The Amazing Invisible Mom

By Diane Stark

The Amazing Invisible Mom

“I could hardly believe it when that lady nearly backed into us in the grocery store parking lot,” I griped to my children. “I have a million things to do today, and I did not have time for a car wreck.”

The kids nodded, but I could tell they weren’t really listening. They were sitting around the kitchen table, munching on the snacks we’d just purchased at the store. I’d taken special care to buy each child’s favorite treat, but the kids still seemed out of sorts.

“So what’s wrong with you guys?” I asked. “You’re moping around like something’s wrong.”

My younger daughter, Julia, shrugged. “We were planning to build an obstacle course outside, but it’s raining.”

I nodded. The downpour had started as soon as I brought the last bag of groceries in from the car. It was good timing for me, but the thunderstorm had ruined the kids’ plans.

“So what would you like to do instead?” I asked.

The kids shrugged half-heartedly. “Nothing else would be as fun as the obstacle course,” one of them said.

I thought of the story I needed to write and decided that it could wait until tomorrow. Today, my creativity would be spent in a completely different way. “What if we build it inside?” I asked.

The kids literally happy danced.

We went down to the basement and began work on the obstacle course. The kids got creative, stealing a few ideas from the TV game show “Minute to Win It.” Two hours later, the course was done and ready for a trial run.

I held the stop watch while the kids took turns running and jumping rope, stacking crazy things, and popping balloons with their rear ends. When they got hot, I ran upstairs for lemonade. When they got hungry, I sliced apples and made sandwiches.

It was a lot of work, and not at all how I’d planned to spend my afternoon, but the kids were having a great time so it was worth it. That’s why I was crushed when I overheard one of them say, “This was OK, but it would have been way more fun to do outside.”

I pretended not to hear their comments, but inside, I felt as deflated as the balloons they’d had to sit on in the obstacle course.

When they were done playing, I helped the kids clean up the basement and went upstairs to make dinner. I’d spent my whole day doing things for my children, but no one had even noticed my efforts.

At bedtime, four-year-old Nathan said, “Mommy, will you color with me in my coloring book?” I sighed and nodded, even though I longed to read the novel on my night stand.

Nathan handed me a white crayon and told me to color the clouds in the picture. He grabbed a red crayon and started coloring the race car. “But the paper is white,” I said. “You won’t be able to see if I’ve colored it or not.”

Nathan shrugged. “That’s OK, Mommy.”

“But shouldn’t I color the clouds a different color? So you’ll be able to see it?”

“No, it’s not going to rain in my picture like it did today,” he said. “So the clouds need to be white.”

I sighed and began to rub the white crayon across the white paper. Not that it made any difference.

As I colored those clouds, I realized that my whole day had been just like my coloring. I’d set aside my own plans and done all kinds of things for the kids, but no one had even noticed. I’d bought everyone’s favorite treats at the store, built an obstacle course for the kids and even made a special dinner. But no one said thank you. I felt invisible, just like my coloring.

These feelings of being unappreciated were all-too-common at my house, and I think most moms feel this way at least once in a while. To make light of the situation, I imagine myself with an alter ego.

The Amazing Invisible Mom.

She’s amazing. And invisible. She was created with the sole purpose of meeting my family’s needs without any thanks whatsoever. She just does her thing, and no one even sees her.

It was meant to be funny, but the truth was, being invisible was no fun at all.

My pity party was just getting started when Nathan finished coloring his race car and turned to the next page, which had a rainbow on it. Nathan gave me his red crayon and asked me to start coloring the rainbow. I smiled, thinking at least my efforts would be visible this time.

As I colored that rainbow, I thought about the Biblical meaning behind them. God sends rainbows to remind us that He will never destroy the earth with a flood again. To me, rainbows mean hope. That if today brought storms and gray skies, tomorrow will be a brand new day, full of promise for better things.

I sighed and hoped tomorrow would be a better day. One where I was more than just the Amazing Invisible Mom.

“Mommy, did you have a good day?” Nathan interrupted my thoughts.

I smiled and nodded. “Yes, I did.”

“Me too,” he said. “And the best part is right now. I like when you spend time with just me.”

I hugged him and said, “I like that too, Buddy.” I smiled to myself. It seemed my new day had come a few hours early.

Moments later, my older children came in to kiss me good night. “Thanks for a great day, Mom,” one child said. “We appreciate everything you did for us,” said another.

And little Julia said, “It was really fun Mommy, and it made me feel loved.”

I felt tears spring into my eyes as I hugged each of them goodnight.

As it turned out, I wasn’t invisible after all.

Because when my kids look at me, they see love.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

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