The Mother’s Promise

I will strive to create days that are filled with laughter, bonding, play, new experiences, learning, nutritious meals and snacks and on-schedule rest for all.

I will make play-dates with other mamas and babes, for they keep us all sane.

Yet if there be a day filled with crying, sibling rivalry, boredom, junk food and failed naps, I will accept this, and work for a better tomorrow.

I will not consume an entire bag of M&Ms/chips/gummy bears to erase my pain, as that will merely expand my ass.

I will rely via text on the comfort of my friends, and get the kids out of doors immediately.

And if there be rain and we cannot go outside, I will not feel persecuted by the universe. I will devise another plan, even if that plan consists only of a visit to Target.

I will endeavor to be frugal, in the hallowed halls of Target as well as in other stores. I will not be led into temptation by an $8 box of organic cookies at Whole Paycheck.

I will employ the aid of the Internet, magazines and word-of-mouth for free or low cost things to do. I will actively enlist the word of Groupon on my quest to never pay full price for any activity.

I will avoid the Land of No, turning instead to the land of positive requests. I will demonstrate the wisdom to empathize, not chastise, to tell, not yell, to supervise, not patronize and to breathe, not seethe. Thank you, Jesse Jackson.

I will schedule myself time to exercise so as to avoid bitchiness and the four month pregnant looking belly that necessitates a new wardrobe.

I will have the sense to schedule personal time for myself at regular intervals. And if this personal time come not soon enough, and I feel desperation creeping in, I will make a plan, enlist childcare, don exercise wear or cocktail wear and leave my residence.

In case of meltdowns, I will remain calm and firm. I will not get sucked into the tornado into which my child has morphed. I will give him/her time alone or hold him/her as the situation merits. I will keep him/her from breaking bones by stealthily placing a blanket or towel nearby as he thrashes like a junkie with the DTs.

I will, come Sunday, organize a list of dinners for the upcoming week so that I am not a stressed out mess every day at 5:00 p.m.

I will get as much sleep as possible. If I plan to rest, I will take this rest, AS SOON AS THE CHILDREN GO DOWN FOR THEIR NAP. I will not clean, write, make phone calls, answer e-mails, search the Web, or go astray on the pages of Facebook, only to find that my unpredictable napper has awoken earlier than estimated and stolen my sleep. I will set an alarm if need be, so that I can putter about or prep dinner(!) after some power zzz’s.

I will realize that potty training is a process and that, long though it may take, my children will not cast their first presidential election ballot in diapers.

I will enlist the power of the elephant-in-the-armoire, the TV, in moderation. And I will not be afraid to do so, for PBS is good.

I will endeavor to devote some energy to my relationship with my husband so that we might enjoy our co-existence as husband and wife, and not only mother and father.

I will remain educated and up to date on the latest scholarship and ideas in parenting. I will strive to be more June Cleaver than Roseanne. I will refuse to, however, beat myself up for the forgot to do’s, could not do’s under the circumstances and cannot do’s.

I will remember that though I may fail, though I may yell, though my kids might watch over an hour of Caillou daily, I am a good mother, dammit.

And they are as lucky to have me, as I am them.

About the writer

Before her two children re-choreographed her life, Keesha was a professional dancer who performed in the U.S. and in Europe. Today she teaches modern and jazz dance in the Chicago area. She is also the human cyclone behind the blog Mom’s New Stage. Keesha is one of the select contributing authors to "You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth. " She has also been published in the New York Times bestselling anthology "I Just Want to Pee Alone," and in "I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone." Her writing has been featured online at Mamapedia, Bonbon Break, The Huffington Post, and What the Flicka. She was recently awarded a Voice of the Year Award for her Bonbon Break original piece, Dear White Mom.


Megan Martinez 5 months ago

Hear! Hear! I commend thee for thine fine commandments set forth herein! :)

Ninja Mom 3 years ago

Great list. Really fabulous writing. Would love to have it on a hand-lettered sign in my kitchen . . . So I could read it and calm the hell down while the kids are watching Martha Speaks.

    Keesha 3 years ago

    Thanks Ninja Mom! Perhaps a tattoo on your hands while your face is buried in them?

HouseTalkN 3 years ago

As the cold days continue, this is a great list to keep in mind!

    Keesha 3 years ago

    Thanks, HouseTalkN! I need to revisit it often myself instead of finding my answers in the bottom of a box of Cheddar Bunnies.

