dear mom you are stronger than you think

Let me tell it to you again.

You are stronger than you might think.

You. The mom. In the trenches. In the valleys. On the peaks. On the road of normal. In seasons of change.

You are strong.

Don’t listen to the doubts. To the voices telling you that you don’t measure up, that you don’t matter, that nothing will ever change, that what you’re doing day after day after day won’t make a difference. Those aren’t truth statements – they are subtle fallacies that keep you and me stuck and not seeing the amazing tenacity tucked within.

Let me tell you truth.

Pulling up the covers and kissing a little one goodnight after the hardest day of your life matters. Smiling when you have tears in your eyes matters. Pushing the swing in the hot sun when you have a list of things to complete matters. Opening the peanut butter jar that is almost empty and scraping out the last bit of peanut butter and spreading it on the bread and giving it to your three year old matters. Walking out the door and into an office so that you can buy that bread and peanut butter matters. Pumping gas and driving to soccer and cutting orange slices and baking bread and helping with math facts and taking temperatures and changing the laundry load and scrubbing the counters and listening to stories from the day and going to bed exhausted because you gave and gave all matters.

That is strong.


And for so many of you right now you are doing this in a world where life feels overwhelming and impossible. The money is tight. The marriage crumbling. The child is sick. The normal everyday seems to drive you crazy. You work long hours. You can’t find work. You miss work but don’t want to ever talk about that. You can’t seem to ever stay on top of laundry much less the pile of dishes or the mail or just every day life. To you, dear mother, I tell you that you are strong.

And for so many of you right now you are doing this in a world where life feels normal and comfortable and good and yet you wonder if what you are doing every single day is making a difference. You’re wondering about the monotony and the normal and the simplicity. To you, dear mother, I tell you that you are strong.

And for so many of you right now you are doing this in a world where you feel not very strong and you are sitting there wondering how in the world to get through the next five minutes much less the end of the day and the baby is crying or the phone ringing or you are alone and your heart hurts. To you, dear mother, I tell you that you are strong.

Maybe it’s hidden under years of stuff. Maybe it’s this baby bit of strong. But, I tell you, it’s there. It’s there waiting to be found and unearthed and put to work. Mothers are strong.

You are strong.


We could listen to ideas of what makes us strong and amazing and powerful. Ideas and images of perfect lives, bodies, homes, marriages, children, and front porches. That’s not amazing. That’s just stuff. External grades of failing and succeeding that in the trajectory of a life will someday get in the category of things that didn’t really matter. They aren’t the things that people will share about us at the end of our lives and say that we were amazing.

Amazing is in getting up again and again and again and trying.

You are stronger than you think.

So when you stand at the sink with the water tumbling out and the toddler pulling at your leg and the phone ringing and you’re not sure how to get to tomorrow much less today and yet you still get through it all you are, in fact, stronger than you think. When you look at your day and it seems daunting, overwhelming, and impossible, and yet you get up, get your coffee, and fight you are in fact igniting the strength, the raw amazing strength, within you.

Strength isn’t found in perfection.

It is found in the moments, the minutes, the seconds where you give and believe and try and laugh and cry and mother.

It’s found in laughter, tears, sighs, hugs, laments, I love you’s, and dreams shattered in the midst. It’s not in keeping it all together – it’s in being real and admitting that life isn’t perfect but that you aren’t quitting. You are fighting.

Strength is an amazing gift that you have even though sometimes you don’t see it. Or you’ve forgotten it. Or dismissed it. Or don’t remember.

Believe in you.

I do today.

Dear mom, you are strong.

You are so incredibly unbelievably amazingly strong.


My sweet friends – I wrote about strength in my new book, The Brave Art of Motherhood. And in fact, I wrote this post in the early days of my single mom journey. I’d be blessed to have you read it.

Get The Brave Art of Motherhood

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All photographs used by permission and credited to Hannah Nicole.
Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.

55 Responses to “dear mom you are stronger than you think”

  1. September 2, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    thank you!

  2. September 2, 2013

    Maggie Reply

    I subscribed to your posts awhile ago, and I just can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful words. They keep me pushing forward and remembering what matters when things are tough. I’ve always said the greatest and hardest job I’ll ever has is to be a mother. Your words are a blessing; thank you!

