The Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’

Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?? 

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’

Some days I’m a crystal ball; ‘Where’s my other sock? Where’s my phone?, What’s for dinner?’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, and she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ 

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. 

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he’d say, ‘You’re gonna love it there…’ 

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

—Nicole Johnson

Correction: Thanks to my wonderful readers, this beautiful essay is now correctly attributed to its author,  Nicole Johnson, rather than “Anonymous” which is how I originally found it. Thank you for your feedback!

178 thoughts on “The Invisible Mother

  1. Pingback: July 16, 2013 | Happy Day to You!

  2. “We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right.”

    I firmly and wholeheartedly disagree with this statement. While I agree that mothers who sometimes feel lost in a tedious job of caring for home and children should take comfort in the fact that what they’re doing is worthwhile and noble, I don’t believe a mother’s actions need to be unseen in order to be done correctly. There is no selfishness or building a monument to oneself in expecting appreciation for the hard work you do, especially from the children you do it for. (What kind of monument are you building if your kids don’t appreciate you and say a heartfelt thank you for that work?)

    I know there are times when I feel like just a pair of hands or just a car and everything else and feel invisible, but I don’t think that’s a reflection of an ideal I’m supposed to aspire to. It’s not a reflection of some higher caller. It’s a reflection that my kids are taking me for granted in that moment, and that gets addressed. No human, no matter the title deserves to have their contributions disappear. Just because we mothers sometimes like to play martyr doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing to do.

    • You totally miss the point of the entire article…God sees you…what you sow, you reap…the lives you nurtured will live on long after you, and be remembered….but how is your choice…I hope my cathedral will be a breathtaking monument to love…

      • I agree with Mary…. I really think that she has missed the whole point of the article. I will definitely rethink my role of the mother after reading this article. I know that there are days when I do fee the same as Sara, but after reading and learning more of God’s word… I do believe that for everything unseen to us, it is seen by my ultimate King. Our kids may not always appreciate the things that we do for them know, but they will and someday she will get what she wants from her kids. I do believe that the ultimate judge is God and we will be rewarded one day for everything that we have done here on earth. I also hope that my Cathedral will be a breath-taking monument to love!

      • I love this article, but honestly, in the age of facebook, vanity wins every time. I see loads of people posting everyday how great they are, when in truth, they are doing what the last generation would call the bare minimum.

        I’m a full time parent, I’m guilty of vanity as well, but reading this article makes me want to change.

    • I think you have missed the larger message. The reality of human nature is the child sees as a child and cannot truly appreciate the sacrifices of a parent until they are a parent themselves. Regardless of of you address a child when they take you for granted, they will respond as a child but do not have the understanding of the impact of their actions the same as an adult could. They respond to your request for respect to appease.

      This posting was about humility, and acceptance that the less- than -perfect miniature version of you will someday be that wonderful human your guidance, counsel and love was forming all those years when no one was looking.

      • And I’m afraid you guys missed the message of the comment. She wasn’t saying humility and service are not important, but I have seen kids who NEVER learned to respect their mothers and just assumed all things would be done for them. They never learned to think of her feelings or well-being. How does this prepare them for the real world? How does this prepare them for relationships, especially if they’re men and have an assumption that women will do everything for them?
        Christ was the most humble and service-oriented person on earth, yet He also had a great deal of self-respect and knew when He needed to have some personal boundaries away from the fold. Though he didn’t ask for anything in return, He also never downplayed His sacrifices as no big deal. This didn’t make Him selfish, this made Him more effective in His service.

        I believe that the greatest acts of service will not be heralded by trumpets or adoring fans, but that doesn’t mean they are any less significant and deserving of respect. If you don’t teach your children to respect the sacrifices you made as a mother, then you’re effectively telling them that your work (and potentially their future work) is also not important or significant. That man carving the bird knew no one else would see it, but I bet he took a lot of pleasure in it and was proud of it. There’s nothing wrong with that and with teaching those close to us the importance of loving and humble sacrifice even if they don’t appreciate it at the time. But not saying anything EVER? That’s a recipe for entitled children.

        • Thanks, pieface,

          If those who think I missed the message will go back and read my comment, they’ll see I acknowledge the larger message. I took issue with the sentence I quoted and the idea that being invisible is the “right” way to parent.

          Also, saying that being taken for granted is okay because children are small doesn’t really meld with the actual post that uses a college age son as an example. She puts forth a scenario in which, if a college age son expresses praise or appreciation of his mother’s Thanksgiving efforts to his college age friend, the mother has done something wrong, has built a monument to herself. When does a child stop being too small to understand that saying, “Hey, my mom is great! Thanks, Mom!” is a good thing. Certainly before they’re an adult living on their own and earning a degree.

          Speaking of Thanksgiving…the idea of getting up at 4 am to create a perfect feast without anyone knowing how much work I’ve done sounds like a wonderful recipe for dashed expectations, entitled kids, and depression. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, hands down, because my kids, husband, and I work together to create our special feast. Everyone gets to feel and show gratitude for the efforts of everyone else in making it all happen. I don’t think everyone has to do it that way, but I don’t think losing sleep so a mom’s efforts can be “correctly unseen” makes any sense at all.

          As a friend of mine put it, I think the author has mistaken motherhood for the “downstairs help.” As I said before, just because what we do is often invisible, it does not mean this is how it must be.

          • I think you read into this too much. Just enjoy the message of building our own cathedrals/children.

          • Well said, Sarah. I teach my daughter to respect me, just as I respect her. I am not invisible. Neither have we missed the point of the article, which is lovely, but we’re adding to it. Mothers are people and should be respected; this actually makes their efforts more appreciated and trains the children to grow up and respect others, including their own future wives and husbands. (I hope the fathers are putting in their fair share of housework and child-molding!)

          • Why can’t you just stop picking this story apart, and let people take from it what they’d like to?

            I don’t understand the need for some people to express their opinion on EVERYTHING. If you don’t like a particular sentence, then disregard it, but please don’t think everyone wants your opinion about it.

            Sorry to sound rude, but motherhood is different to EVERY Mom, including myself. I loved this article, even if I don’t 100% agree to every word in it for my particular style of mothering.

