Friday, October 16, 2009


My friend Elizabeth is a great mom. She's the kind of mom that makes a fresh, hot breakfast for her kids every day and handmakes crafts and toys. She's also whacked the head off a snake in her yard that was bothering her boys (while she was wearing her nightgown no less). I think about her in disbelief sometimes as I hand my kids a frozen waffle. She approaches motherhood fearlessly and with loving commitment, and yet sometimes she can feel quite bereft about her parenting abilities. (Can't we all?)

The other day she called me and told me about her day. Dishes, dog throw-up, sick child, carpool, school meeting, grocery store. We mothers need to do that -- rattle off the litany of activities that comprise our day. With no one around but small children or surly teens who could care less about the details of the day, moms in particular need to proclaim to someone, "Look here now! I've done something with this day." I like to let my mom friends know, "Yes indeed, you have done something, and I for one applaud you." It may have been so tedious that your eyes were glazing over or so tiring that you find yourself standing in the kitchen wondering why you're there. But it needs acknowledgement. Just a word or two - "I see what you've done, and it makes a difference." It can sometimes move an unsuspecting parent to tears.

I am learning in coaching school that acknowledgement is essential to the one being coached. To anyone really. Taking action can be really hard. Every step, every movement toward a passion, a goal or a dream should be acknowledged and celebrated. Steve Chandler, a great coach and author, says that you don't need to have motivation. Just take action. Some kind of action. You don't have to be inspired to write. Just start writing. You don't have to feel energized for that exercise program. Just put on your sneakers and take a walk. You don't have to feel loving to give your child a hug. Just hug them. Action begets action and motivation follows. With each tiny step, acknowledge yourself. Or take a moment to acknowledge someone else on the path. Whether a mom or a dad or a business leader or a teacher or a child.

Acknowledge the struggles, recognize the actions, celebrate the accomplishments. Acknowledgement is like a shot in the arm, a ticket to ride, a cool breeze. It can make the journey lighter and more interesting. Because someone sees that you've done something. And it makes a difference.

Acknowledge someone today. And then acknowledge yourself for taking action.


  1. Why is it that I feel more frazzled but accomplished, when my list of activities for the day is long, but happier and lazier when I have been physically and emotionally present for the people and children around me? What is it with our addiction to busy-ness?

  2. I have a friend who says that if her to-do list has more than one or two things on it for the day, she knows she has too much to do. I was so shocked at the time. Just one or two things? Are you for real? Now I know how really real she was being.
    I saw a book today called something like What Mothers Do (When It Seems Like They're Doing Nothing). I don't need to read the book to know what the author is saying. We do so much more than it seems and so much of it is "mundane." But there's a profound spiritual side to all that mundane if we choose to see it, and that's whether we cook homemade muffins or warm up a waffle. Thanks for the acknowledgment!