Just A Mom

In Motherhood, Parenting by Jen68 Comments

Sometimes there are conversations that you are a part of or overhear that leave you thinking about them for days.

Last week I was sitting in the children’s section of my local Library with my toddler Anneliese. She wasn’t really interested in having me read her any books, but instead wanted to play with the interactive kid’s structure the Library has. As I sat there, I saw one mom approach another mom. They recognized one another, hugged and began talking. I was so close it was hard not to hear their conversation.

One mom asked the other mom what she had been up to for the past several years. That mom answered that she had been involved in ___ profession and had been very busy and successful. She was only working part time now that little ____ was born. She then asked the other mom what she had been up to. That mom responded, “Oh I’m just a mom. I haven’t really done anything important.”

Shortly after this the two friends hugged and went their separate ways. It has been a week and I still can’t get that one line answer I heard out of my head.

This overheard conversation has left me wondering, how many other women feel like they aren’t special and are instead “Just a Mom”?

I would wager there are a lot of us who at one time or another for many varied reasons have felt like we are “Just Moms”.

The work of mothers is hard and sometimes thankless work. Because of this there are times where perhaps we can be left feeling like we don’t “measure up” and are failures as mothers. I would counter this sentiment though with the truth that NO ONE has ever really failed, so long as they keep trying.

There is a scene in Les Miserables from Victor Hugo between a sergeant and a soldier that has always resonated so powerfully with me:

“She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to her children, who ate with eagerness. ‘She hath kept none for herself,’ grumbled the sergeant.

“‘Because she is not hungry,’ said a soldier.

“‘No,’ said the sergeant, ‘because she is a mother.’”

When I was young my mother had a quote on her wall that said, “God couldn’t be everywhere at once, so he sent the world Mothers.”  I don’t think I understood the truth and power of that simple quote until I was much older. Indeed my mother and even other mothers who have on occasion, taken me in when I needed it have been some of the primary sources for creating the woman I am today.

Abraham Lincoln had it right.

I have had a pretty full and varied professional life that included amazing experiences with even more amazing people that have at times blown my mind and rocked my world. I have also had less than favorite jobs and experiences that were only made better by the paycheck at the end of the week.

I can certifiably say that none of those professional experiences ever equaled the thrill of holding a newborn baby in my arms. Then watching that baby learn to crawl, walk, run and grow up through the many stages of childhood and on.

As a mother I know that I am far from perfect, but there is no greater joy in my life than my children. I feel I have been given a divinely appointed role to raise my children and to help guide their early footsteps until they can walk with sure and solid steps on their own.

I know that nothing else I will ever do in my life will equal my role as a mother and that no other man-made accolade will ever be able to fill my heart as much as a simple smile from one of my children does.

Mothers, I hope we never forget that our power for good is immeasurable. We are the smile that can light up a child’s heart, the hug that can wash away a hurt and the shoulder a child can use to cry on.

None of these and the many others jobs that mothers around the world do every day could ever be done by “Just a Mom”



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  1. Hi Jen, I totally agree with you. No Mum is just a Mum, although sometimes we may feel like it. A Mum is responsible for raising the next generation of adults to the best of her ability and yes, we all make mistakes sometimes, but then doesn’t everyone?

    It is most definitely a thankless job at times and in the beginning it can also be a lonely job, but it is never a ‘just’ kind of job.

    Sadly that Mum you heard say that she has been ‘just a Mum’, may be made to feel like ‘just a Mum’ at home. Maybe she just can’t see the good in what she’s doing being ‘just a Mum’. …As us other just Mums know, it’s certainly no easy job.

    I also believe that society has a habit of making Mums feel a little inadequate. Which is so wrong, as behind every adult is a Mum.

    Great post Jen!
    Debbie recently posted…Mommy Reality #27 – This Is My RealMy Profile

    1. Author

      It really isn’t a “just” kind of job! There have been days that were so demanding and long I wondered how I would survive and then there have been days that were far more pleasant and even magical. You can’t really commit “just” a portion of yourself and expect it to work right. You have to be all in or it doesn’t work.

      I really wish after thinking about this now for a while I could meet that Mom again and give her a little bit of encouragement. At the time I didn’t want to intrude, but somehow maybe even a hug would have worked. Who knows maybe she will somehow read this post and it can be like a little virtual hug.
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

      1. I hope she reads your post too. The poor lady sounds like she needs a bit of a pep talk to build up her confidence. It makes me sad to think that any Mum could feel like ‘just a Mum’…Sending out virtual hug vibes to her too…xx
        Debbie recently posted…Distracted…My Profile

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      Thanks Rabia. Just is one of my least favorite words as well. Maybe I should start the “just remove just” campaign :)
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

  2. I once heard… I don’t know where… maybe a talk show, someone say that women are notorious for saying they are “just ____”. This person impressed the importance of removing the word “just” from our vocabulary because it instantly takes away the value of what we do and how we contribute.

