At the End of the Day

Categories Family, Life, Love, Self

What was I thinking when I said I’d write this post?

I’m not even sure how I ended up being the supplier of the prompt except by accident. One minute I said I’m probably not writing about this, and the next thing I knew, Kristi said “will you” and I love her, so I said “of course.”

I couldn’t have been thinking clearly when I said I’d co-host with Kristi for Finish the Sentence Friday this week. Because, you know, that would mean I actually need to write the post in the first place.

And that’s not going so well.

I’ve brainstormed all the mom topics I could think of and none grabbed me as something I wanted to write about – or at the very least, anything I was willing to hit publish on. Should I write about what a joy it is to be a mom? Nah, too trite. Or how hard it is to be a mom? Same. Both are true, but still.

Moms should all get along and support one another? That’s been done ten thousand times. Being a mom is like holding your heart in your arms outside of your body? My daughter made puking noises and said something to the effect of “that’s disturbing.” What about how to handle your relationship with your mother or your stepmother or your mother-in-law?  Nope, nope, and definitely nope.

There’s just no way to talk about this without upsetting or offending someone.

And there’s the rub.

We mothers are all different. We are married and single, young and not so young, biological and adopted, short, tall, fat, thin, calm, anxiety-filled, and a host of other factors that make us unique. We bring our own beliefs and experiences to our mothering and so the ways we mother our children are as numerous and varied as we are.

That’s where the trouble begins…

I was talking to another mother this morning and conversation turned to the topic of our daughters and bullies and just how downright mean kids can be to one another. It’s hard for kids to find their way in the world. It’s hard for them to just be who they are and feel confident about who they are. It becomes particularly challenging when other kids tell them they are somehow wrong or weird (or whatever the word of the year is). Far too often, the things kids choose to pick on in other kids are the best things about them, the things that make them unique.

That behavior doesn’t stop with kids and it doesn’t disappear after our school years are over. Adults do the same things – moms do it. We pick at and criticize one another over so many things – how to feed, how to educate, how to discipline, when and if we should allow them Internet access, when to let them date, drive, or go to the mall alone.

We all have our own ways and our own reasons, yet it often seems we believe everyone else should do it our way.

We somehow feel obligated to offer our reasons to other mothers  – whether they want to know our opinion or not. Perhaps our motivations are backed with the best of intention, a sincere desire to help. But the truth is that not everyone wants to know how we do it. What we all really want is to feel confident that the choices we make for our children are good ones. We all want to feel confident that we are good mothers, just the way we are. We all want validation, not criticism. We all want to be heard.

And even more than want…this is what we all need.

The thing is, at the end of the day – every day – the best thing I am is my child’s mom. And every day I have to figure out how to do that. Some days I get it right; some days I don’t. Some days I wish someone would tell me how to do it; some days wish everyone would stop telling me how. I suspect every other mom out there feels the very same way and we all just want to feel like we’re doing a good job.

At the end of the day – every day – she is my child and I am the one responsible for getting her safely to adulthood. No one else. There are days I just want to scream at every other mother in the universe, “HEY! You raise your family and I’ll raise mine, OK?” Yes, yes, yes, I know all about the whole “it takes a village” thing. And I don’t disagree. But sometimes it is wise if everyone in the village goes home and closes their door for a while. Remember the words of Robert Frost: “Good fences make good neighbors.” We need to learn to stop pushing our own agenda and learn to let one another just be.

At the end of the day – every day – the best thing I am is my daughter’s mother. With that truth comes great responsibility. Every day is an opportunity to teach her how to be, to live, and to love. Sometimes that means speaking up; sometimes that means shutting up. It always means realizing that some days I’m going to get it wrong. And those are the moments that become opportunities to teach her how to mend fences, to reach across and shake hands, to ask forgiveness and to forgive. Those things are hard to do.

At the end of the day – every day – we are all just doing our best. We are all works in progress.


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week our sentence prompt, in honor of Mother’s Day in the US, is “Oh, Mother…”

Your host is Kristi of Finding Ninee. Your co-host is me of right here. To join us and submit your own post, click on the blue button below. 



Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

21 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Brilliant, Lisa. Yes yes yes. Sometimes, the villagers need to go home and shut their doors and simply be. I feel everything about this deeply and am so so glad you pushed through and co-hosted with me this week. You’re a rock star. Happy Mother’s Day to you, my lovely friend! xoxo

    1. Thanks, Kristi, and thanks for having me co-host. I probably would’ve skipped this week otherwise! 😀 Happy Mother’s Day to you, too! xo <3

  2. Amen, AMEN, Lisa! We try to do the very best we can with what we have each day. The amazing thing is that our kids, for the most part, grow up to be well-adjusted adults, and when I try to tell mine that I am sorry for the way some things were, for some of the mistakes I made, they don’t recall those things at all, only that they had good childhoods and they know how much I love them and am always there for them. I suspect that Zilla will feel very much the same. We aren’t perfect, but we are pretty good moms! <3

    1. I think that’s often true, Josie. No matter what happens, kids remember whether they were – and are – loved. Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  3. Oh Mother – you are absolutely right. I think we’d all be much better off if we just recognized that, yes, we mothers are all works in progress. Regardless of the age of the child. Wishing you a very Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. I love that Frost quote.

    Truth and responsibility. Exactly. That’s what makes a good mother and you are one of the good ones Lisa.

    So Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  5. This is such a great post on the joys , challenges and triumphs in the wonderful journey of mother-ing our children , Lisa . And also on being and letting be, for each day is a unique day for each mother with her unique experiences and decisions .We learn so much in the process of teaching our little ones the lessons of life and love .
    A very Happy Mother’s Day to the wonderful mother in you .😊

  6. Thank you for writing this! I often think about how one of the most difficult things in motherhood for me is not being heard. We gain so much by becoming parents, but I also feel like I’ve lost parts of my identity in become one, which is why that sentence about moms criticizing one another and the need to be heard gripped me. I think you bring up such an interesting connection and make an astute observation which I never thought of before. Really enjoyed reading your post!

    1. Thank you, Katia. It’s something that’s been on my mind a lot lately, but sort of in the background, you know? We all want so much for someone to hear us, hear our reasons, hear our successes and failures and that desire often eclipses our awareness that it’s the same for everyone else. I suppose it’s a question of balance – how much do we put out there and how much should we just keep quiet and take everything else in? Thanks for reading and for your lovely comment.

  7. Thanks for coming up with the prompt this week…and for sharing your thoughts on motherhood, as well as on the difficultly of writing about it (and writing weekly, period!). Also thank you for sharing your daughter’s puking noises…that got a laugh out of me!

    1. I really think I came up with the prompt quite by accident, but I’m glad I did; the posts have been just wonderful. Just finished reading your post a bit ago, Hillary – so beautiful. Thanks for yours!
      Glad my daughter’s puke noises made you laugh – she always makes me laugh. 😀

  8. I hope you had a wonderful mother’s day! I may not have met you in person, but I know that you’re fabulous through and through as a mom, wife, daughter, and person. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful week! Sending hugs! This post was great – and you’re going to get your little one to adulthood just fine. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, my friend. And same to you. Glad we’ve met, even in not in person yet. (Maybe someday!)
      Have a wonderful week, too! xo

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