This is for all the mothers who froze their buns off on metal bleachers at soccer games instead of watching from cars, so that when their kids asked, “Did you see my goal?” They could say, “Of course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” and mean it.
This is for all the mothers who have sat up all night with sick children in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar Meyer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, “It’s OK honey, Mommy’s here.”
This is for all the mothers of Kosovo who fled in the night and can’t find their children. This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they’ll never see and for the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes.
For all the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes and for all the mothers who don’t.
What makes a good mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time? Or is it heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?
The jolt that takes you from sleeping to dread, from bed to crib at 2 a.m. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?
Is it the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a school shooting, a fire, a car accident, a baby dying?
I think so.
So this is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the mothers who wanted to but just couldn’t.
This is for reading “Goodnight, Moon” twice a night for a year. And then reading it again, “Just one more time”.
This is for all the mothers who mess up. Who yell at their kids in grocery store and swat them in despair and stomp their feet like a tired two year old who wants ice cream before dinner.
This is for all the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started to school and for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.
For all the mothers who bite their lips (sometimes until they bleed) when their 14 year olds dyed their hair green.
This is for all the mothers who lock themselves in the bathroom when babies keep crying and won’t stop.
This is for all mothers who show at work with spit-up in their hair and milkstains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.
This is for mothers who teach their sons to cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.
This is for all mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls “Mom?” in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home or are grown.
This is for mothers who put pinwheels and teddy bears on their children’s graves.
This is for all the mothers whose children have gone astray and who can’t find words to reach them.
This is for all the mothers who sent their child to school with a stomach ache, assuring that they would be just FINE once they got there, only to get a call from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up right away.
This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation. And mature mothers learning to let go.
For working moms and stay-at-home moms. Single mothers and married mothers.
Mothers with money and mothers without.
This is for you, so hang in there. The world would be a terrible place without the love of mothers everywhere. You make it a more civil, caring and safe place for the precious children in our world.
If you like “For All Mothers” you might also like other poems in our Mom Poems index.