          • It’s not that our acts go unnoticed. When you do your ‘job’ right…these little monuments, more than anyone, stand up and notice. As older teenagers, my kids say …’Thank you…” all the time. Thank you for teaching me manners, respect, importance of family…” It goes on and on and on. For me, the point of this message was, the purpose of our building is not for recognition. Sure, it will be recognized. All masterpieces are. It just wasn’t the point of the building in the first place. Many things will also go unnoticed. That’s okay. God sees. In the end, that’s what matters. :)

          • Why must you take something so positive, and encouraging and pick it apart. Gosh, if your kids ever go without telling you thank you, it may be because they are afraid if they don’t say it how you want it, it will be picked apart and made to feel bad for it. Your comment was like, “yeah your post was great BUT, you said something I didn’t like so im going to focus on that” kind of like putting glitter on poop… its still poop.. like your comment.

          • Yes, thanks for this. I liked this except for the idea that not getting appreciation or recognition is “doing it right.”

          • You rock!! You tell it as it is! I believe the writer of this article believes she does too. It really is how you view it. I agree that we want to instill the values of what we grew upr in this crazy world we live in, and I completely understand that there is and has to be a fine line. We have to draw the line where our kids respect the values we are instilling in them or that our kids just expect everything from us with no help from them. Good for you for posting your views!

          • Guess that’s just the world we live in. A world where a CHILD can’t simply love his mother or father, and show it by the way he talks to them and subsequently lives his life, instead he must say “my mom is great”….apparently. I will never understand that idea. I don’t love my son, teach about respect, discipline, and how to treat others because with
            the though floating around in my head “it would be nice to have him say thanks”. It’s like when parents say it would be nice if you did this for me, because I raised you and all, as if doing those things (making dinner, taking him to his sporting events, caring for him) weren’t your job as a parent. At the end of the day, if I did my job, my son will live a life built on respect, discipline, love, and an ability to treat people the way God intends him to. It won’t be based off of how many times he thanks me or reminds me how great I am. I didn’t wait, with a hopeful heart, as I watched him enter this world thinking man, I better get some appreciation from him for all I’m going to do for him”, mostly because its my job as his parent to do those things. Just like the writer said, if you’ve done your job it will be well documented by the way your child lives his or her life. Same with my job, I don’t work long hours, well past closing time, thinking it sure would be nice to hear a thank you….why? Because it is my duty to do what I do, I have an obligation. My thanks will come in the form of my son meeting the woman who is meant for him, treating her with the utmost respect, and starting a family of his own. Then I’ll know I did my job. Not just because he said I’m great or thanked me every few months for a job well done.

          • Walking the fine line between demanding respect and teaching respect is hard. These things depend on the grace of God but we all have to teach respect and appreciation. Perhaps if we make sure we teach people, including children, to show respect and appreciation for others without pointing to ourselves they will become aware of the principle and learn to show it to those who are laying down their lives for them. Parents, for example, can back each other up in this. If mothers teach, and model, respect and appreciate for fathers and fathers teach and model respect and appreciation for mothers, children are more likely to learn and recognize the efforts made on their behalf. If a culture of respect, alertness to the efforts of others, and expressing gratitude surrounds the child, it will be harder for them to remain ignorant and thankless. An important point raised by Sarah is the need for, and the joy of, working together. I say “joy” because I’ve seen children learn to think of work as drudgery or oppression because of the attitude of others. It’s more helpful to approach even our most loathed tasks with the attitude of, “Hey, let’s get this done as cheerfully as possible and then go have fun.” I learned from most of the comments but would encourage some of you to avoid comments like, “You missed the point.” That may be your opinion, to which, of course, you are entitled, and you may be right, but such a sweeping statement may hinder your own point by arousing resentment or discouragement. Just putting it a bit more tactfully, perhaps, “I think the point was . . .” is a bit easier on the eye, mind, and heart of the reader. That said, may the Lord bless each of you with much encouragement in all that you do.

          • I wholeheartedly agree with you and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thinks this is not a glowing endorsement for mothers. Self sacrifice and humility are great things but having a spoiled family who treats you like a robot is not okay under any circumstance.

            You definitely made me feel better this morning.

          • Sarah Braudaway-Clark and pieface, I agree with your points, though I also appreciate the points in the original piece.

            Part of my job as a Mama is teaching my girls how to be grateful, how to notice the little unseen efforts and kindnesses, and how to say, “Thank you.” I am not entitled to praise just because I did my job well (as should be my attempt), but a little praise makes me want to do it again tomorrow! If no one ever thanks me for changing the toilet paper roll, I’m going to do it anyway. Today, I’ll go do it with a “happy heart.” :o)

            Being grateful is fun! Surprising people by noticing even their effort blesses both of us. And part of my job as a Mama is teaching this…

          • I find it astounding to read such criticism ….Our true reflection comes from teaching our children the LOVE of Christ and his sacrifice for us. Which we all agree upon, I presume! A comparison of such could also be to a Mercedes Benz, a potters work, ect…..It is the fact that we are transparent and real and walk in humility….not always having the answer and falling to our knees and crying out to our Savior ….feasting on His WORD! Demonstrating in action God’s love to others.
            We must take off our glasses of our past and look to the future….!!!! Keep it simple girls keep it simple and sweet! A seasoned mom and foster mom of many special needs children!!!

          • Years from now, it will come back to you, in small ways. On of the children might say”Mom, do you remember when….. Or I’ll always remember what you told me about…..Or I learned how to do that from you”
            It doesn’t happen often, but will you know they listened, that you weren’t invisible..

          • I think that the reference to the college age son and building a monument to herself is a simple way of saying that she is not being identified by individual tasks that she has accomplished or sacrifices she has made. She wants her son to identify her as the person that makes the house a home and that makes the home feel like a welcome place. So what if she doesn’t wake up at 4 am and bake pies or spend hours basting a turkey. She has given love and that love is felt by the people around her. It isn’t a matter of lact of respect, but respect for the whole person as opposed to the individual tasks. I don’t care that my laundry gets piled up and that we may have fast food far too often. My children will not value me for little things I have done, but for who I am and that I make them feel loved.