Scarlet 3 years ago

When my son was a baby, I was AWFUL about napping. When he was asleep I’d do all my cleaning, organizing, etc., even though he was perfectly content to hang out in his pack ‘n’ play or bouncy saucer and I could do it while he was awake. Oh boy did I get paid back when my daughter was born! Even as a newborn she rarely napped, was an exceptionally light sleeper when she did nap, and so hated the pack ‘n’ play and bouncy saucer that we got rid of them as soon as we found out our neighbor was pregnant. I did learn to excel at napping 24 minutes at a time while my son watched Disney and my daughter nursed.

    Keesha 3 years ago

    24 minutes at a time! Wow! See, only a mother could school herself to do that kind of power napping! We are a breed apart.

      Scarlet 3 years ago

      I got so used to the Disney formula that if I woke up early I could tell exactly how much time I had left to nap.

Kathy at kissing the frog 3 years ago

They are lucky to have you – wonderful list!! I need to print this out and keep it on my fridge to look at during those hard days.

    Keesha 3 years ago

    Thanks, so much Kathy! I need it in subliminal messaging form – maybe a white noise machine?

Courtney 3 years ago

Gosh, we need this chant daily! Love it! Oh yes, Target is my favorite and most dangerous plan b

    Keesha 3 years ago

    Can we get Target to do an indoor playspace like IKEA?

Meredith 3 years ago

I loved this, Keesha. Especially the part about not beating yourself up. Excellent promise that we all need to make!

    Keesha 3 years ago

    Not beating oneself up is hard. I need a stun gun for the parts of my brain that criticize round the clock. Do you think Target sells those?

hilljean 3 years ago

The winter months here always bring about multiple trips to Target. And I try so very hard to not spend all our money there. Sigh.

    Keesha 3 years ago

    If you find out how not to spend all your money at Target, do let me know. That place is impossible. Impossibly fabulous!!!

Michelle 3 years ago

Thank You!

Julia 3 years ago

I just love this!

    Keesha 3 years ago

    Thank you for commenting, Julia!

Amanda R 3 years ago

Well said!!

    Keesha 3 years ago

    Thanks, and thank you for commenting!

Amanda 3 years ago

I will remember toddler’s learn through repetition and will keep my patience while repeating the household rules and countless explainations 5000 times a day.

    Keesha 3 years ago

    5000 times a day. Yes. It’s enough to break a saint.

Stacy B. 3 years ago

Amen Sister!!

Rebeccah 3 years ago

I really enjoyed this post. It was smart, funny and honest. Great work!

    Keesha 3 years ago

    Thanks, so much Rebeccah! Glad to have scored a triple for you!

Kristin 3 years ago

Thanks for the reminders. It’s so hard to keep everything in check and not feel bad when you inevitably slip.

    Keesha 3 years ago

    I agree, Kristin. We are our toughest critics, motherhood not excepted. But that’s why our kids are lucky to have us, right?

Jeni Kramer 3 years ago

When all else fails, head for Target!

    Keesha 3 years ago

    Head for Target with a chaperone so you spend no more than $20. Is that even possible?

fayerie 3 years ago

This is so ME!
Also made this promises but broken lot of times!
But I know I am a good mother!

    Keesha 3 years ago

    I am a good mother, dammit. It’s a movement.

Denise 3 years ago

Good advice…I really should set up a menu too. But PBS? Ewwwww. I hate educational cartoons, they’re so preachy.

    Scarlet 3 years ago

    I didn’t mind some of them, but Caillou? Oh, hell no! I’d watch Barney over that.

      Keesha 3 years ago

      For many it’s Caillou – I have a friend who has banned him from the house, but for me it’s Barney who makes me want to pull my eyes out and shove hot pokers in my ears…

    Keesha 3 years ago

    They can be, but I’d rather preachy than worrying about bad previews and commercials so in our house PBS it is…

Karen 3 years ago

“I will devise another plan, even if that plan consists only of a visit to Target.”

I am at Target daily!

    Keesha 3 years ago

    The $100 dollar store is dangerous though!

Alice 3 years ago

So well said. Loved this.

    Keesha 3 years ago

    Thanks, Alice! I should read this at least once a week!

Kim 3 years ago


    Keesha 3 years ago

    Glad you liked. It comes in pill form too.


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