  3. September 3, 2013

    Steph at Im Still Learning Reply

    It’s so easy to doubt ourselves a mothers. I think we all need to just give ourselves more credit and, as you say, remember that we are stronger than we think.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  4. September 3, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Why is it so much easier to see this in others than in yourself?
    Our Savior is saying these words. Know that I’m here praying!
    Revelation 21:5-7 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
    My email address

  5. September 3, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    This is a beautifully written, uplifting message. I do jave trouble trudging through this life since the death of one of my children. She was 19 when she passed away from vancer pn Jan 29, 2011 at 4:30 a.m. We fouhht together for 4 1/2 years before she gained her wings.

    • December 30, 2013

      Pam Reply

      This spoke to me tonight also. I’m sorry for your loss and can empathize with trudging through life after the loss of a child. Our child was born still 4 years ago. I’m grateful for our children through adoption, and there are also many challenging days due to trauma in their early years before joining our family. Love this message and we do keep trying.

  6. September 3, 2013

    Rachel Martin Reply

    I am sorry about your daughter’s death. So very very hard. Thank you for your kind words to me regarding my writing and for your perspective. May you be blessed today and in the days to come.


  7. September 4, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers! Adding prayers for the woman who lost her daughter to cancer. Oh how I hate that beast!!!!
    Revelation 7:16-17 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
    My email address

  8. September 5, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Praying in Seattle!
    Psalms 116:1-5 I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
    My email address

  9. September 5, 2013

    Sarah Mancini Reply

    THANK YOU!!! I needed that 🙂

  10. September 6, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    No matter what storms we face in life, we have an Anchor that holds fast! Praying!
    Hebrews 6:17-20a Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus…
    My email address

  11. January 31, 2014

    Karis Reply

    Timely…….always…..thank you…. you are a blessing…

  12. February 6, 2014

    Mallori Reply

    Man, I needed this today. It has not been my day. Thank you for this. Thank you for all of your posts. You are so amazing and I love that when I’m feeling down, I can always come here for some encouragement and uplift!

  13. February 9, 2014

    Lynn Reply

    Can’t believe this was an oldie. My rememberer strikes again! This time it made me think of Thursday when I was changing a 15 month old’s dipes and hear a thud and then crying when a 3 year old fell off the potty. 15 month old was still poopy so had to hurry up and clean him up, throw a dipe on him and put him in the pack-n-play without getting him completely in his sleeper so I could rush in and see how the 3 year old was. He was fine. Come to think of it, there was a lot of poopy training pants and dipes on Thursday1
    There are so many passages that just overwhelm my heart as I read the words. Praying so that they comfort you as well!
    Psalms 73:23-26 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

  14. February 10, 2014

    Tanya Reply

    Thank you! Your site is just what I need in my life right now. Your posts have made me smile laugh and cry all at once. They ring so true, THANK YOU.

  15. February 18, 2014

    Alone time in Anaheim Reply

    […] she ever carried a child. She’s tall and slim and extremely talented. She’s funny and inspirational.  She’s also part of Blogging Concentrated, which I now plan on attending only to get […]

  16. May 3, 2014

    Carrie Potashnick Reply

    As I have read through posts, I laugh and smile, sometimes want to cry, as many bring back memories of my now 5 and 6 year old. Only 15 months apart, we had some trying times at first. I’m not quite sure how I did it, but loving to be their Mom is what brought me through. It is the best thing ever. Being a Mom is the greatest gift ever. When it was tough, I always reminded myself that God would not give me more than I can handle. Sometimes that meant looking for inner strength that I did not know I had.

  17. November 22, 2014

    Karen Reply

    Just what I needed to hear today, as my teenager tells me what a horrible mother I am! Thank you!

  18. November 23, 2014

    Kat Reply

    Oh, it’s so true… Not only for a mother, but for a woman, for a person. I have three kids – they are my proud and joy! There are better days and bad days but all in all, I love being a mother. The only (not only, but the most challenging I guess) downside is the financial side and I’m not even a single mother. Can’t imagine how they do it every day (my respect to all of You who handle it alone). But thre are so much on the plate all the time…

  19. December 20, 2014

    Jenell Reply

    Wow Thank you for writing this. I really needed it.

  20. […] dear mom you are stronger than you think | Finding Joy. […]

  21. December 21, 2014

    thankful Reply

    I didn’t expect to read a post or leave a comment, but I must take the time to show my appreciation.

    Daily im told what i can change about myself- walking too fast in office hallway, I have a string personality, & here’s the best one: “you’re obsessed with you child, whenever asked about him you light up and how many pictures you have is absurd. In the mix of the daily “what we can change about you received from “grown” / “professional” people (30 and up…) i was told I was strong and the statement angered me – it seemed like an empty complement, so I was caught completely off guard when i resonated with this post.

