The Power of Affirmation: How Three Words From Another Mom Changed Everything

“A Notebook with Affirmation Words” by Tara Winstead from Pexels. Canva, 3/8/24.

“You’re doing great.”

To put it mildly (very, very mildly), I have been going through a tough season. As someone who struggles with severe anxiety, it can be extremely hard to get through even the “good” days sometimes (my fellow anxiety sufferers know what I mean). Sometimes, being a mom makes it that much harder on so many levels. The last couple of months have been nothing short of hard, mentally and emotionally, and I’ve rarely felt like I’ve been my best self in any capacity over the past few weeks. Last night, however, I was unexpectedly encouraged.

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I found myself coaching my six-year-old daughter through a tearful reaction to one of her triggers (which, ironically, is the same as mine: certain repetitive noises) after her ballet class. We hugged, we snacked, we chatted about ways to cope and try to adjust, and then we got ready to go to the car. As we prepared to leave, I looked up with exhaustion and locked eyes with a mom I’d never met before, who, without missing a beat, looked straight at me and said, “You’re doing great.”

You’re doing great.

To paraphrase one Chandler Bing… could there be a more comforting phrase? Let me tell you something — I haven’t felt like I’ve been “doing great,” not at all. I certainly haven’t felt like I’ve been “doing great” as a mom. But here’s the funny thing: those kind words, that affirmation, from a stranger who was clearly a fellow mom in the trenches, changed the trajectory of my entire evening. I felt like I’d been thrown a life raft in the oft-choppy waters of momming during a hard season. I’m not ashamed to admit I tearfully thanked this woman, and we embraced on the sidewalk in front of our daughters, who might have just seen a glimpse of something beautiful — that it is OK to admit you are not always OK; that it is OK to lean on others for help during tough times.

That’s the funny thing about God: when you least expect it and most need it, sometimes he sends a stranger to tell you the very thing you needed to hear to keep on going; to keep on breathing through the darkest times.

So my challenge to you and to myself is this — look for opportunities to share unexpected words of affirmation this week (or, if you observe, this Lenten season). Tell the frazzled-looking mom at the grocery store with a crying baby that she’s an amazing mom. Compliment the sleep-deprived mom on her outfit and tell her how pretty she looks. Tell the mom chasing yelling kids around the park that she is absolutely crushing it, and her kids are going to remember all the fun times they had with her. Look for ways to tell moms — and, really, anyone you meet — that they are doing great. And, while you are at it… don’t forget to tell that to that gorgeous woman locking eyes with you in the mirror.

With love,


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