I was walking through Kroger around Mother’s Day when I saw it: a mug on display featuring the hand illustrated note “Good Kids have Good Moms.”
I wasn’t really trying to get punched in the emotional gut while picking up our weekly gallon of milk, but that’s what happened. I felt a bit embarrassed for a moment. My own child had been sent to the preschool director’s office for misbehaving too many times that week. What kind of mom did he have?
There’s no mug for our situation. No cutesy doodled encouragement telling us “Strong-Willed Kids Still Have Good Hearts” or “Hard Kids Have Good Moms Too” or “You’re NOT Raising a Sociopath, Mama.”
I think about my own kids and the reasons they are hard sometimes. My oldest son has been overcoming apraxia with speech therapy at least twice a week since he was a very young toddler. My middle child is terrified by thunder, so he’s sleep deprived after every stormy night. My soon-to-be-youngest child will have an entire new world of challenges to navigate as an internationally adopted toddler.
I see joy and life and love in their little faces. But on a hard day, a stranger would just see a whiny brat.
To the moms of hard kids, there’s no mug for you. So let me write you a little love note instead.
Hard kids have good hearts. Hard kids are supremely loved. Hard kids are smart, funny, kind, generous. Hard kids are world-changers. Hard kids have bright futures. Hard kids don’t back down from a challenge. Hard kids are uniquely qualified to befriend other hard kids. Hard kids are a perfect garden for empathy. Hard kids aren’t “bad.” There’s nothing wrong with them. They aren’t less valued or less important or less welcome. They aren’t a burden or an annoyance to the world around them. And there’s nothing wrong with you either. Hard kids make you grow as a person. Hard kids bring you to the end of yourself and show you how strong you are. Hard kids learn their own strength and courage by watching you. Hard kids are good kids too. Hard kids have good moms too.
One more time for the people in the back: HARD KIDS HAVE GOOD MOMS TOO.
So go give those spirited kids a big hug. You may not get a mug, but you get to raise an incredible child. And let’s be honest: there’s a chance that mug was going to get accidentally destroyed anyway.