If You’re A Needy Mom

In high school, I remember coming home to exactly what I didn’t want to be.

“Guess what I did today?” mom would say, which was my cue to follow her to whatever housekeeping feat she had conquered while I was away.

Depending on the day, the downstairs windows had been washed, or curtains ironed. Laundry for all athletes might have been bleached, socks all sorted. Floors likely had been mopped. And dinner was always bubbling in the oven, made from groceries purchased well before dawn. I was seeing the result of someone not sitting down for even two minutes all day.

Do you want to know my response at seventeen?

Suffice it to say that there was plenty of internal eye-rolling, non-stop fidgeting, and some fake appreciation while I casually checked my phone. Just kidding, I didn’t have a phone in 1986, but if I had, that’s when I would have totally checked it.

I remember wanting her to hurry up, to wrap it up already. Here was my idiot thinking: “This is what moms do! Sheesh – why the big production? Are we almost done? Can I please go now?”

She seemed so needy of praise, and I was so reluctant to give it.

Why? Why? Why?

I thought about that today as I scrubbed my self-cleaning oven. Apparently, the maximum amount of times a self-cleaning oven will clean itself is two. After that, it becomes annoyed that you expect it to do all the work.

I love to cook, and fill every casserole dish, cookie sheet, and chili pot to the absolute brim. So, you can only imagine my oven after the self-cleaning feature crossed her arms and called it quits several years ago.


I asked my son to take a photo when I was elbow deep in crusty, black grease. I wanted to text it to David (who was surely sitting at his orderly desk, most certainly looking crisp and handsome, in his stunning charcoal suit and mint-green tie…) “Look at me! I’m cleaning our oven! It’s only taken me four hours and I’ve ruined my favorite yoga pants for love of this family!”


And now I get it.

I’m sorry, mom.

I love you, mom.

I wish I had carefully inspected every square inch of every windowsill you carefully dusted in the lonesome corners. I wish I had smelled the clean towels with huge, deep, appreciative, monster sniffs. I wish I would have burst into the kitchen saying: “Chicken and rice casserole again! My favorite! What can I do to help?”

Of course I wish now that I had offered to help you more: growing up five children is no small feat. But even more, I wish I had better seen the ways you lovingly touched every square inch of our lives and our home.

Little did I know then how needy I would also become. Mothers are a needy bunch, y’all! Our needs can make us desperate, irrational, and shake our confidence. But, do not fear.

Like new copper left to nature’s elements, every mother’s life will also be exposed to weather that will leave her looking nothing like how she began. The many seasons of life will create the most beautiful patina on every woman who throws open the windows of her heart to those she loves.


My mom’s patina is without comparison, a work of divine art. Take heart, yours will be too.

Press on in faith, love, and (even) oven cleaning,


13 responses to If You’re A Needy Mom

  1. Mary sullivan says:

    Love it. Could not agree with you any more than I do and I love the image of your husband that you wrote. My husband would be the same way.

  2. Karin says:

    What a sweet post! Thank you for sharing your thoughtful oven-cleaning journey. 🙂

  3. Suzanne Thomas says:

    Amen!! (and thanks for reminding me that my oven is overdue for cleaning!)

  4. Gigi says:

    A beautiful post! Appreciation for our moms is endless now that we are trying to act the part!

  5. writingjen says:

    I’m not a mom myself but I can related to this post. At 17, I too would have rolled my eyes while my mom gave me a summary of her day. Now, when my mom, at 79, tells me the thngs she accomplished that day, I stop and tell her what a good job she did. I make sure to praise her. Event toda, which is her birthday and she turned 79 today, I praised her and told her Happy Birthday. Cherish your moms while you have them. They are truly a gift. XO Jen

  6. Amy says:

    I love your mom, and I just know I would love you too 🙂

  7. Cynthia O says:

    Thank you, Kim! I love that you finally understand how your mom wanted to share with you!

  8. Brent Ricks says:

    Love this! And the last little bit is a beautiful new quote, “The many seasons of life will create the most beautiful patina on every woman who throws open the windows of her heart to those she loves.” Thanks Kim!

  9. realifemom says:

    Love it! So many things about my mom that I finally ‘get’ here in my mid-40s. Well written!

  10. I love this post…I’m going to forward it on to my mother. Well done. That picture of you on top of your stove-top popped into my head the other day when I was scrubbing my mango wood floor with a coconut brush and beeswax…I love every word you wrote.

  11. Becky says:

    My daughter directed me to read this. I’m sure it was a reminder to her how often I show-cased the home when she returned from school, like your mother. However, part of our drama was to train our daughter’s by showing them how we spent our day … knowing they could never observe us in action doing these tasks, while away in school. It worked! Both of our daughter’s have become beautiful mothers and committed wives. How blessed we are!

  12. emily says:

    beautiful post and wonderfully written – funny picture too 😉
    You captured the 17 year old well….

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