    I loved this post Jen. We have very important roles indeed.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Wishing you a lovely evening.
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…Homeschooling Through GriefMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thank you Jennifer. It does take away value!

      I think it might be time to remove just from our lexicon in quite a few of it’s forms.
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

    1. Author

      I don’t think I have ever read that poem in it’s entirety. I am familiar with several of the lines, but the overall poem is beautiful.

      BTW- I love the contrast and compare of a Mom and a CIA agent. That is awesome!
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

  3. I love this! And its true! I was a SAHM before getting back in the workforce a couple of years ago. Sometimes when face to face with a successful career woman, you don’t always think your life as a mom matches up. Leaving you to belittle it to nothing, saying “Just a Mom”. I don’t think I realized it fully until I went back to work, but my life as a SAHM to my 3 children was very important. And no, I was not getting paid in cash, but the rewards were much greater! So thank you for this post! It reminded me that moms hold up this world!
    Live List Repeat recently posted…The Tweenage Years-10 things you should expectMy Profile

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      Thank you! I love your perspective. It is so easy to belittle ourselves as Mom isn’t it?

      A friend today told me she put up a sign on her wall that she looks at everyday, “I am competent not complacent and today I will do my best in whatever situation I may find myself.” I really like that :)
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

  4. “I know that nothing else I will ever do in my life will equal my role as a Mother and that no other man-made accolade will ever be able to fill my heart as much as a simple smile from one of my children does.”

    This is beautiful and illustrates exactly how I feel. Nothing in my life has ever stretched my heart to its limits more than my child and our family.

    Beautiful sentiments – your children are so lucky to have you.
    Sarah Nenni Daher recently posted…Celtic Heart Knot GarlandMy Profile

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      Aww, Sarah thank you.

      I remember thinking I was all grown up and then I had a child. It was that moment when I realized I really didn’t know anything.Motherhood is the great humbler and teacher of life.
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

  5. I love every word of this, Jen! It makes me so sad for that woman sitting in the library. Being a mother is THE most important job we will ever do. We are raising up tomorrow’s world. The quote your mom kept on the wall is fantastic and so true. Like you, I have had some rewarding professional jobs and some not so great ones, but holding my babies far surpassed anything else.
    Candace recently posted…Turning to Food: January UpdateMy Profile

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      Thanks Candace. I felt so bad for her too. I wish I had known what to say to her at the time, but sometimes it takes me a while to come up with an answer to something. Hopefully sometime in the future I will run into her at the library again and will be able to even just hug her..
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thank you Marie. You are absolutely right, the word just does imply that something is lacking and it isn’t fair or right to do that to ourselves.
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

  6. Jen, this is such an important message! Thank you for tackling it. I have heard that many times: “I’m just a mom”. And it breaks my heart. You have done this post so beautifully. Love it. Sharing! PS How do you get those “tweet this” in the middle of a post? I would love to know, if you don’t mind sharing!
    Elizabeth recently posted…5 Tips to Silence Your Inner Mean GirlMy Profile

  7. This just blessed my soul. Thank you! I sat in on a lesson by Lisa Jo Baker at ALlume on this very topic. We as moms need to stop saying “I’m Just a Mom” and realize that what we are doing is KINGDOM work. It is ordained, and it is far from ordinary. Stopping over from the #Shine Blog hop :)
    Misty recently posted…Dear Mom, Who Has Lost Her JoyMy Profile

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      Absolutely Misty, I love the perspective you just added. That is why Moms need Moms! It is Kingdom building, but sometimes it just feels like the building isn’t going very well and that’s when get hard on ourselves. We have to stop that. I need to stop that :) I would love to have been able to sit in on that lesson you did!

      Hugs and have a great day!
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

  8. Such great thoughts! I agree – I don’t understand why so many mothers want to downplay the work they are doing with their kids, for their families, within their homes… There is no other job I feel is more important for me to be doing right now. Thanks for your encouragement! :)
    Chelsea @ The Contented Wife recently posted…5 Common Misconceptions of SAHMsMy Profile

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      Chelsea thank you! It really is such important work. I had a friend who was a therapist and she said that discouragement and self doubt is one of the worst things a woman can do to herself.

      P.S. I am excited to head over your way I just saw the snippet for your last article 5 Common Misconceptions of SAHMs.
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

  9. Wonderful message, Jen! I had a dream job in cancer research and I was absolutely fine with leaving it because my mission was to support my family the best way I could. So many people around me just didn’t get it or, worse, they thought I would be sitting around eating bonbons and watching soaps. Although only 4 months in, I know I will never loose my identity or a sense of accomplishment. I suspect there is some underlying pain in the conversation you overheard. One line answers like that can mean there are some things she doesn’t want to share.
    Rachel recently posted…5 Tips for Replacing your CountertopsMy Profile

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      Oh I agree, I felt so bad for her. I should have at least hugged her, but then maybe she would have called the library security :)

      I love your mission “to support my family the best way I could”. That is such a great perspective. Sometimes we work out of the home, in the home, even both and we do what is needed everyday to support and care for our family.
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

