‘My girls and I were headed in. This young man jogged up behind us. ‘After you,’ he says, a big smile on his face. ‘Thank you,’ I respond, surprised, ushering my kids through the door.’

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“Some days it’s hard – really hard – to be the mom of young kids. You’re up before the sun rises attending to the needs of these little people who seem to have boundless energy, while you, on the other hand, do not. Most days you’re dragging yourself around the house surviving on a steady stream of coffee. You can’t remember the last time you washed your hair, but the random pieces of dried grass falling out of it suggests it’s been at least a few days. And, seriously, when’s the last time you weren’t begging your kids to stop fighting?

But this is motherhood, and this is what you signed up for. You tell yourself it will get easier as they get older and the physical demands of raising kids become less and less, but then one day you’re hanging out with your girlfriends who have older kids and they laugh at you and say, ‘You think this is hard? Just wait until you have teenagers!’ (Thanks, guys, that’s super helpful and not at all terrifying!)

And then, you experience something like I did a few mornings ago, and you stop and think to yourself. Maybe, just maybe, they’re wrong. Maybe easier days are ahead.

Courtesy of Lauren Lodder

Earlier this week, my girls and I were headed into Starbucks when this young man, probably around 10 or 11, jogged up behind us and grabbed the door from me.

‘After you,’ he says, a big smile on his face. ‘Thank you,’ I respond, pleasantly surprised, ushering my kids through the door.

His mom follows him in a few minutes later and they stand in line, smiling and chitchatting. Genuinely seeming to enjoy each other’s company. At one point, she lovingly brushed his bangs away from his forehead, and he let out a dramatic ‘Mom!’ and they both laughed.

As someone who is knee-deep in the difficult trenches of motherhood, this exchange was honestly touching. From where I was standing, their relationship appeared so easy, so relaxed. Basically, the exact opposite of what I was currently going through as my girls were literally merry-go-rounding my shirt and fighting over the last pink cake-pop.

I look back at this kid and his mom, and I’m just overcome with an urge to compliment HER.

Because she is obviously doing something very, very right.

This young man saw I needed an extra hand and made a point of rushing over to help me. It was a simple, considerate gesture.

And, let’s be honest, nothing gives a mom more joy than hearing that her kids are making awesome, kind, helpful choices when she is not around.

NOTHING.

And how often do you think people pat this mom on the back and say, ‘Well done on raising a good kid?’

I’m guessing a big NEVER.

Because we withhold compliments when we should be giving them freely. We think, ‘that woman is killing it as a mom,’ but we don’t say it. We don’t share it. We waste the opportunity to make someone feel better about themselves.

We need to stop doing that. If we have something nice to say, we need to say it loud and clear!

So I did.

I walked over to this woman and her son, tapped her on the shoulder, and said, ‘Hi, I’m sorry to interrupt. I just have to tell you what your son did and how much I appreciated his help.’

I complimented her on raising such a polite kid. I said, ‘I hope to one day have the relationship with my daughters that you have with your teenage son.’

Then I looked deep in her eyes and said, ‘You’re doing a great job, mom!’

And then coolest thing happened.

She smiled one of those whole-face smiles, hugged her son and called herself a lucky mom.

‘Thank you so much! What an incredible thing to say,’ she said. ‘It means so much to hear that because I question my mothering daily.’

And then she hugged me, and it felt amazing.

I walked away feeling that I genuinely added a little brightness to her day – just as she and her son added a little brightness to mine. And really, what’s better than that?

We need to spend more time complimenting each other. We need to spend more time pointing out the good in each other and less time pointing out the bad. We need to raise our kids by leading through example and showing them THIS is how you treat other people. I’m so grateful I met this woman and her lovely son because they showed me that maybe, just maybe, easier days are ahead.

Someday I will be able to walk into Starbucks with my teenage girls, and they will stand next to me and not fight over that one remaining pink cake-pop.”

Courtesy of Lauren Lodder

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lauren Lodder of Houston, Texas. You can follow her journey on Instagram and FacebookDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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