          • I too like the message of the article, but agree with Sarah’s comment. Growing up, I always knew that my mom was sacrificing for us, not because she told us or ever complained, but because we were raised to be considerate & aware. While other kids pouted about things, I appreciated & was grateful that my mom took time to help set up the drill team dance décor, drove us to practices, showed up at every play, recital, game, etc, let us try things, gave us SO many opportunities that not everyone had. Maybe she felt some of it was invisible, but it wasn’t. :) Some kids take a lot of those things for granted or feel entitled – I felt blessed. You don’t want to build a monument to yourself or act like a martyr, but you also don’t want to hide so much of the work that you do it all yourself & end up overwhelmed. It is ok to be respected & ask the rest of the family to contribute.
            I thought it was awesome of the author’s friend to notice her efforts as a mom & the thought was perfect. :) It is easy to feel like the world is rolling by without you, when in reality you are the builder of the future :)

          • @Momof3boys: YOU just focused on one thing you didn’t like, yet you believe she can’t do the same. What she did, in effect, was start a valuable conversation. The fact is, some people, no matter how well intentioned they are, are vulnerable to suggestion and sometimes don’t stop to dissect a situation or event, but react as encouraged. Congratulations, you are one of them. If not for critical thinking skills or a tendency toward them, we’d still be living in caves and thinking the world is flat. The story is beautiful, she acknowledged that. It’s natural to glean what is poignant to you form stories, situations, etc. Just because your mind only gathered the thoughts that were a given doesn’t mean she is wrong for having gathered more.

      • Looking back to the impact I had on our children is now coming out in the training our grandchildren receive as the standard for their lives. It wasn’t easy to say the least, as I had “friends” who held to the same view as Sarah. There are times when we need to stand for what’s right, even though not popular or immediately gratifying. A true relationship with God and His Word also is a tremendous source of comfort and strength, as well as guidance and help.

    • That is not the point at all; it is about the fact that we do what we do not for the recognition, but because we love our children, because God sees everything we do, and at the end of the day, the result is something beautiful and magnificent; something that will change the world for the better, and it is true – if you are doing it right, nobody will see. I am certainly not a martyr, and I would be willing to bet that most moms would agree with that statement, but I don’t need the thank you’s (and yes, I teach my children to say ‘thank you’ no doubt about it, I run a tight ship), but when they come, man it is a great feeling. They don’t take me for granted, they love me, I am the mom who takes care of them and loves them to pieces. Someday when they are grown, when they say, ‘Thanks mom…’ they will really mean it and understand. Until then, I clean my home with joy, I fix meals happy to see them all sitting at the table laughing, it doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days, what it means is that I love being a mom and know that every sacrifice is worth it for my children…every.single.one…even if the thank you never comes, I do it because I love them and because my heavenly father sees and it makes Him smile :)

    • Sarah, you are spot on, thank you. If more people thought the way you do then society and the children we are raising would be a much better place.

    • Yes, Motherhood is a higher calling and one of the greatest honors bestowed by God. It may be many years before the fruit is evident, but we will reap what we sow!! That is the day our children will rise up and call us blessed. We raised four adult children and they all appreciate the upbringing they received. I personally was never looking for a pat on the back, just knowing I was doing the will of God was enough for me.

    • Hi Mary,

      I’m an older Mum, whose children are now having children…my Grandchildren. :) Like some one else said and I thought it too, you are missing the point, Mary…. I was taken for granted and not appreciated …. but now years later, it is very different. Children have to learn not to be so self-centred, but you know, I remember being a bit like that myself when I was young toward my parents and maybe if you think hard enough you might remember disrespecting your mother at some point too. ;)

      All you can do is your best and the point that God sees is so wonderful to know. I had times when I cried myself to sleep because of wayward youngsters…but they are all on side now and all love the Lord…because I taught them, with my husband. We tried to show them how to follow the Lord and be in the flow of His plans and purposes…we were not perfect, by any means, but where we were not perfect He was and is! He came through for us. I learnt we can not demand respect although we should teach it, as respect is earned. It is not our right but is there when Love and respect is shown to them. They learn by our example…good or bad. :)

      After all the pain and hardships that I went through, I am so glad to be able to say, it was all worth it and would I go through it again?….Yes, I would…hard as it was. I grew in character and trust in the Lord’s faithfulness. To Him I give all the praise and the honour.

      All the very best, my dear….I mean that sincerely.

      • Sorry…my reply was directed to the wrong person … put it down to getting old! It should have been directed to the lovely Sarah Broadaway-Clark. I do beg your pardon. :)

      • Why do you have to talk down to her and demean her just because she disagreed with one part of the article? That doesn’t sound like the love of Christ to me. Some of the responses to Sarah’s comments were really astonishing to me. We’re allowed to have opinions and disagree, and hopefully we can do it like adults and not get nasty and insulting.

    • When I read the article with third person in mind–a person who is sacrificing to help out in the household, but feels unappreciated, I thought, “Yes! That’s the answer. Just see yourself as a monument builder. People will speak kindly of you at your funeral.” When I read the the article while thinking of myself, I felt guilty I wasn’t sacrificing more, and guilty for building monuments to myself (I do that). At least I’ll appreciate myself. But when I read your comment, suddenly I saw things differently. If our children don’t say thank you, don’t appreciate what we do, then WE ARE FAILING AS MOTHERS, BECAUSE WE DON’T TEACH OUR CHILDREN TO BE THANKFUL!

    • Sarah,

      When I first read your comment, I thought that like some of the other commentators, you were being nit-picky. But now I totally agree with the point you’re making.

      I LOVE the overall comment that this article is making, that we as mothers might not be recognized by the world at large or even immediately for the work we do, compared to great physicists and architects, etc. But that we are in fact possibly quietly building and tending as carefully as we can these great cathedrals that are our children, and we’re answering, contributing, being recognized by some higher power — this is a BEAUTIFUL idea and is something that I will carry with me now as a mother to a young child.

      But I understand how you take exception to that particular comment, Sarah: “We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right.” I also disagree with this idea of mothers as martyrs: quietly, silently suffering (getting up a 4 in the morning to bast the turkey?) without any needs of her own, without erring. Not only is it not recognizing us as humans, it certainly does not ensue a “beautiful cathedral” but perhaps a sniveling, self-entitled office building (ha!). Perhaps if only to recognize all their mom did for them when they’re adults. Children should recognize their mommies as humans too — I believe that goes into creating a empathetic, contributing, loving, beautiful cathedral.

      In fact, I feel the time I really reach my daughter at this point (she’s 2) is by asking her to help mommy. She LOVES being useful. While I know this very well could change (ha!), I feel that when I explain to her that I’m tired and it would really help if she could get in her carseat so we can drive home or apologize if I was grumpy or could she carry something to daddy who is trying to get out the door… even though sometimes she can’t understand everything I’m saying to her, her natural empathy is stimulated and she seems to want to help, especially as I’m taking the time to explain it to her as an intelligent being, not as an object that’s being shuffled around. Anyway, think I’m going off on a tangent here but hopefully some of this applies!

