I’ve thought this phrase to myself a thousand times: Motherhood is a thankless job.

In a lot of ways, it feels true. We spend our days making meals no one will eat and washing dishes that are full of wasted food. And then there’s cleaning the house that gets destroyed again only minutes later, packing school lunches our kids refuse to eat, signing our kids up for sports they’ll end up not wanting to go to.

It’s a constant, long list of chores and jobs we have to do to take care of our family, and usually, the tasks are unappreciated. The kids don’t care that you slaved over dinner, they’d rather have a bowl of cereal. They don’t care that you just mopped, they’re still gonna walk in with their muddy shoes. They don’t care that you put a lot of thought into their school lunch because the cafeteria lunch looked WAY better. No matter what you do, it will feel undervalued, under-appreciated, and un-wanted. 

But motherhood isn’t a thankless job, we just have to look for the thanks a little deeper sometimes. 

It may not be an outright, “Wow, thanks Mom, you’re the greatest mother on the planet, and of course, I will eat my entire plate of quinoa and Brussels sprouts!” But the thanks is there.

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Look for some of these signs when you’re feeling discouraged: 

They say “I love you” out of the blue. 

They ask you to snuggle them.

They want to spend time with you. 

They pick you a flower from the yard. 

They color you a picture.

And so many more.

These seemingly small moments are the ones in which our children are telling us, “I love you, Mom. I’m thankful for the loving care you give to me. Thank you for loving me the way you do.” 

Your baby gaining weight is a silent thank you for all the hours you spent pumping and the middle of the night cluster feeding. 

Your toddler learning new words and skills is a silent thank you for all of the time you spent teaching her. 

Your son offering to help you with the dishes is a silent thank you for teaching him that it’s important to contribute to the household and that he knows your time is valuable. 

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Your teenager coming home and being excited to tell you about their good day is a silent thank you for being so open and ready to listen on their bad days

Find the thanks and the appreciation in the little moments and reflect on them on the days when you’re feeling particularly unappreciated. Those kids love you and need you so much and that can be a big load to carry some daysbut never forget to search for those silent thank yous.

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Ashley Smith

My name is Ashley Smith. I am a 25-year-old mama to a 4- and 6-year-old, and also a nanny to a 2- and 6-year-old. I am extremely passionate about all things motherhood, particularly helping mamas navigate through the ups and downs, the joys and challenges of motherhood. My goal is to let every mama know they are not alone and to provide a judgement-free, raw, honest place where they can find encouragement.

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