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Our children are different, but our experiences are the same. If you’ve brought children in the world, then you’ve been the proud mom, the nervous mom, the thankful mom, the rookie mom, or the tired mom at one time or another. No matter what mom you are today, it’s important to pat the momma sitting next to you on the back. We’re all going to survive this motherhood game one way or another, but it’s a lot easier when a fellow mom takes a minute out of the day to remind you, “you’ve got this.”

So, to each of my fellow mommas reading this today, you’ve got this.  Here’s a salute to you:

To the mother whose efforts are taken for granted, give it time.

Right now, you are living for everyone else but you.  Your children believe your sole reason for existence is to be their maid- to fill their sippy cups, wipe their butts, and feed them ham sandwiches. And although some days you would agree with that assessment, it’s not the case. One day when your child has a child of her own, she will realize your life’s work: what you did behind the scenes, and the pains you took to ensure the best for them.

I don’t know what it feels like to be appreciated by my children just yet, but I do know what it feels like to finally understand the sacrifices my parents made for my brother and me. So tonight if you are feeling unappreciated when you lay down to sleep, think about all the good you have accomplished in your efforts to raise a decent human. Some days as a mother are thankless, just remember that sometimes it’s okay to thank yourself.

To the stay at home mom counting down to nap time, you aren’t alone.

It’s been a rough morning and you check the time- it’s only 9 a.m. You think to yourself, in three more hours I can go take a shower. But that’s basically a century in the world of mom time. So you sit down to read one more book, watch one more episode of Elmo’s World, and play one more game of hide and seek.

Some days go more slowly than others, but you aren’t a bad mom because you look forward to peace and quiet. ALL moms look forward to those few precious moments when they can shower, workout, send emails, and eat a meal in peace. It’s only natural. So when noon rolls around, enjoy every second of that small slice of you time. But first, make sure you put your guilt to bed, too.

To the mom whose kid just stole my little girl’s Minnie Mouse figurine and shoved it down his pants, it’s fine- I promise.

There’s no need to apologize; two year olds are all nuts. Anyway, it’s probably my fault for bringing my toddler’s favorite toy to the pool. Don’t sweat it, I promise I’m not judging your parenting skills. 

In fact, my daughter probably needed a quick demonstration on sharing anyway.  If I’m being completely honestly, I’m just relieved that this time my kid isn’t the one acting crazy. I’ll sanitize Minnie, let’s have a good laugh, and call it water under the bridge.

To the mom with a screaming toddler in the next booth over, you deserve an award.

I watch you bounce your crying baby around the restaurant while your chicken primavera is sitting lukewarm on the table.  You decided to leave the house and brave the public, instead of dining at home for the 20th night in a row. But your decision backfired. 

I know how you feel: you just want to stop the stares, curb the embarrassment, and enjoy your dinner for once. We’ve all been there. In fact, my daughter just dumped her entire plate of mac & cheese in the floor in the next booth over. Even though it may not seem like it, people understand. We have all been the mother, father, uncle, grandma, sister, brother, or dinner guest of a fussy kid at one time or another.  So laugh this one off, and try again next week. You never know when that wildcard child of yours might just decide to cooperate.

To the mom standing in the shower in tears, I know it’s hard.

The responsibility of raising another life is a heavy load to bare- that’s never going to change. Sometimes all we can do is stand in the shower and cry about everything we can’t control. But that’s okay. In fact, sometimes a moment alone is the key to clarity. 

So if you’ve had a tough day emotionally, take a minute for you. Breathe and sing and brainstorm and wash off the heaviness of today. And when you emerge from the steam, restart your modem, put on some mascara, and take another stab at this motherhood game. It’s much easier with a fresh face.

To the mom who is feeling insecure about that selfie she just posted on Instagram, you look great.

You know what feels better than someone telling you you’re cute? Having the confidence to post a picture of yourself on social media without giving a flip about whether anyone thinks you’re cute. I envy your confidence.

As moms, we are constantly snapping pictures of our little ones. Sometimes it’s good to give that a break, and turn the camera around. Yes our children are cute, and yes their pictures will probably generate more likes. But who cares?! We moms can be petty darn cute as well. Let’s not be afraid to celebrate OUR beauty every once in a while. 

To the mom who keeps apologizing about her house being a wreck, save your breath.

We get it. You are in the child raising business, and raising children equals complete and utter destruction of the home. I promise if you invite me over, I won’t even notice. 

If it makes you feel better when I visit another mom’s home that isn’t perfectly tidy, I feel relieved. Not because your mess is worse than mine (you should see my basement), but because it’s another reminder that it’s normal to have a messy home when you have kids. Just think of it like you are doing your duty to boost motherly morale.

Right? Right.

To any mother past, present, or future, I salute you. 

We moms are all going through the same journey, even though we may be on different paths. As we experience this phase of our lives, we are essentially just playing musical chairs, trading one vantage point for another.

So cheers to all of us- to the mom occupying the chair beside me, the one in front of me, and the one behind me. I’ve been in your shoes before, and you will be in mine. May we never quit supporting each other as we tiptoe along this thrilling, yet challenging journey; and may we soak up every single moment while the music is still playing.