38 Moms On The One Compliment They Need To Hear, And Why

Ad failed to load

Spoiler alert: when I reached out and asked moms about the one compliment they needed to hear and why, I heard a lot of repetition. A lot. It's almost like, even among hundreds of different women from various backgrounds and walks of life, mothers have a lot of the same problems, insecurities, fears, and needs. It's almost like we're in this together, in a lot of ways and more ways than we may even take the time to realize. Go figure.

Now, normally, when I get a lot of repetitive responses to a question I've asked, I usually try to find the one quote that encapsulated the main idea in the clearest, most succinct, poignant way and go with that one, essentially sacrificing the rest. While I was not able to include every answer I received, I kept far more than I normally do, specifically because I felt that the ubiquity of some of theses sentiments, in addition to the specific reasoning behind the answers, was important and just as telling as the answer itself.

So what was the main theme? In a word: validation. Validation of self. Validation of ability. Validation that everything was going to be OK. Personally speaking, I'm a girl who needs frequent and enthusiastic words of affirmation. I used to (OK yes, still) call my mom with proud news and follow up by saying something along the lines of, "Go ahead and validate me, please." Alas, not everyone is as direct in their need for kind words and praise as I am, and their needs can often go unfulfilled. Fortunately, many women were kind enough to open up with me about what they need to hear, so pay attention.

Ad failed to load



"I just want someone to tell me I'm doing a good job, largely because there are so many ways in which the world tells you that you are not enough, that your kid is not enough, that you should be worried about X,Y, Z...'You're doing a good job' is general enough to make me feel appreciated for my authentic choices/authentic self."


"Hands down the best compliment is when someone tells me how friendly, nice, and happy my kids are. I pour everything into them so a compliment like that goes straight to my heart and makes all of the spills, tantrums, and sleepless nights worth it!"


Ad failed to load



"You don't look like you've had (/or are old enough to to have) two kids!"


"Twice this summer I've had completely random strangers on the city bus come up to me at the end of the ride (we got off at the last stop) and say something like, 'You are doing a great job as a mom, stay strong.' They've usually been older grandmother type ladies. Both times I was struggling on the bus with my kids' public behavior. Somehow that kind of compliment always makes me feel really good. Knowing someone has watched me deal with my kids and I haven't exploded at them..."


Ad failed to load



"'You have awesome hair.' I mean, I'm surrounded by my children all day. No one appreciates these things. I am still a person." *hair flip*


"I wouldn't mind hearing an, 'I don't know how you do it' from my husband. I'm pretty happy with the occasional 'You're a great mom!' though, and I loooove hearing 'I love you mommy!' (or frankly, even an enthusiastic 'Hi Mommy!') from my kids."


Ad failed to load



"I was recently told how loving my boys are. That is a value I want to instill in them in a world full of hate so it warmed my heart to know I'm at least doing that right!"


"Not long ago, I told one of [my son's] teachers something. It was so benign and regular, but it did show my reality of having two kids, one with a laundry list of things, and my own full time job. I was just talking to her, and she said, 'You are so amazing. You are such a good mom and you're so nice and your boys are proof of that.' And I felt blindsided by the kindness. That was awesome. And sometimes [my partner] will come out with a compliment about me, but to the kids, like, 'We would be lost without mama, wouldn't we? She knows everything!' That's awesome too. For the first [kind of compliment] it's that my ordinary seemed extraordinary. And I guess it is, but it's nice to hear it. And  [for the second kind of compliment] I love that [my partner] compliments me to the kids. I love the example that sets."


Ad failed to load



"It's interesting as a working mom who is the sole income earner. I don't hear 'good job' for being a good mom and I don't hear 'good job' for supporting the family because it tends to still make people uncomfortable. My husband get's a lot of kudos for being so super hands on and SAH, being a man doing that job seems to amaze people! Anyway, it is pretty annoying at times, it's like I have to hide my contribution in the background. I'd like to hear 'Good job,' too!"


"The most important thing anyone can say about my daughter is that she is kind and patient with her peers, especially kids who might be struggling or need more support. When she graduated from kindergarten her teacher told me that [my daughter] often would tell her to calm down and remember that they need help from her; she said it made her more self-aware."


