider for quite a while, admiring her intricate work on her web, and the cradle she'd constructed for her unborn babies.
I watched that web for four days, wondering when it would come loose.  You see, poor mama spider had picked a poor place for her home:
I wouldn't wash my Suburban or allow anyone to open the tailgate while she was still there.  After every drive I would check on her to see if she and her fragile home had survived the gale-force winds.  She hung on for four days, fixing the holes and reinforcing the supports.  Then, just like that, her web was in tatters and she had disappeared.

I reflected many times on that mama spider, and after the comments I received concerning Micah's piano performance, I completed the circle of my thoughts.

We mothers are so much like this mama spider.  We work so hard to create the perfect environment for our children, but the world can't understand  and doesn't see (and rarely appreciates) all the work that goes on behind the scenes.  Motherhood is so much more than what can be seen by others.

So today, I am shouting out to all mothers everywhere because, like my friend said to me

You are an amazing mother.

You know when the library books are due and where to find the missing book (even if you still pay late fines sometimes).

You make three meals a day, every day (whether or not a few come from Taco Bell), scrub toilets, floors and fridges, and you wash and fold countless loads of laundry.

You limit computer time and TV time, no matter how much they complain.

You know your child's fever from a simple forehead kiss.

You tell time by PBS's morning schedule.

You take the responsibility to decide which movies are best for your children, not pawning the responsibility off on friends or the rating system.

You are an amazing mother.
You watch every game, every concert, and every recital--even the crappy ones--because you know that your children search for you in the audience (even though they act like they don't care you're there).

You run emergency items to the school--lunches, musical instruments, assignments, PE clothes.

You teach your children the value of money and hard work by getting them out of bed at 5:30 am to clean Dad's office instead of letting them sleep--even if it is a school morning.

You wait up for curfew at midnight, clean up vomit at 2, comfort a nightmare at 3, change a wet bed at 4, then get up to exercise by 5:30, all before the sun comes up for the day.

You plan errands around nap times and sports practices.

You force them to learn the life skill of apology--even when they are too small to spell.

You are an amazing mother.

You give spelling tests and time tests and monitor grades online.

You check under the couch every time the family room is "clean," because you know it really isn't.

You hold scripture study and family prayer daily, even though the murmuring and complaining are almost more than you can handle some days.

You understand when two brand-new retainers somehow get run over in the parking lot of the junior high, even though you're furious.

You assign many extra chores to show how expensive it is to replace two small smashed pieces of plastic and metal found in the parking lot of the junior high.

You send kids to the corner many times a week and try to stifle a smile when a four-year-old spends her time in the corner composing a song--"You're in the corner, you're in the corner, you're in the corner--that's where you put your nose in" (to the tune of "Follow the Prophet").

You are an amazing mother.

You watch as your beloved children fall from making bad choices, and love them through the consequences, even when the consequences are severe.

You are the one they come to to fix their skinned knees and bloody noses and broken hearts.

You feel every ounce of pain when they hurt and wish that you could somehow remove that pain.

You never feel like you do enough or know enough or are good enough.

You see your failures and your disappointments and your shortcomings.

You think you're ruining these children you've been given, because how can your meager efforts ever be enough?

But guess what?  You are just what your children need.  You are their mother, and you are amazing.

No one is ever there to cheer your laundry-folding skills or how fast you can get dinner on the table, but the next time you feel those winds circling around your little corner of this crazy world, remember my little mama spider. 
Never give up, no matter how hard the wind blows. It's not about the winning touchdown or the showstopping performance or the 1600 SAT score--it's the everyday that makes the difference. Work as hard as you can, wherever you land. Life never turns out the way we plan it.  Kids rarely are perfect, and rarely are their mothers perfect, either.  But perfect or not, I hope you never forget

You are an amazing mother.


  1. Mothers have been given "amazing" gifts to want to do all those things, even to LOVE doing all those things. Aren't we lucky?

  2. I'm really glad I read this today.

  3. What a great post. I am currently pregnant with my first and I hope I can be this kind of mom.

  4. jen you're just a phenomenal woman. i absolutely adore your insight and the way you can put things. i feel honored to be able to see into your life and read your wisdom. you are a mother to more than you know:) thank you.

  5. I desperately needed this today!! Thanks for reminding all of us that we are integral in the lives of our children regardless of what they or anyone else may say!

  6. This made me cry the good cry. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. Long-time reader, rare commenter here. But what a fantastic message today! Thank you!

  8. Beautiful. Thank you so much. Just the words I needed to read this morning.

  9. I Love this. Made me cry. You reminded me of what matters most. I get caught up in trying to do everything "perfect" and fail every time, and then feel bad about it. Vicious cycle. But all we can ever do is try our best. And we are amazing for trying. Thank you Jenni. I love your writing. I just found your blog, maybe on pinterest or something....but it is wonderful. I love it, and I love you! xo, Amber

  10. I laughed out loud at the telling time by the pbs morning schedule. If dinosaur train comes on, we should already be gone for preschool!

  11. One of your best posts, ever! No kidding.

    And I chuckled to read the part about being able to tell the temperature by kissing the kid's forehead. I always did that, too!


  12. Hi! I know I already commented, but I loved your blog entry so much that I blogged about it on my blog (with a link). Hope you don't mind! I've also posted on facebook about one of your other posts too!
    P.S. If this bothers you, please let me know, and I will take it down....but I'm pretty sure you won't mind. YOur words of inspiration are amazing and I'm sure you touch many lives! :) I just wanted to spread the love! :)

  13. I love your post but please remember not all moms can be up all night and be ready to exercise at 5:30 am - moms with disabilities can be amazing, too!

  14. This was the first place that told me the answer. I have added you to my bookmark list to check out new articles you post
    opalcourt-leeds.co.uk |

  15. Mate this is a very nice blog here. I wanted to comment & say that I enjoyed reading your posts & they are all very well written out. You make blogging look easy lol I’ll attemp to start a blog later today and I hope it’s half as good as your blog! Much success to you!
    wilmeshospitality |

  16. It is always on the side of those who needs help.
    bigeasyweddings |

  17. This is a very good post. Just wonderful. Truly, I am amazed at what informative things you've told us today.
    obd-home |

    hometorrevieja |

    rsnewhomes |

    myhomeballarat |

    sendacardhome |

    7thhome |

    luxuryhomestogo |

    myhavenhomes |

    hailhomerepair |

    mysincityhomes |

  18. Apple prefers introducing it is goods without selected features purposely. To enable them to increase of the functions with next discharge the ones can buy the new edition. . -= Nabeel’s previous website
    borrisautoparts |

    autoinjurywis |

    vpmautogb |

    lighthouseautomotivellccos |

    auto-satisfait |

    autoshutotaska |

    pasoautosales |

    lafrancaistruck |

    boknowsautorepair |

    escoffiertruck |

  19. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value. Im glad to have found this post as its such an interesting one! I am always on the lookout for quality posts and articles so i suppose im lucky to have found this! I hope you will be adding more in the future..
    specialcarsrl |

    cars4pennies |

    sellcars4free |

    cars4acure |

    automobilewarranty |

    autoapprentice |

    jobsforautos |

    bigeasyautosales |

    autosat |

    autokulma |