    Despite “not knowing how I would get through a day let alone tomorrow” being a mother is one thing I feel I strive at. But I realized on the weekend when away from the world -just me and my champ- I have to fight the thoughts others. I couldn’t find any Christmas joy, because I couldn’t afford gifts for my love ones let alone my son. I told myself I can only do with what I have and plan better for what will come…next year will be better – he has diapers and food until next paycheck and I paid the house & car anything else will be paid in priority- as I struggled with not having nor desire for a tree it pained me I was going to wrap the toys he already had -the thought of not measuring up intensified. I truly try to remind myself “at least I’m trying, all that I pour into one day will matter, it wasn’t meant to be easy – even if I “see” it easy for others. We’ve had our complications but we’re still pushing through…then I come across a post that down to the detail described my emotional world wind and reminded me I’m not what people tell me. I’ve actually never left a comment before (apologies if it’s abnormally long) I truly wanted to simply say..Thank you for being obedient when you thought to write this post..Thank you for actually writing it and not let being to busy or anything keep this message inside
    thank you.
    Thank you

    • December 22, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thank you for taking time to leave a comment – I’m really thankful. Your words blessed me and I hope for blessings and joy and hope in the midst of Christmas for you.


  22. December 21, 2014

    Pamela Parson Reply

    THIS WAS BEAUTIFUL!!!!! It made me cry lol.. im at work pulling a 12 hour shift, we need the money, however im making myself feel guilty for not being at home.. Thank you for this article!!!!

  23. December 22, 2014

    Kos Reply

    My dad died 4 months ago. I have a three year old and a one year old. Sometimes getting through each hour is just a battle. Your words will inspire me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. X

  24. December 22, 2014

    Elizabeth Cantrell Reply

    Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your beautiful writing. You have no idea how much your words have touched my heart tonight. I swear you were talking to me through your writing. I just got into an argument with my now ex (sons father) my son is sick and I work thirteen hour shifts to provide for us. I was about ready to throw in the towel before I read this. Thank you I know I can get through this. I have to for my son.

  25. December 22, 2014

    Karen Reply

    A beautiful reminder, especially this week.

  26. December 24, 2014

    Daniela Reply

    This post just made me cry and smile all at once. As a young 21 year old wife and mother of an amazing almost one year old boy on the 27th of December, I’ve had all these thoughts of doubt. Am I raising my little man up right? Am I being a good example? A good wife? I work so much so my son can have everything he needs and I try my hardest to be the best mother and wife but sometimes I feel like I’m not enough or getting anywhere.Thank you for this beautiful piece you have written. It made me feel strong and made me believe that I am an amazing mom and wife. Thank you and God bless

  27. December 25, 2014

    Laurie Reply

    Wow.. You had me at the second paragraph and I totally lost it. My daughter gave me this to read and it was because of her that I got teary eyed while reading this. Your Dear Mom was an awesome read, thank you!

  28. December 27, 2014

    Kat Reply

    I began reading this off a posting on a “friends” site…I realize it was probably started as a message to her Mom but just part way through I again realized that she posted something that although we’re all so different & we aren’t all close & even some have hatred for others (reasons unknown) but this is a reminder that we aren’t so different after all.
    Thank you for this. It made me think, it made me cry, it even made me give myself a break sometimes.
    A much needed message. XOXO

  29. December 29, 2014

    Mindy Olson Reply

    Wow. I teared up reading this. It’s really easy as a mom to get wrapped up in the hum drum of life and thinking nothing you do matters. I really appreciate your reminder and it’s just what I needed today. Thanks for your post!!

  30. February 2, 2015

    Rebecca frazier Reply

    I’m holding on by threads. It’s said that when you really need something, you will find it. This is “it” for me.
    Thank you.

  31. February 2, 2015

    Diana Reply

    LOVELY !!!!!! Incredible, realistic, loving article! THANKS

  32. February 2, 2015

    Abbey Reply

    I needed this so much today. My three treasures and I are fighting to survive the days while Dad is away, and my negative voice is loud today. Thank you.

  33. February 2, 2015

    Rhea Reply

    THANK YOU!!! This is beautiful! Your words are refreshing to the soul. God bless you more!