Ad failed to load



"I would love to have someone compliment me on keeping it all together. 60+ hour work weeks, twice monthly travel, breastfeeding my one year old, keeping my crazy 5-year-old alive, cooking dinner, doing homework, keeping a marriage together, etc. I hit the pillow at night feeling like superwoman, but it would be nice to hear someone say it."


"For me, honestly, the mothering compliments are lovely, they are...but they are not the ones I need to hear. I put so much into mothering the things, I know I am a kick ass mom. As a working mom, I struggle with finding the balance with [my partner] and friends. So hearing a friend talk about how I am a great friend, or my husband telling me I am his best friend, those are the types of compliments I need to hear, as a mother."


Ad failed to load



"I think the best compliment I could hear is you aren't letting anyone down, you are giving everyone your best and you haven't failed. As a working mom I feel like I'm constantly failing somewhere and someone."


I was hiding in Walgreens breastfeeding my son, trying to not get noticed. A woman and her husband walked by and she smiled and said, 'Aww I love to see that! You go mama!' It made my day. I also like hearing I'm doing a good job as a mom or that my struggles are relatable."


Because I'm not a go-with-the-flow type person and I'm not a natural mom, so when I've frantically Googled and researched and my efforts pay off and someone acknowledges it I feel like maybe someone as anxious and unnatural at motherhood can be a good mom, too.

Ad failed to load



"You look really pretty!"


"Sometimes just a smile when my kid is melting down in public makes me feel like they know it's not my fault my kid is acting like an a**hole."


"I was at a restaurant with my two kids who were both being unappreciative jerks at time. That on top of being 19 weeks pregnant I was feeling really overwhelmed. A man (no kids) walked up to me and said..."

Ad failed to load



"'I'm happy you're my mama' because I doubt my qualities a lot."


"I received the best random message once:

Good morning, Miss Brittni! I just wanted to tell you what an awesome young woman you are. I love seeing your posts about your boys and your posts about your weightlifting regimen. I sometimes worry that you are much too hard on yourself, so I just wanted to let you know what the rest of the world sees when they look at you. You are beautiful inside and out. You are thoughtful, kind and caring. You are a great mom, wife, sister, and friend and this shines through every day. I see you lift up others and I am certain you do this far more than I could ever know. Just remember to treat yourself with the same kindness, love and caring you extend to the rest of the world. God made you and you are perfect in His eyes. That makes you perfect to the rest of us, just the way are!

So I would say I need to hear that I am a great mom, wife, and friend and that I'm perfect the way I am, I don't need to be so hard on myself. This message really changed me."


Ad failed to load



"I want to be told that I'm good at what I do. Validation. And some acknowledgment that my stay-at-home job is just as hard as his out-of-the-home job. Maybe that's not a compliment, but it's worth mentioning!"


"A woman high-fived me in the grocery store parking lot while I was nursing and wearing the baby, loading groceries into the car and simultaneously shouting at my 4-year-old who was being particularly a**hole-ish that day. She yelled over her shoulder something like, 'You are crushing this!' I felt like a superhero."


Ad failed to load



"'I always enjoy talking with you.' Because as a stay-at-home parent, I sometimes fear my brain and personality have been destroyed by sleep deprivation and household drudgery. And I feel that when I do get to talk to another adult, I babble like an idiot because it has been so long. I need to know people can still see 'me' in here!"


"I always feel good when I hear from another parent about how much their kid likes [my daughter]."


Ad failed to load



"'You are so beautiful.' Also, 'I really appreciate you.' Often I feel like an under appreciated slob."


"My husband died 7 years ago, and when someone in his family tells me I'm doing a great job raising our kids, it's 100% sincere and acknowledges our loss, so it means everything to me."


I feel so isolated and as though I am the only one trying to make friends. I am starting our fifth year at this school and people seem to have their friend groups and I feel excluded. It's like middle school all over again.

Ad failed to load


"'You are an amazing advocate for your son' ...  I work my ass off at therapy with my son, I spend hours advocating for him, and I wouldn't change a single thing. Some days are so dark with my own issues that these lift me up and keep me going. I feel fortunate to be able to focus on him, and I plan to pay it forward by advocating not just for my son, I want to help other families- spreading free and appropriate public education all over!"



"Thank you. All I want is a goddamned thank you every once and a while."

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

A Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the te…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack