1. Wow. You did make me tear up a bit (thank goodness for that box of tissue on my desk). My mom could have written this. She had three kids in diapers at once – I imagine she was a lot like you. I know that she’s had episodes of depression throughout my growing up years, possibly caused by the same questions you are asking yourself.

    Let me tell you something. Her love and sacrifices were not worthless. She stayed home with us, pestered us, made us eat things we turned our noses up at. We learned how to clean our rooms, do our laundry, scrub toilets and, believe it or not, chop wood because our house only had a fireplace for heat and one person couldn’t do all that alone. 6 kids she did this for. My dad hustled at work, then came home and cleaned, baked bread, played with us – he was a true partner but his work was long and he was subject to weird hours as a salesman, then a reporter. It wasn’t until he was in his 70s that he even got to go through a hurricane at home – he was always out there covering or making sure information was getting to the public. My mom had to cope alone during some pretty scary times.

    This past week, one of my brothers had a stroke. This particular brother was probably the most challenged of the children. He had dyslexia (which wasn’t discovered until he was 16) which made his school career difficult at best. That severely limited his job possibilities, but he did what he did best – he helps people. Officially, he’s a tow truck operator but in reality, he’s a knight. He helps people on the side of the road. He’s kind to everyone he meets. He will bend over backwards and then some if you have a need and he can do something about it. He is the most honest person you will ever meet. Yet, in spite of how wonderful everyone else thinks he is, his self-image is quite low. Lack of education is part of it. Being a blue-collar guy is part of it. He’s never found a wife. But he is a wonderful, loving and giving person.

    While he was in the hospital, the staff psychologist came in to evaluate him and determine whether or not he would manage when he got home. They talked about a lot of things and I was there for a little bit of it. He asked about his childhood. And my brother said it was the best childhood you could imagine. His mom was a stay at home mom and he loved that about his childhood. She was always there for him. I left the room because I felt like he should be able to fully express himself and his feelings about his life (I don’t know if anyone’s ever even asked him before), but I did hear that part.

    You love your kids. You love them when they’re easy and you love them when they’re difficult. You love them unconditionally – because one day, your difficult child will be a remarkable adult and whether she knows it or not, you will have played a huge part in who she becomes. Success isn’t always about money or jobs or even getting the dishes washed that day. It’s about the feelings in your heart.

  2. I’m not sure what to tell you.

    Both of my children have expressed appreciation that I stayed home with them. They’re people who are full of integrity, humor, compassion and decency. They are the finest things I’ve ever made.

    I have never wished I spent more time working, earning money, being appreciated by people who mean nothing to me.

    But during the time they were small, I was too busy with them and all the things that went along with motherhood to appreciate mySELF.

    I look back now and realize how much I did and how well I did it. Oh sure, I didn’t have a spotless house. We were often suffering from too much month at the end of the money.

    But now, all these years later, I realize that although I wasn’t perfect and I didn’t do anything 100% correctly, I was exactly what they needed.

    You’re a good mom.

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