      In any case, with that addendum, I think this article is truly lovely and inspirational!

    • Is the thanks you get are prompted or demanded, they are not heart felt. Children learn to be grateful by the example of their parents. It is not until later when children acquire the maturity to appreciate all that has been done for them. Until then a loving smile from God goes a long way.

  3. I really appreciate this little story as a mother of five children and five grandchildren. Sometimes the work seems endless. However it’s also up to us to teach our children to be thankful for what is done for them. We want them to grow up and be thankful and appreciative people, not self involved and arrogant.Sometimes it’s good to tell them -No I’m not available right now-No I can’t do that- No you can’t have that!! Also teach them to say thank-you for things that are done for them. Thanks for the meal Mom! Ask them to do things for you and then thank them yourself. Make gratefulness and thankfulness a part of every day!

  4. Sometimes I wonder if my kids have heard anything I’ve said they try to bully and boss life doesn’t seem fair then there are days like this an I love u mom or ur thanks for dinner it was great, or the phone rings and someone calls to let u know how respectful kids are . Then I wonder if they did listen some after all! Or was that a wrong number?

    • Ditto as to what Mary has said – u missed the bus on this one Sarah..if you build or take care of your family and children they WILL see it – and appreciate it – mine did – it depends on the child and the upbringing.

  5. I totally agree with you, Sarah. We may think it’s noble to sacrifice without anyone noticing, but it’s also very important for us to teach our kids how to express appreciation. If we don’t, our kids will grow up to be the spouse that never notices the things their husband or wife does for them, and that’ll certainly create problems. Nobody else is going to teach them good manners; that’s our job. Yes, sometimes what we do is so subtle that nobody’s going to notice it, but we just need to make sure our kids know when to say a heartfelt “thank you.”

  6. This is a variation of an original monologue written by and performed by Nicole Johnson called, “The Invisible Woman”. Just want to give credit where credit is due.

  7. This really moved me. I’ve shared through email and Facebook and even printed a copy to keep. I plan to share it as a devotional when my school starts up in the fall; I think it applies to my colleagues as preschool teachers as well as mothers.

  8. Pingback: Two Weeks Notice | The Girl I Mean To Be

  9. As a now grandmother, of soon to be five, I became a mother at a very young age. No mother is given a manual on how to be one, you simply do the best you can At times your best is not enough but you never quit because you know that your children depend on you.

    I can honestly say that God has blessed me with all of my children. I may not have materially given them everything they wanted, but they know God. Their children are learning of God, and they are independent. Which is much more than raising dependent, immoral beings.

    One day, we will all give account to God, and answer for the things we should have done but didn’t. Our purpose in life is to learn to love God and our neighbors. I hope that’s what my descendants will do!

  10. Ironically I just wrote a post on my own blog about wanting to quit my “job” because of all the challenges. What a blessing that I stumbled upon this. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Beautifully said. For those of us who have raised our children pass the Teen years can relate to this more. Teens tend to take their mom’s for granted. However I’ve found out when they become parents they realize what we did for them, and we realize what we built..

    • YES! I agree.
      And, to clarify my earlier post, I am a parent of a teen ager and adult children as well as a Grandparent. And, yes, I did teach all of my children to appreciate what is given to them and what others have done for them as they were growing up. But, as I stated before, due to human nature, for most people, it is not until you are an adult yourself that you can really appreciate what others have done for you (hence the Cathedral Building reference). The writer is speaking of the true-life experience that, I would bet, 99.9 percent of parents go though with their children as they raise them; the child cannot see all the sacrifices a parent makes and truly appreciate them until they have grown and have begun to live their lives as an adult or a parent themselves.

      And, I would venture to say that some of the other posters who think the author is saying that you shouldn’t teach your children to appreciate what is being done for them, have not yet raised a teenager!

    • My husband has stated one of his favorite moments with his daughter was when she as a young mother she said “Dad it sucks being an adult” – he hugged her. He knew at that moment that she had grown up – she was no longer a child. He knew she would be fine. And he knew she now knew of some of the hard work we had put into her. There is still many lessons that she will learn. And one of them is – life is not easy – but it’s WORTH every minute. The good the bad añd the incredible.

  12. I appreciated those words;though admittedly,I did not read it all.Through my book and its great futuristic potential,I hope that I have built an empire and it will help the next generations survive and thrive.Come on, USDA, where are all the new jobs associated with my new farming techniquies real and envisioned? May our family benefit right away with jobs that will last generations.Thanks.”Diary of a Small Farmer”.

  13. Thank you. As a mother of 2 (and a half), sometimes I feel like I’m invisible, overtired, and just generally stretched. I needed to read this.

  14. Thank you so much for these beautiful words! This is how I feel every moment of every day. “The Sunken Cathedral” by Debussy comes to mind…stunning!

  15. I used to be invisible. And I was not happy. So much was expected of me. I was so tired all the time. I couldn’t enjoy anything because I rather sleep. Until a visit from my grandmother.
    Now I have twin boys. In my house I’m referred by them and by my husband as “The Queen” I help out at school 2-3 times a week. I work really hard at home to run a beautiful, organized and clean home. I like to welcome my husband with a smile, food, and looking pretty. I like cooking their favorite meals, taking the boys on “adventures” . Making their lives a wonderful as I can. However. I too have expectations from them. And they know it. My husband and kids do the grocery shopping. I cook. I do laundry, and fold laundry. They put it away. Etc. I’m teaching my boys that things just don’t appear out of thin air. That everything requires work. I have a lot of play dates at my home and it fills me with joy to hear my boys say ” thank you mommy, that was an awesome play date.”

    I’m not invisible in my home anymore. My family knows how hard I work. They appreciated and spoil me rotten for it. I don’t have to wait for Mother’s Day for my boys to bring home flowers or give me a big hug and kiss and say “thank you”. Sometimes I have breakfast in bed. PBJ and ham sandwiches ( i know smh) that my boys make me because “it is our turn to make breakfast” It makes me want to do even more for them. One of my boys once called my BFF and told her to come over and have ladies time with me. He made iced tea and put Oreos on my beautiful Target platter for us. My husband sometimes calls and says don’t worry about dinner. I’ve got it. I have no reason to be depressed or overwhelmed or resentful anymore. I feel loved and appreciated. And now I even have time to let my creativity out and do all those projects I pinned from Pinterest. All because they see me. As I see them.

