Excerpt: 'Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom'

Embarking on motherhood is the ultimate "on the job training," learning by trial and error, and that of course creates stress and frustration. The pressure is really on mothers to make it all work -- the house, the meals, the kids. And for many women, they must do that in addition to holding down a job outside the home. That has left many women worn out, stressed out and unhappy. We all know that when Mom is happy, everyone else is happy. Studies now show us that happy moms mean happy kids. So it's important for moms to recognize how much they bring to the table, having learned from their own moms. It's important for moms to have support and help from their partners. It's important for moms to find ways to get breaks, and to ask for help. If we never talk to our husbands when we are overwhelmed, and we never ask for some equal distribution of duties in the household, then we will remain resentful and tired, and our families will just think we are crabby. It's important for moms to know that their children and husbands are grateful!

That is one of the reasons I am so excited about this terrific Chicken Soup for the Soul book for moms of all ages. I've always loved the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and this book speaks to me in particular, as I am passionate about this subject -- moms need to know they are appreciated, that they do make a difference, that their children really are listening and learning important life skills and attitudes from them. When you read these 101 stories, you will share in the personal stories from all types of children of all ages, expressing their love and admiration for their mothers.

These children recognize how hard their mothers work and they value their mothers as role models, as leaders, and as the primary influences on their lives. And most importantly… these children, whether sixteen or sixty, love and respect their moms despite the fact that some of them can't clean, some of them can't cook, some of them weren't always there… yes, these moms are not "perfect," but they are perfect for their children!

It's OK to not be everything and be everywhere; you don't need to be "the perfect mom." If you can't be in the car pool line because you are at work, don't worry. My daughters may not remember seeing me every day in the car pool line, but they do remember me at every horse show, every recital, every teacher conference, everything that was important. And if you're the stay-at-home mom who rolls up her sleeves, while your daughter's friend has that "cool" mom who does something, anything, that you don't do, don't worry about that either. Your daughter really prefers you.

I think we all question whether we are good moms. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or have a job outside the home, you always question if you've spent enough "quality time" with your children, read to them enough or taught them the right life lessons. No matter how organized you are, there are those days when you feel like you can't possibly cook another dinner or wash enough clothes for everyone to have a matching outfit. Motherhood is hard. I know at my house, with two sets of twins, it is loud, messy, and crazy hectic. Kim and Jack are five, and Max and Kate are six. And I still spend a lot of time and mental energy on my three grown daughters, Jamie, Lindsay, and Sarah, who are all in their twenties. After all these years and seven kids, every day I wonder if I'm doing it right.

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