Dear moms: Pat yourselves on the back!

Moms, the next time you feel unappreciated, unattractive and nearly undone, remember these 10 reasons why you — yes, you — are fabulous.

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  • Motherhood is a hard gig. You don't get a salary, there are no promotions, no award ceremonies and no year-end bonuses. While it's true that kids love their mommies, children are notoriously bad at expressing gratitude. All the while, mainstream media belittles mothers' work, leaving even the best moms wondering if they really matter.

  • Moms, the work we do is the most important work in the world. The next time you doubt your worth, ask yourself these 10 questions. Then, prepare to give yourself a hearty pat on the back.

  • Do you work to meet the needs of your children?

  • Each family needs different things. Some mothers need to work outside the home to meet the needs of their families. Other families need a mom in the home full time. If either applies to you, then you deserve praise.

  • Do you feed, clothe and bathe your children?

  • Everyone has an opinion on the proper care and feeding of children. Before you get too caught up in which way is right or wrong, ask yourself if your kids are well fed, adequately clothed and relatively clean. If the answer is yes, then you're doing a great job.

  • Do you spend time with your kids?

  • Our lives get incredibly busy, and that can leave moms feeling torn in too many directions. Taking just a few minutes each day to spend time with your children means that you are doing a great job. Even when you don't have a lot to give, giving of yourself still matters.

  • Do you care about your kids' futures?

  • Soccer, baseball, violin, speech and debate, French lessons ... The list of good activities goes on and on. Smart parents pick the best things for their children, taking care not to overwhelm their kids with too much. If you care about your kids' futures enough to set limits and boundaries with good things, you're doing it right.

  • Do you worry about making the right decisions?

  • Ever laid awake at night worrying about your children? Being responsible for another person's life is a huge undertaking. Worrying means that you are probably on the right path, even if it doesn't always feel like it.

  • Do you find ways to parent better?

  • The fact that you are reading an article on parenting says a lot about your personality. The best moms know that there is always more to learn, and seeking out advice isn't a sign of weakness — it's a sign of love.

  • Do you let things slide sometimes?

  • Raising great kids has very little to do with how clean your home is or how many courses you serve at dinner. When you put your kids first, some other things may have to slide for a time. Never judge a mother by her messy kitchen or unfolded laundry. Some days there is more important work to do.

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  • Do you have fun?

  • Are you joyful? Can your kids see that you are happy being a mom? If you try to find fun each day, you deserve some serious credit. Raising kids is no laughing matter sometimes, so digging deep to maintain a sense of humor is wonderful.

  • Do you say you're sorry?

  • We all make mistakes. We lose our cool and shout, say harsh things or dole out unfair punishments. It happens. What matters, however, is how we handle things afterward. If you apologize to your kids and sincerely ask for forgiveness, your kids are lucky to have you.

  • Do you try? Really, really try?

  • No matter how much we feel like we don't matter, as long as we're trying, we're changing the world. Because, at the core, that's what moms do — change the world. We are raising the next generation of movers, shakers, healers, teachers, leaders and even parents. Our work matters, and we deserve raises, promotions, award ceremonies and bonuses. We won't get those things from the world, so let's do something unheard of — praise ourselves. Today, give yourself a pat on the back.

  • Good job, mom.

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Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan and mom to three crazy boys.

Website: http://moderatelycrunchy.blogspot.com

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