  16. I think both, the writer of this article and Sarah, make accurate points. The fact is that these are two separate issues; they are not mutually exclusive. Each idea is valid in and of itself and needs not to defend itself against the other.

    At risk of over-simplifying, the article addresses the perspective of the mom not placing herself as the centrality of attention in her efforts in raising children. Sarah’s issue is teaching children to be appreciative and express appreciation rather than to absorb themselves as the hub of the universe with all spokes leading to focus on them.

    Both are equally good points, in and of themselves. They do not exclude or preclude the other. There is no need to force either premise to meld with the other. They can stand alone.

  17. I am not into big feasts and the kids all know it so I just love what it said about the friend will just “love it here”…no matter how it goes down such as Thanksgiving dinner! Some people do build a monument with food and I become uncomfortable by their detailed cooking and the motive in which they cooked it. I have to say I have also cooked, to exhaustion, for compliments but I do know that some women LOVE to cook. God gave me a husband that will eat ANYTHING…if it turns out or not!!!!

  18. Two comment: 1. For those of us who are Christian, serving our families is, in reality, serving Christ. HE sees, HE will reward. 2. It is the responsibility of Dad to show appreciation to Mom for all she does, modeling thankfulness for his children and teaching them to notice what Mom does/is doing and teaching them to EXPRESS their thanks to her for all her sacrifices. If he is a real man, she will not be invisible — she will feel their thankfulness every day.

  19. In the case of my children, I think they do see what I do, and I do get thank yous from time to time, and I think that’s about all I can expect. I don’t expect them to go overboard with their appreciation until they can truly understand what it takes to “do it right’ – i.e., when they have their own children. Until then, I’ll have to rely on those little moments, imperceptible to anyone but me, their mother, that what I am trying to do seems to be working. The other day I stopped and gave some food to a homeless person. All three of my daughters were in the car with me. One of my daughters asked me why I did that, and I told her, “Because instead of judging them I want to love them, as Christ loves them.” My oldest daughter then finished my sentence with a scripture that I often have quoted to her on the subject of loving our fellow men. This made me feel more proud and more fulfilled as a mother than any award she could have received from school or sports, or any academic or career achievement. She “gets it,” and I know that she will strive to practice the love of her fellow man in her own time and teach that to her own children. What else could I ever want?

  20. It’s so upsetting that people have to argue the “true” meaning of this article… There is no one right way to parent… We should all think outside of the box a little and take from the article what we can use in our own lives; which will always be different than something that applies to the next reader. Something that stands out to me, and speaks to my experiences as a mother will always differ from ma y other women. So we each take from this a different lesson. There isn’t just one message in this article and there isn’t just one right answer in response to it.

  21. This should be required reading for everyone….sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and, yes, husbands….especially husbands!

  22. This is beautiful and touching. Just one problem: if the children spend their lives never noticing how hard their mothers work to keep things wonderful, they will grow up to be selfish brats who expect someone else to always keep things lovely. Which of her children will someday say ‘Mom worked hard to keep our home lovely, I have to do the same for my home?’ Which of her sons will say ‘I appreciate my wife for all the work she does, just like my Mom did.’ All that sacrifice is lovely between this mother and God. But she needs to make sure her children know that clean socks, basted turkeys and ironed linen doesn’t appear courtesy of God, the angels or even Tinkerbell. All that hard work comes from someone’s hands and in their house, those hands are connected to Mom and she’s working her butt off to keep them happy.

  23. I loved this post! It is so true. I have felt invisible many times. Thank you for this post. Looking for the reblog icon so I can share with my readers. THANK YOU

  24. Isn’t it all about the attitude, and dedication, whether anyone else notices or cares? You as a mother knows your job is very important, you are building the next generation who will run the world! What could be more important?! Build with pride and perseverance!

  25. Totally needed to read this. It’s so hard not to feel completely weary as a special needs parent and wonder if you are making a difference.

  26. Play more, work less. I don’t ever want to be invisible to my kids! stability is what they need, not a clean house or an artisinal meal. I’d much rather spend my time teaching and laughing and putting them to bed on time, than being some sort of invisible mom! It’s totally your choice. Life is long, the time you have with your children is short… How do you want to spend it?

  27. Pingback: With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees | The Drew Kari Show

  28. Poignant prose. Thank you. My tumultous relationship w my teenage daughter-whom I had given my all in the raising of- was one of the most heartbreaking experiences in life. My building- despite her rebellion- was rewarded with a card of thanks when she was 19, listing so many of the unappreciated- and I thought, unnoticed, invisible carvings on beams in the attic of her/ our lives. Keep at it moms.

  29. Pingback: Moms: What You Do Matters! | One Lucky Mama Blog

  30. As a mother of two and grandmother of five, I feel this piece speaks volumes. It is beautifully written. Trust me, there is no greater reward than to see your own children become the most amazing parents. That is what they become through your sacrifices and love.

  31. Fascinating… I’m struck by this… The assumption that *someone* needs to see in order for contribution to be sustained… When did we give up our own knowing for the reward of acknowledgement?

    Our world so systematically eliminates our innate enjoyment of contribution that we forget completely that we long to contribute. It does this so it can manipulate us with reward or punishment into always and only doing for other.

    This world also so thoroughly eliminates our awareness about when choosing for ourselves is required that we over-contribute till we burn out. And we patch that burn out with a few measly rewards and then get ticked when they don’t show up.

    What if NO ONE needs to validate your choice. Not kids, not husbands, not friend not god. Choose to contribute to others until you desire to contribute to yourself then choose to contribute to yourself till you desire to contribute to others. It’s like the breath, the ocean, in-out, and its as innate as breathing. Stop making ANYONE else’s opinion greater than your own knowing and the whole “problem” goes away.

  32. WHO ARE YOU? I am sitting here at my desk, my eyes filled with tears. It has been a long few weeks. See, I have two teenage boys – 13, and 14. One has already changed, or is changing. His voice is lower, he has gone through a bought of anger and moodiness. But he has leveled off. And his was short, and rather quiet. But my OTHER boy, well, he is nasty, mean and manipulative right now. He is demanding and void of love for me or his father. He is only concerned about himself and his welfare and comfort. (I remember being this way myself, and it is painful for me to go through this on the other side, and NOT be able to tell my mom how sorry I am for what I put her through.) Just the other day, I said to myself, “I am invisible to him! Why am I even here?” I even had the thought to send him to military school, or kick him outside the back door and make him sleep in a tent and cook his own food in the back yard. (I may still do that!) Anyway, I so needed to read this today. My mantra has always been, “I am raising Stripling Warriors!” Which means that I have to be tough on them. Teach them right from wrong. Make sure they have manners and that they are polite, and love their GOD and COUNTRY and FAMILY. But here in the trenches, I get very little, if any feedback. Hardly a kiss or hug. Some days it is unbearable for me. Thanks again for helping me to remember what it is I am doing. ANd that someone, THE most IMPORTANT someone, SEES what I am doing, and knows that I am on HIS side and I am doing what HE has asked me to do.

