Listen up Buttercup,

I love you so much, more than you will ever understand outside of having children of your own one day. It’s a love I can’t explain. It’s a feeling too big for words. It’s fierce and beautiful and amazing.

And that’s why you should know, I’m not in this motherhood thing with the hopes of winning a popularity contest. I’m not looking for a blue ribbon for being the “Nicest Mom of the Year”. I’m not after the gold for being the “Mom Who Always Says Yes” or the “Most Lenient Mama” or even “Coolest Mom Ever”.

Nope, that’s not what I’m after.

I’m after your heart. And even more, I’m trying to point your heart to the One who loves you even more than me.

So in this heart work we’re doing, where I’m trying to teach you about kindness and compassion, hard work and determination, bravery and empathy, and you’re trying to teach me how to keep my cool while you roll your eyes, we’ll have to tread carefully lest we continue to step on each other’s toes.

That’s not what I want, truly it isn’t. But I’m willing to have a few squished toes and hurt feelings when you call me “mean” and whatever other arrows you’ll sling my way as you get older if that’s what it takes to mother you well.

Mothering you well means saying “yes” to a lot of things, but also saying “no” to some things and standing firmly behind that “no”.

Mothering you well means teaching you about character and that what’s on the inside is far more important than what’s on the outside.

Mothering you well means showing you that loving God and loving other people are really the only things that matter much at all because without love, we’re nothing.

Mothering you well means teaching you that although my world stopped the moment you were born, the rest of the world did not. Each person you meet is just as special and just as loved by God as you are.

Mothering you well means loving you enough to set boundaries and even to be unpopular if the situation arises if in doing so your heart may be molded.

The older you get, I feel certain the more boundaries you’ll push, and the more your toe will edge closer to the lines I’ve taught you not to cross. I’m sure I’ll know frustration, hurt, and dismay as we continue to navigate this mother/child journey together.

I’m not a perfect mama. I try so hard . . . I want to be, but I’m not. But no matter what happens. No matter what’s said. You can rest assured that at the very core of every decision I make, both the popular and unpopular, is my steadfast love for you. And my love can never be reduced, shaken, or taken away.

I will always love you. And I know you love me, too. Our toes may get sore from time to time, but it’s my greatest privilege to dance this dance with you.

And I hope that perhaps one day, many years from now, you’ll look back and say, “You know what Mama, I think you’re pretty cool after all.”

Originally appeared on No Mama’s Perfect


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Ginger Hughes

Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother to Ella and Elam, and a part-time accountant.  She is a Georgia native, but presently calls the foothills of North Carolina home.  She loves coffee, nature, and reading, but with two children under six, she struggles to find time in the day for any of the above!   She is a Christ follower and a fellow struggler on life’s journey who seeks to find joy in the everyday. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace, and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children, that we are not alone in our brokenness, and that we are all deeply loved.  You can read more of her writings at