The Invisible Mother ~ A Must Read for Every Mom

A friend sent me this story the other day and I have to say that I've found a lot of truth in it. Sometimes I do feel very invisible when it comes to my kids. I can’t tell you how many times I have said to Grace and Michael that “I am NOT the maid around here!” and feeling as if it was just falling on deaf ears. They’ll toss a dish in the sink and leave it for me to rinse and put in the dishwasher. Or they will disrobe and leave their clothes where ever they are standing because mom will pick it up. “What’s for dinner?” will be asked and after my reply I may get a “No thank you.” It was only 10 short years ago that I was in college studying for my nursing degree and working full time in a job that not only made me feel useful but I collected a paycheck at the end of each week. Now at times I have felt very invisible with regards to my children, like I'm simply a service of which can be continually called upon 24/7 with not even so much as a “thank you” being said.

But after reading this story I looked at things with much different eyes. So thank you to my friend for sharing this with me…your timing was simply perfect!!

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.

From one mommy to another...

The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.
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  1. I was so relieved that your story had a happy ending. I was concerned it was going to be about someone who's child had died. What a relief!! Great points on the importance of child-rearing, and encouragement to hang in there even if you don't see any results, yet. I see glimpses here and there with my sixteen year old. I'm a new linky follower and GFC follower.

  2. Hello my friend!
    We Mom's must stick together, to support and encourage each other, even if we are invisible to our kids, we aren't to each other! You are building a legacy in the form of beautiful children!
    Love the story!
    You go girl, I see!
    Dee Dee

  3. That was great! It is tough and we often find ourselves feeling it's useless. I went through these same feelings when my kids were younger. They do come home someday and you do hear the words "my mom is the best...." and then you feel the gratitude! Hang in there is all works itself out! Mine at 25 and 28 now and what I do know is the good efforts you make now pay off later (they really are listening!)

  4. Beautiful story. I've thought of this analogy too. I'm not a mother, but have worked with young children for more than 30 years. Your two children are beautiful! ~ Sarah

  5. Wonderful message! And so true. Thank you so much for sharing. I love uplifting thoughts like this...to make me appreciate my 4 amazing cathedrals.

  6. Love this story...have heard it before and it never gets old...I needed this reminder tonight. Thank you.

  7. Thanks for sharing that lovely story! It made me cry (though, that could also be blamed on menopause)... but such a wonderful perspective on motherhood!


  8. Oh I SOOOO needed to read that tonight! I've read it before but as I am in the thick of mothering young children I could read it every day and have it hit home. :-) Thank you so much for sharing this truth-filled reminder with us at Inspiration Friday this week!

  9. It's a very thought provoking letter, Barbara. We all feel invisible and need to be reminded the importance of Mothering a child.
    Thank you for sharing at Potpourri Friday!

  10. There are so many days where I feel invisible! Great story! Thanks for sharing!


  11. Even when your children are grown and you have grandchildren, you can still feel invisible. I had not read this before and it meant a great deal to me. I know I am the first one they turn to in sickness or trouble and that tells me they knew what I did, and will do, all along. Thanks. ~ Maureen

  12. I love this story ~ praying I have the strength to teach my children well.

    Thanx for sharing! Following through the link up party at 1929 Charmer:)

  13. This is such a beautiful and encouraging reminder. Thank you!

  14. Thanks for sharing this wonderful message at WIW. We all need to learn to just hang in there and have faith.
    Big hugs,

  15. Great story as I am a mother of 2 young ones. I just want to thank you for your last statement about The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you. I've just been diagnosed w/ breast cancer. Your last statement was just what I needed this evening. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that reminder.

  16. Totally AWESOME!!! Thanks so much for sharing! Thanks for sharing at Overflowing with Creativity! I can't wait to see what you link up at my party tomorrow! I LOVE following you...you're so inspiring! Just a little reminder, my giveaway for 1000 free FULL color business cards ends at midnight!! Stop by and enter to wiN!

    XO, Aimee

  17. I have read this before and enjoy it more each time. Thanks for the sweet reminder of how beautiful it is to be a Mom.


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