  33. this was a wonderful story and reminder of all the love our mothers have given
    us over the years, and continue to watch over us, with GODS assistance
    I enjoyed giving my boys a loving family, in times of happiness and trials
    I see my rewards in watching them being loving parents, and passing on all
    the lessons taught them, then one realizes they were paying attention, and all
    the love and hard work, did not go unnoticed===========GOD BLESS!

  34. Although I agree with most of this, I just want to express how worried I am at all the mothers who work in “sacrifice” and who give and live FOR their children… I really think that we need to learn (and teach) our limits and respect them. If I were reacting this way when my child did not “notice” I was on the phone, it is obvious to me that there is a certain frustration that a need is not being met, otherwise, it would have been easy for me to say “just one minute I won’t be long” and not take it personally… I think we are taken for granted by society but that is another question. The important thing is balance… not easy, sometimes I need outside help, but it is so important for our children to learn we do exist and have needs too… and I know some might say I’m selfish but the fact is when you are at a point when you just can’t take it anymore and you are exhausted, depressed and nothing goes right, which would you prefer for your child: you mother hospitalized or taking pills to survive psychologically, or, your mother taking a break and saying no sometimes?… I do agree with the text, I just wanted to put this out there because I just don’t understand how people don’t understand a mother needing a break…

  35. While the article is beautifully written and I can understand it bringing tears to eyes, I do not see how taking care of our duties that come with motherhood is that different than anything else we do. Much of the work we do outside of the home is “invisible” also. We are simply expected to do what needs to be done in every situation. Occasionally at work, we might receive a promotion or a bonus or a “way to go” just like occasionally in our duties as a mother, we receive praise and thanks. While the article is written in prose that touches, I believe that if we are mothers who go into motherhood–or any other endeavor–expecting praise and adoration for doing our duties, we will be disappointed. I am a mother of 4, a foster mother of 45+/- and a grandmother/step-grandmother of 19. Anything I do, any act of service or love I give is freely given–without expectations of reward or praise. I do it because that is what I do, that is what makes me who I am and that is what makes me feel good about myself. I do not need others to validate what I am doing. I have been lucky, though. My grown daughters adore me and all four of my grown children are successful, contributing citizens with good marriages and families. And that is good enough for me.

  36. Thank you for posting this!!! I do feel sometimes like the little things I do go unnoticed and that isn’t a great feeling but at the same time, I don’t do what I do for recognition or praise, I do it because I love my family. No thanks is needed (although I do get it) just as long as my kids and husband are happy and safe. I also do a lot at work that no one ever thanks me for but reading this reminded me that God sees what I do and he is one of the few people in my life that matter to me so i’m okay with it. Thanks again for the encouragement!!! Love it!!

  37. This is truly a great reminder that we never see in this life all that we have built in the lives of others, but it does not change the significance of what we do. I had planned on being that little old lady of 90+ surrounded by my children and grandchildren, matriarch of the family still dispensing wisdom, but now I must be content to know that what I have built in the lives of my children, now young adults, they will build into the lives of my grandchildren. I have been blessed to see one grandchild and to see my daughter as a wonderful young mother. I know when my others have children, they will be wonderful parents as well. I hope to see them, but probably won’t. But, all the love and guidance, lullabies and bedtime prayers, tears and kisses, like that little bird carved in the beam is forever there, seen and blessed by God, these are carved into my children’s hearts forever. And I have left a blueprint of faith and love for my children to use as they build the lives of their own children. And in knowing that, I am blessed.

  38. As a grandma of 19 and a mommy of 4, I was immensely touched. We were blessed with the title of mommy. We are to teach our children that when we do an act of service that we do not expect gratitude. We teach our children to have gratitude by example. Jesus served in silence. I have been extremely blessed to have loved and served my children and grandchildren and have been blessed beyond belief by their love and appreciation in return.

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  40. Beautiful message and just what I needed right now. Being a mom is the hardest, most wonderful thing ive ever experienced. I’m blessed in more ways than I can explain, but sometimes it is hard not to earn a bonus, raise, certificate of appreciation, or a plaque with my name on it… Lol but i do it all for the glory of God and for. My daughter.
    Ashley

  41. I understand the intent if the article, but I have three comments for moms who face these issues.
    1. Prepare your turkey and then put it in a brown paper grocery bag, seal with duct tape, and don’t look at it until it has cooked the appropriate amount of time for the weight. You get a perfect moist turkey and have saved 3 hours of basting time. (Family secret, please don’t share.)
    2. For God’s sake (literally), get out of the kitchen and the wash room and spend time with your kids, especially when they’re small. (You can stay in the kitchen if you allow them to be a sous chef as I have. My 11 year old son dices veggies better than I do, and grills a mean steak.) Take them to the movies, the zoo, the arcade, or a farm. Invisible mother is invisible because her kids don’t see her as human. She’s an automaton.
    3. No matter what we do most of us do what we do to serve The Lord. And most of us don’t get recognition or thank you’s for it.

  42. I had seen this a while ago and thought you might like to view the clip and to give credit to the author. It seems ironic to credit this to ‘Anonymous’ considering the message it contains. Nicole Johnson you are amazing! A wonderful mum and a huge blessing to other mums who need encouragement.

  43. Gretchen ~ I KNOW, when God ‘sees you’ as a woman and a great mom, God smiles. I KNOW because your smile reflects God’s. “Well done, faithful servant”.

  44. To those who are saying that being ok with being invisible is tantamount to being taken for granted your whole life, I think that perspective is missing some nuance. I think that, if you’re doing your job right, you’re OKAY with not getting recognition–you don’t require it, or depend upon it, or seek it out as your rightful due. Because you know that the work you are doing is of the greatest importance, whether or not it’s recognized. (And because you know that real appreciation cannot be forced, or harangued/reminded/nagged into existence.) But that doesn’t mean that we need to do without appreciation, or that we don’t deserve it, or that, with such an attitude, we will inevitably give all chance of true appreciation up.

