As a kid, I always thought Mother’s Day was kind of stupid. I mean sure, I made you a card or craft and said, “Happy Mother’s Day!” but I can tell you right now that, growing up, I would never have written this Mother’s Day letter.  After all, you have a birthday.

Why did we need a special holiday to honor you being our Mom?

Now, my feelings about Mother’s Day are still a bit ambivalent, but it’s mainly because the holiday just seems so trivial stacked up against the legacy of motherhood. It doesn’t feel like enough.

How can I boil down a lifetime of gratitude and love into a Mother’s Day card and some flowers, maybe even a nice brunch?

I can’t, and that’s never been more clear since becoming a mom myself.

Nothing wakes you up to the all-encompassing, overwhelming job of motherhood like having kids of your own.

Mom, you always seemed to know what you were doing. It’s only now that I realize every mom is basically winging it, learning as they go and trying to make the best decisions they can.

You always seemed so confident. It’s only now that I realize every mom is trapped in a constant battle with doubt. Am I doing enough? Is everyone okay now? Will everyone be okay later?

You always seemed to balance it all so well. You juggled work, meals, sports, classes, and activities — not just for us, but for our friends as well. It’s only now that I realize what a feat that is, how shouldering all of that responsibility can some days feel like it might break you.

Now that I’ve embarked on this overwhelming journey for myself, I realize:

The only thing I could ever say on Mother’s Day, or any day, is “Thank You.”

Thank you for always loving me.

Thank you for always supporting me.

Thank you for secretly loathing my enemies but always encouraging me to do the kind thing.

Thank you for encouraging me to do my best, but also giving me a soft place to land when my best wasn’t good enough.

Thank you for doing your best, even when it was hard. Even when it was scary. Even when you didn’t know what to do.

Thank you for mothering me still, as I learn to navigate motherhood for myself, with all its twists and turns, challenges, and uncertainties.

The truth is, a good mom is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.

I see its dividends everywhere. There’s not a moment I’ve lived that hasn’t been covered by God’s grace and steeped in your love.

You’re celebrating another Mother’s Day without your own mom, and I hate that for you.

Still, one thing I’ve learned is that the gift of a good mom never stops giving, even long after your mom is gone.

I see the impact of your great mom in my life the same way my kids are seeing your impact in theirs. It’s a legacy I hope to continue with my own grandchildren.

As a child, I didn’t know everything that you did, and I certainly didn’t always appreciate it, but today, please consider these words my lifetime of “thank you.”

Thank you for everything I never even realized you did.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.


Your Daughter

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I created a condensed, printable version of this Mother’s Day letter (beginning with “Mom, you always seemed to know what you were doing” and without the personalized paragraphs about my grandmother). If you’d like to download a high-resolution copy to thank your mom this Mother’s Day, and a link to the high-resolution file will be emailed to you. A low-resolution version of the letter (for size and website speed) is pictured below.
Mother's Day letter from Daughter Printable smaller file

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

A Funny Mother’s Day Message To My Mom (The funny companion letter to this post)

Hilarious Mother’s Day Memes To Make You Laugh Out Loud

I’m Done Justifying What I Do As A Stay At Home Mom


  1. Such a great, heartfelt letter to your mom! It’s so easy to go through life and not realize all of the selfless things our moms have done for us over the years. Usually it’s not until we become moms ourselves that we have a “great awakening” for all the things our moms did for us. Being a mom is a 24/7, exhausting and rewarding job! Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  2. So much truth packed into this thoughtful letter. I often think about the confidence/winging it paradox in my own journey as a mother. I suppose once our own kids are initiated as parents, they will realize that we do the best we can with the resources available and God’s Grace covers all of our missteps. Thanks for this thoughtful piece.

  3. I never realized how much my mom really did for me until I spent an entire night awake with a sick daughter. That is just what moms do and you don’t know the extent of the love and selflessness until you do it yourself.

  4. Even though I’m not a mother yet myself, my appreciation for my mom continues to grow as I get older. Growing up, I didn’t grasp how hard she worked and sacrificed for me to have the life I do now. As you said, one day of recognition simply isn’t enough!

  5. In the lead-up to Mothers Day this year, you have certainly expressed how special a mother’s love is and put things into perspective. The truth is that there is no amount of gifts that could ever equal what the average mother goes through and does for her children. To express your sincere appreciation and love by communicating in a way you know will mean something to her, will just help make her special day – special. Such a lovely post!

  6. This letter to your mom is beyond sweet! This is exactly what I would love to get for Mother’s Day one day. We really have no idea until we become a mom ourselves. I’m definitely more empathetic and understanding and appreciative of everything my mom does every day for us now that I’m a mom too.

    1. Hi Cendu,

      Thank you so much! Yes, I agree, the best Mother’s Day “gift” we can hope for is that, down the line, we will have done a good job and raised our kids into kind, appreciative adults. It definitely messes with your mind sometimes when the kids are being super obnoxious for whatever reason, to remember that we did the exact same thing to our parents once upon a time.


  7. Yes, to all of these feelings. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I fully appreciated and understood the effort that went into parenting. Thinking back on my childhood experience, I am filled with gratitude for the love I was on the receiving end of. I loved this post!

    1. Hi Sonja,

      Thank you so much! Yes, you said it exactly: it’s definitely one of those “you can’t understand until you’ve been there” situations. I am beyond grateful for the love and care my parents poured into us and I hope that one day, when my kids are grown, they will say the same about me and their dad.


    1. Hi Charlene,

      I’m so glad you could connect with this Mother’s Day letter. I agree, becoming a mother myself has been a complete game-changer. I “knew” how much work motherhood was, but it turns out, I actually knew nothing haha.


  8. I love this so much! And I love that you included a printable. I think every mother would want to hear these sentiments on any day. Funny how our perspective drastically changes when we become mothers ourselves. You captured those feelings beautifully.

    1. Hi Rachael,

      I’m so glad you related to this Mother’s Day letter. I agree — the best Mother’s Day gift (or any day gift) we could ever get is happy, kind, successfully-raised kids. Yes, becoming a mother was DEFINITELY a perspective-change. I was the BEST MOM EVER before I had kids lol.

      Thanks so much for reading!

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