  34. February 12, 2015

    Beverly Kuhn Reply

    The hardest days I ever had were these when I had to keep getting up very day and doing the everyday things with my husband and my kids when my sister had just died. I came through it since I had no choice – and the hugs made it better!


  35. March 8, 2015

    Iliana Rosario Reply

    This is truly life saving for me. These words of encouragement are exactly what I needed. I was desperate looking for reasons of why I am not a terrible mother and I couldn’t find any. This post reminded me of everything I have done for my children and how much they mean to me. Before I typed this I was in tears in my room feeling how terrible of a mother I was because I had just yelled at my three children for the fiftieth time in two hours. I felt extremely overwhelmed and like a terrible person and mother. Thank you so much for the words that reminded me I don’t have to try to be perfect. I love my children more than I can ever describe in words. I know deep down they know how much I love them.

  36. March 15, 2015

    Jo Reply

    Thank you so much. I just wrote a whingy Mother’s Day (Ireland) blog post full of shame and failure and realised I couldn’t post it. Then I turned to facebook and saw this, and I really appreciate it.

  37. May 23, 2015

    Loretta Reply

    On our roughest days remember we are stronger than we give ourselves credit deserved.Remember we would not be the strong women/mom we r 2day if we didn’t have those bad days,to mold us the STRONG person we are.Breath,Take a break,but never give up the amazing mom we have become! 🙂

  38. May 23, 2015

    ANGELA SAL Reply


  39. May 24, 2015

    Emma Crocker Reply

    Thank you. I needed this today.
    Every word is true x

  40. May 24, 2015

    shintia Reply

    thank you for writing this. I really need to read this. i have to put this on the wall so I can look it up every day. thank you for reminding me that I am strong enough. thank you!

  41. May 27, 2015

    mackenzie Reply

    so needed this today 🙂 bookmarking it, saving it, printing it off + posting by my desk. thank you.

  42. May 31, 2015

    Heather Reply

    This came across my newsfeed today and God how I need it right now. Just found out my MIL doesn’t want to talk to me anymore to try to resolve our differences. Feeling so very hurt and rejected and it’s going to take every ounce of inner strength I have to get through tonight, let alone the days to come.

  43. July 15, 2015

    Aeeryka Reply

    Thank you, tonight I need these words, like no other

  44. July 16, 2015

    Coryanne Reply

    is it sad that I nearly cried the entire time i read this?
    thank you. it was a beautiful reminder of a mantra we all need.

  45. October 8, 2015

    Erin barter Reply

    I so needed this…cried my eyes out reading this beautiful beautiful. Beautifully written. Thanks so much. Sharing this because all mothers should read this. Thanks again.

  46. October 9, 2015

    Lynsay Reply

    Aww man thank you so much for this! It’s, forgive my French, Fucking amazing to hear!

  47. October 9, 2015

    Sarah Reply

    Thank you. You have encouraged me so much, and that is exactly what I needed to hear today. God bless you!

  48. November 3, 2015

    Melody Reply

    Today I didn’t feel very strong. Today I felt like giving up. I read your post and cried. I’m alone with my kids…no family or friends to help. When my partner left, he left me with 100% of the responsibility for the kids; financial, emotional, physical….everything. I’m tired, I’m so tired. And I look at my boys and all I see is how I’m failing them. I forget that sometimes just making through the day can be a success. Thank you for reminding me…

  49. March 18, 2016

    Triplet Texas Mom Reply

    Once again I find myself crying like a baby….it’s not easy for this mom…
    I still struggle with the loss of my baby girl Love Faith Ramos I was only allowed to hold her for 4 hours before she was given her wings…..

    I still struggle to maintain composure when my triplets are bad
    It’s hard to do it all on my own….
    And OK whatever you have 3 kids too or 4 or 5 or 6………but mine are the same age…and I have no other older kids to help alleviate the job. Of caring for them 3…the feeding the mess the showers the washing the cleaning the yard work the mopping sweeping sorting the toys the bills the groceries cooking cleaning that as well 3-5 times a day,the this and that and that and that

    I’m exhausted
    Sooooo exhausted
    I feel so alone

    With my patience running thin as the hours go by

    Not even having time to shower days on end…not because I don’t want to..but because I have no time.
    I cannot look away from these three without them getting into something or destroying something…aaalllll the time..clean up time

    I still feel like they laugh at me when I try to discipline them….to top it off..I feel so utterly guilty when I do…..sometimes I feel like giving up…but where would that leave them….

    I am




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