    I think it is a mother’s (and father’s) job to teach appreciation. We do not do it by cataloguing our sacrifices for our children on a regular basis for them to chew over and eventually feel guilty/resentful about. We do it by showing regular and sincere appreciation to our spouses, to our children, to our friends, neighbors, waiters, salespeople, and so on. We do it by appreciating large things and small, ordinary or expected things and special gestures. We do it by slowing down and taking time to appreciate the good things that life brings us as we live it. We especially do it by showing our gratitude to God in our prayers, our commitment to our faith, and also in our conversations with our children. Sometimes, to help our kids develop perspective, we can nudge them into observing/recognizing things we and others do for them, BUT, to be effective, that shouldn’t be done in a spirit of exasperation and entitlement on our parts.

    I firmly believe that appreciation begets appreciation. Resentment begets resentment. Approach your children in a spirit of love and appreciation, without resentment, having made peace with your own choices and, and see what comes back to you.

  45. Pingback: The Invisible Mother | elizabertblog

  46. All I can say is tears immediatly …this is so true .I love my job as a mother and I wouldnt change thing …just when im at my last patience my youngest comes in and hugs me and says “mommy I love you ” so that tells me im doing something right …..I love you Caden &Corbin you brighten my world …you are my Cathedral xxxxoooo

  47. reply ,you have to look at this as a mother& grandmother&greatgrandmother.
    you do a lot of things unseen but it is done with the love from your heart &with the love of GOD WITHIN YOU .HE gives you the strength to do all as an invisible MOTHER with love

  48. I can not even begin to tell you, how much I needed this today. As a homeschool mom, I find myself feeling invisible all the time. I KNOW the right answer, but it is always a blessing to HEAR the right answer. Please say a thank you to your friend, from this tired Momma, who needed to be reminded of His greatness.

  49. That essay is called “The Invisible Woman” and is written by Nicole Johnson. You can check out her website at freshbrewedlife.

  50. Oh… this is one of my all time favorites, and the author is not anonymous at all!!! It was actually written by Nicole Johnson and is entitled “The Invisible Woman” -When Only God Sees. I have “gifted” this beautiful book to all of my closest friends. You would love it in it’s entirety!!! Blessings, Lori McCary http://www.LoriMcCary.com

  51. The message in this is different for everyone because of each parents situation. There is no wrong connotation. If a child sees the correct actions, that child will return to its learning for its own children. No matter how we as parents/grandparents get bored, tired, lonely, feel its purely repetition, every movement is being noted by the child as necessary.
    I have some wonderful children and grandchildren. And even though sometimes the decision s they made aren’t always the decision I would have made, its their decision. And throughout time learning is accomplished. I wish love and happiness to by grandchildren and children. Nothing can replace them and nothing will make me happier.

  52. Beautiful. And a great reminder that what I do as a mother matters! I never understood the sacrafices that my mother made until I had my own children! I hope she knows how much I appreciate everything she did for me!

  53. This is a posting that should be read … but I enjoyed some of the discussions in the replies that follow even more! I agree with Sarah Braudaway-Clark, and I hope that who ever reads this Face Book post will also read her reply and then those who respond to her. Even those of you who read this who are not religious, the message will create much ‘food for thought’.

  54. I enjoyed reading the article, but I enjoyed some of the discussions in the replies that follow even more! I agree with Sarah Braudaway-Clark and I hope that who ever reads this piece will also read her reply and then those who respond to her. Even those of you who read this who are not religious, the message will create much ‘food for thought’.

  55. Perfect timing! I so needed this today! When I start to feel sorry for myself now, I can just say, “I am busy building a cathedral”

  56. I don’t see why God has any place in your experience as a mother. If you’re feeling ignored, you should really say something to your family. Instead it sounds like you’re penning legitimate feelings inside of you and one of these days they’ll get out and turn vicious. But if you communicate, at least you got the feelings out there and it will help your kids realize your human. My mother had the same problem but she started telling us we made her feel invisible and so we began striving to make her feel visible and appreciated. She didn’t turn to God, she fixed it on her own.

  57. Just want to give credit where credit is due…. This has long been one of my favorite books for moms and I have given many away as special gifts. It was written by NICHOLE JOHNSON- “THE INVISIBLE WOMAN” – When Only God Sees

  58. Pingback: Dear Moms, I See You. | Back on Land

  59. I am not a mother to my own flesh and blood – but I can see the beauty of the writing in the article above and the lift that some of you Mothers need out there by reading it.
    Please remember that after having read it – you are also ‘women’ in your own right and as individuals you have more to the purpose of ‘you’ than being mothers, as important and rewarding as that role is.

    Some of you have forgotten that your children will grow up and move on and while it’s noble to be building or to have built them – you have to build yourselves too! and for what? We ALL – men and women alike – try to make sacrifices in life for the sake of others – but motherhood naturally brings that trait out of you because there are naturally so many demands placed upon you out of little people being dependent.

    I like to think of parenting as securing brilliant and loving people into our circle – that add to our joy for eternity – religion aside – I believe our souls are eternal and we will have EVERYTHING we have loved purely return to us – pets as well.

    I really think that we are all searching for happiness – and raising children gives us a glimpse into HOW TO BE happiness – (cheesy, but true!) once they move on – remember that you are still YOU and what you have given them – they have also given you – tears yes – but so much laughter too. More than anything else – they give you a sense of belonging. The truth is – we ALL belong to each other anyway.

    We as ALL humans need 3 things: BEING, BELONGING and DOING.

    Motherhood brings the DOING and the BELONGING – but you need to find yourself again in the idea of just BEING> and most of the time this aspect of you gets lost when focusing on everyone else.
    It’s so sad to watch beautiful women slowly fade into the background because they think that being a ‘good’ Mother means sacrificing every last drop of blood, sweat and tears to make their children happy -
    but the woman that gives, gives, gives just teaches to take, take take.

    It’s also sad to watch women who revolve their life around the children – throwing themselves into everything their child needs, wants and requests – taking them to every event, providing parties and even trading their own age-appropriate peer group in for the children’s friends. Their spouse fades into the background where he starts to say to himself, “I don’t belong with her anymore!” and then the woman gets empty-nest syndrome when the children move out – or worse – the marriage that was seemingly fine to outsiders – now has nothing left to offer. This to me is – ‘Scratch my head’ time.