  10. Powerful words and so true. There are days when I feel like “just a mom” but I realize that of all the things that I’ve done, and all the great things that I’ve accomplished, being a mother trumps them all. I hope that woman realizes her strength and power as a mother–that she’s just not “just a mom,” that she is in fact “a mom.” That fact alone should be enough. Thank you for sharing such beautiful words.
    Maria recently posted…CertainlyMy Profile

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      Thank you Maria. I hope she realizes that one day as well. We aren’t “just” moms. Instead we ARE Moms. There is a big difference between the two.
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

  11. Thanks for sharing these words of encouragement. I have been “just a mom” for 19 years now and love it!

    Renee from the #shinebloghop

    1. Author

      Agreed! I always thought it was funny when I was a kid when my friend’s parents would go to work when the kids got older. Those friends got into soooo much trouble! The trouble a toddler can get into doesn’t even match what a teen with time on their hands can do in just a few dumb, thought free minutes!
      Jen recently posted…Just A MomMy Profile

  12. I love this so much! I remember the first time I felt that I was “just a mom”. I felt so useless to the world at large, so lost. It was overwhelming. I still have those feelings some days. It’s easy to forget that being “just a mom” is a lot of work–and important work! We’re raising the next generation! This is just the pick me up I needed today.

    Brandyn Blaze recently posted…Healthy Home Review #1: 10-In-1 CleanerMy Profile

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      I am so very glad you liked this! I too have found myself at times feeling like “just a mom”, but when I really look around at what I am doing and the reasons behind it you can truly see see what great importance there is in our work.

      Hugs and have a great day!
      Jen recently posted…Mommy Reality #28: The Freaking Refrigerator DoorMy Profile

  13. I know far too many self-depreciating and self-medicated “just a moms”. It’s a sad reality which is why I founded the CEO SAHM Movement. We are powerful, courageous, and amazing women… should we choice to embrace our roles. I work just as hard and am equally as educated as many career moms which is why I have a fabulous life as a stay-at-home. I speak highly of my position and I believe that is a “just a moms” greatest downfall.
    Your post should be a reminder to many moms to wake up and see how powerful they are and act on that knowledge. Thanks for the post.
    Tesheena Lowry recently posted…Difference between CEO SAHM & a Traditional SAHMMy Profile

  14. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful post. I recently shared my own journey with leaving the corporate world to stay at home full time as a homeschooling mother. It was one of the hardest transitions of my life and has left me questioning my worth one too many times. Last night, my husband and I were talking about the business, and I made a comment about how I felt like that was when “I used to be important.” He softened my heart and said, “You are far more important now than ever before. We all need you here.” Thank you for the sweet reminder of who we are as mothers and the immeasurable worth that embodies that title.
    Veronica recently posted…Why I Gave Up My Dreams to Become a Homeschooling MomMy Profile

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      I hear you. In the corporate world it seems like being able to measure our worth is so much easier. There are deadlines and criteria to meet. At home the measuring process for our value and worth can get a little less clear. I love what your husband said.

      I have another favorite quote and I mentally say it as my mantra on days that are hard, ” Flowers look up to the sun. Children look up to their Mother.” I want to be the person my children look up to. So every day I can start and even restart if I need to in order to make sure I am that person.

      Hugs and I am so glad you stopped by!
      Jen recently posted…Mommy Reality #28: The Freaking Refrigerator DoorMy Profile

  15. I’m so glad you wrote this. Never “just’ a mom. I’ve had a million jobs – some terrible and some wonderful. Some in which I used my brain more, and some in which I played Solitaire.
    I even work now and nothing is as hard or rewarding as parenting.
    Tamara recently posted…A Post From a Beach House.My Profile

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      Absolutely, thanks Celeste! Motherhood is a tough job and all of our life experiences and training make us better and more rounded individuals who indeed need to stand a little taller.
      Jen recently posted…Talking TutusMy Profile

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      Thanks Heather! I had a friend once who told me women need other women to remind us how spectacularly awesome we are. I know I have needed that kind of support on a few occasions when I was feeling like “just a mom”. Thanks for stopping in and hugs to you as well :)
      Jen recently posted…Talking TutusMy Profile

  16. <3 This is beautifully said! Once we were pregnant and new I'd be staying home with Caleb, I decided I would never say that I was "Just a mom." Being a mom is such an important role!
    Susannah recently posted…8 Baby Products I LoveMy Profile

  17. I had a pretty big weekend this past weekend. When it was all over, I mentioned on Facebook “I’m back to being just an ordinary mom again.” A lady I admire very much replied “you are neither just nor ordinary.” I have been repeating that to myself all week and it’s really made a difference in my perspective. Thank you for letting me know about your linkup. Happy early Mother’s Day!

  18. I love this, and literally just finished drafting something very similar. Being a Mum is everything isn’t it? I am so proud to be “just a mum”. Thanks for sharing. #happynowlinkup
    laura dove recently posted…The Liebster AwardMy Profile

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