27 Moments That Stop a Mother’s Heart

Elizabeth Thompson

1. That moment when you hear your baby shout their first mighty wail, and somehow you know this voice—it’s the song your heart has been singing your whole life.

2. That moment when you hear your toddler giggling, “Bounce, bounce,” in the other room, and you smile to yourself and think, “How sweet.”

3. That moment, thirty seconds later, when you go to peek in on her and share her laugh, and you find her bouncing on your laptop bag. With your laptop inside it.

4. That moment when your house is quiet for three whole minutes, and you smile and think, “Ah, now that’s more like it.”

5. That moment, thirty seconds later, when you realize, “I have children. My house should never be this quiet.” You go to investigate. Sure enough . . . (Fill in the blank: a couch painted with pudding, the baby in the litter box, the toddler up a tree . . .)

6. That moment when your baby toddles into the room, happily munching on food you didn’t give her, and you go to investigate the source, and realize she stole it from the sibling who has strep throat. OF COURSE SHE DID.

7. That moment when you realize you desperately have to go to the bathroom, and you’ve been holding it for five hours because, just, all of the children.

8. That moment when the baby is finally, finally napping, and you’ve just sat down for the first time in three days. You shut your eyes for two seconds, and then the mailman rings the doorbell because you forgot to put the don’t-ring-the-bell note on the door. The dog erupts in a violent barking frenzy. The baby starts to scream.

9. That moment when you are on time for your child’s preschool Thanksgiving performance, but on time is late, because they started three minutes early, and your child got to lead the procession up onto the stage—her shining moment—and you missed it. And you both sit there and cry through the Thanksgiving feast and you wonder if you’ve already ruined her life and she’s only three.

10. That moment when you get the email from the preschool that says, “This is to notify you that a child in your child’s class has been diagnosed with . . . ” And you pause, steeling yourself before you scroll down to find out which horrible plague you’ve been exposed to this time. Pink Eye? Scabies? Lice?

11. That moment when you realize you’re stuck on a toilet seat with an empty roll of toilet paper, and the only one around to help is a two-year-old.

12. That moment when you hear your kid crying, and you can tell they’re actually hurt for real this time, but you’re in the shower and your hair is all sudsy with shampoo.

13. That moment when a well-meaning friend comes over, bearing gifts for the children: stuffed bunnies, each a different color. And you know what’s about to happen, and sure enough, “I want the pink bunny!” “No I want the pink bunny!” “No I saw the pink bunny first!” And there goes your morning, and all you can think is, WHY CAN’T THE BUNNIES ALL BE THE SAME COLOR?! And why do I have to have such generous friends?!

14. That moment when your child learns how to tie their shoes, and they’re so excited they untie and re-tie their shoes 18,000 times in that first hour, and every time they twinkle up at you, glowing with pride, you wonder why you feel like crying.

15. That moment when your eyes fly open at 6:00 am because HOLY COW YOU FORGOT TO BE THE TOOTH FAIRY! And you leap out of bed and dash for your wallet, but it’s too late. The toothless child is already awake, tears streaming, heart broken, faith fading. And off you sprint to Pinterest, seeking ideas for how to fix a Tooth Fairy Blooper, and you pray, pray, pray that you haven’t accidentally killed Santa, too.

16. That moment when your child wails, “My head itches,” and you immediately begin to bargain with God: “Please, God, not lice. If you make this not be lice, I promise to love you and serve you forever, and give all I possess to the poor, and donate a kidney to a person in need, and . . .”

17. That moment when your last baby potty trains, and right in the middle of your I-Never-Have-to-Change-a-Diaper-Again-What-Will-I-Do-with-All-the-Spare-Cash party, you burst into tears.

18. That moment when you’re walking through the mall next to your eight-year-old son, and quick as a hummingbird, he grabs your elbow, pulls your face down next to his and whispers, “I have a crush on a girl.” He darts away, leaving you standing there, wondering how to pick the pieces of your heart up off the floor.

19. That moment when the phone rings, and a little boy voice on the line says, “Hi, can I speak to your daughter?” And you hem and haw, not sure if you should give her the phone or not, because you’re so. Not ready. For this.

20. That moment when your preteen comes home crying, and you ask what’s wrong, and she shakes her head and shuts you out.

21. That moment when your child hands you one of those sealed, top-secret notes from the school administration, and your stomach does cartwheels, because your first thought is, This is it. The note declaring my child a gifted genius. And your second thought is, This is it. The note declaring my child a derelict and me an incompetent parent. And really, knowing yourself and knowing your child, it could go either way. You rip open the note to learn their fate.

22. That moment when you let your teenage son leave the house to drive somewhere alone in a car for the first time. He sprints out the door grinning and war-whooping, and all you can do is fall to your knees and pray.

23. That moment when your son gets clobbered by another player in a game. He goes down, the coaches swarm around him, and you’re desperate to sprint out onto the field, but you don’t because even if he was dead he would kill you. So you stand there in the freezing stands and wrestle down your maternal instincts and pray to God and hold your breath until your son sits up.

24. That moment when your daughter comes squealing through the door, waving an acceptance letter, and you’re not sure if your heart is bursting with pride, or the knowledge that she’s really leaving.

25. That moment when your daughter comes home from college, and you know she’s dating the wrong boy.

26. That moment when your daughter comes home from college, and you know she’s dating the right boy

27. That moment when your grown-up baby walks down the aisle and makes a vow. From the seat beside you, your husband squeezes your hand, and you know what he means: It’s just us now. It’s been a good ride . . . and it’s not over yet.

Head to the Family Room


27 moments that stop a mother's heart

 This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Elizabeth Laing Thompson writes novels for teens and books for women about living life and building family God's way. She blogs about the perils and joys of laundry slaying, tantrum taming, and giggle collecting on her author site. A mother of four, she is always tired, but it’s mostly the good kind.