    Remember – your sole purpose is not to teach them HOW to be happy – because most children already know how to be this – you have to let them be their own natures, teaching them the consequences of life decisions, yes – but also to be a great mother you need to harness their natural temperament and nurture and help them retain their talents and gifts into adulthood. All people are born with a different temperament and yet all babies from the start know how to be happy (even though they cry first).
    It’s when we try to mold them into being like us – that problems arise.
    The trick is learning from ‘them’ – the children.

    Here’s an accolade to all of you out there – mothers or not – who work their butts off and feel invisible – we see the good you do and appreciate it – and if ‘we’ don’t see, it’s probably because that person is a mother out there focusing on her tasks at hand and trying to make her children happy, or we’re just not in the same vicinity as you to witness your works – but usually someone out there does witness the strides you make and does quietly admire you for your efforts and achievements!

    For mothers only – a SHOUT OUT REMINDER – that you are not invisible to those who can see true beauty – we ALL notice the things you do really> your children are an investment – but so are YOU! We want YOU back! You belong to US too!

    P.S. In response to Sarah Braudaway-Clark’s comments (her response to the author’s comment “We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right.”) earlier: and I quote Sarah here: “As a friend of mine put it, I think the author has mistaken motherhood for the “downstairs help.” As I said before, just because what we do is often invisible, it does not mean this is how it must be. end quote.
    I wholeheartedly agree with you Sarah!
    It sounds like Sarah’s opponents on this matter have brought in the new age motto of “Parents should be seen and not heard” and this is scary.

    Although many think that being a mother is a conduit to God’s unconditional love – women are not meant to be doormats to be passed off as ‘righteous’ or a ‘good’ mother.
    There should be balance in a woman’s life – her children will only learn to be selfish if she hides in the kitchen or creeps around the house unnoticed while they have all their whims met or takeover the house having the whole tone of the house be overwhelmed with whatever activity they choose, while the parents needs take a back seat.
    Sarah – I read all of what you wrote and can plainly see you understood the whole article – you actually saw the bigger picture here – well done!

  60. I appreciate the message. You expressed it beautifully, and it brought tears to my eyes. I well remember those days. Now I get to enjoy seeing how God is using two fine young men. What a joy!

  61. This is not an anonymous work. It is paraphrased from a book entitled “The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees” by Nicole Johnson. I love this, and I see it on Facebook all of the time, but it is never credited appropriately, which is an out and out shame.

  62. That’s just how I was feeling but I was working on a building for my lord I still set aside a day and get alone with the lord and he always strengthens me

  63. What cracks me up about this is that any time any of THEM does a job that I usually do, I’m expected to bow down in admiration and thank them profusely. It’s a thankless job, but that’s not why we do it.

  64. Pingback: Building a Cathedral | Which~Craft 2 Create?

  65. My job as a stay at home mom will officially end in 25 days as I take my youngest off to college. It has been an amazing 22 years of work and I don’t, for one minute, regret leaving the work place to stay home with them. There were many times I felt invisible, but I am beginning to see the fruits of my labor in my children. Oh, they still call when they want or need something more than they do just to talk, but I have come to treasure those calls. At least they are calling. Being a mom is the worst-best job a woman can have. But, it is fleeting. Enjoy every minute of it, both the worst and the best minutes.

  66. It is an invisible job because society doesn’t recognize it. My children have grown more and more appreciative as they’ve gotten older, and my teenager is a lot better about not taking me/things for granted than she ever was before. But it’s not like at a paid job where you get recognized by awards, promotions, raises, and the like. You never really get that feeling of competency, like “I’m really good at this. I feel like I know what I’m doing today, and I’m doing it well.” Because there are so many demands and needs, there are a myriad of things that never get recognized, and not just by children, by husbands too! From that perspective, I loved this article.

  67. Beautiful, but… I lost custody of my children 2 years ago in the divorce, and my ex-husband alienates the children from me. I am an invisible mother. Everyday God reminds me that I am still there….in their hearts. I remember when life was like that. How you described the heart ache of going unappreciated and seemingly unnoticed? I was a stay at home mother for 18 years, 15 of them were spent married to the man who would later destroy my life. Trust me, you do go unappreciated or unnoticed. My children and I spend a precious 8 hours a month together now, and they cling to the memories we all had, and that we continue to make… they love you.

  68. Here is my comment. My almost 26 year old sent this to me and she said ‘this reminds me of you mom’ Truly she is one of my cathedrals.

  69. Thank you for a great reminder that everything we do matters if we do it for God’s glory and not our own. It’s so easy to get lost in the mundane, but it’s great to remember that God sees all we do and that’s all that truly matters.

  70. Pingback: Invisible? | Fostering Hope

  71. You know when someone tells you something and it’s just what you needed to hear. I needed this to put me back on track. It was a slap in the face and a gentle, warm hug all in one. Thank you!

  72. No more cathedrals in our lifetime? So the writer of this “book” had never heard of Gaudi, whose cathedral is UNDER CONSTRUCTION RIGHT NOW? Sentimental drivel, and you all fell for it.

  73. I enjoyed the article. It brought tears to my eyes, but Sarah, I whole heartedly agree with you! It’s difficult being a mom in this day and age, especially when so many of us work as well. We should all just do the best we can, and love and support our kids to the fullest. I also believe in teaching your kids to acknowledge and appreciate the hard work of others, including their mothers!

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  75. ‘With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’ beautiful words.

    Lovely piece. Thank you.

  76. It’s sad to think that some people need validation from their children that they are good mothers. Yes, while its nice to be recognized it seems very prideful and a little vain. I would never presume to minimize others feeling or judge how people raise their children but perhaps they should be thankful that they have children that can ask for help or say thank you, etc. What about those mothers out there who have children that do not have the physical or cognitive capabilities to say “I love you” to their mothers let alone a thank you. It doesn’t mean that their children do not know what their mothers do for them each and every minute of the day and the sacrifices they make. We are all not perfect and I am sure that most mothers do the best that they can to raise their children to be the best that they can be. I feel the story simply implies that although we do not always get recognition for what we do we are not alone and that no matter what – He recognizes what we are doing to raise His children. As aren’t we all His children?

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  79. Such inspiration! Thank you for your wonderful words. I remember feeling invisible at times as a young mother and now again at the age of 50 when my kids have lives of their own…but I do agree that God sees us and our work does not go unseen; yet it is important to do and may be seen at some later date. Not every thing we do has to be acknowledged to be important. As long as we know we set a firm foundation for our children the rest will come.

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