Today’s post is from my friend, Connie Neal.  Connie was a speaker at Hearts at Home many years ago.  She recently Facebooked me after attending a conference where she was challenged on her role as a mother.  After our Facebook dialogue, I asked her to write her thoughts as a blog post so I could share them with all of you!

I think this is beautiful…and just perfect for Mother’s Day!

I am at a crossroads, evaluating and redirecting my life now that my kids are grown; deciding where to invest my time and talent for the days to come. While attending a conference on technology and the web I was taken by surprise.

One of the speakers, Scott McClellan, quoted Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary is a consultant and leading voice on using online social media to build your business. The conference speaker recounted how Gary was complaining of business leaders demanding to know the ROI (Return on Investment) of using social media. To which Gary replied –

“What’s the ROI?”

“What’s the ROI?”

“What’s the ROI of your mother? I don’t have data to show you the ROI of Tamara Vaynerchuk. But I can sit firmly here and tell you it’s everything. It’s the whole game, because without the way my mom raised me I’d be a clown.”

Wow! That put my reflections on life – past and future – in a new light. There is strong encouragement for every mother who struggles with daily decisions about where to invest her time, attention, talent, energy, creativity, and love. And what mother doesn’t?

Tremendous social undercurrents continually exert force that would sweep us away from devoting ourselves to raising our children well. It’s like being in the ocean and having to plant your feet firmly in the sand to resist the pull of the undercurrent that has the power to sweep you away.

What’s the ROI of taking our kids to the park, swinging with them on our lap, playing dress-up, having a tea party? What’s the ROI of building a Batmobile for the pre-school parade? Or of not waiting a minute to change a dirty diaper or staying up all night rocking a sick child while softly singing a lullaby no one else will hear? Or of teaching them that God loves them or cooking a meal that is nutritious (but creatively hides vegetables they have yet to learn to enjoy)? Or of setting limits for a resistant teen, or making sure they have clean clothes; or of praying for them or of just being there? And on and on it goes. You can’t figure out the return on investment on any of those things.

In the middle of a rough week, it’s easy to forget that being a good mother is EVERYTHING! Not just to you, not just to God, but to your kids and the world.

Gary Vaynerchuk attributes all he is and all he accomplishes to how his mom raised him. He’s not alone.  Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” He may have been attributing that to his birth mother who died when he was nine or his step-mother who taught him to read, loved and encouraged him. So, whatever role you play as a mother, it’s EVERYTHING even though there is no way to calculate or quantify it.

After the session where I heard the Vaynerchuk quote, I opened my computer. The screensaver said it all. There was a recent photo of our family, with our three adult children center, smiling.

I’ve done many things that can be calculated to find a quantifiable figure of the Return on Investment. But it was those little everyday decisions to resist the undercurrent pulling me away from raising my kids well that gave returns that are incalculable and priceless.

Connie Neal
Mom
BA Communication, Pepperdine University
MS Education: Instructional Design for Online Learning
Author, Speaker, Instructional Designer

To celebrate Mother’s Day, I’m giving away a copy of the Hearts at Home book I’m Glad I’m a Mom today.  This book features 50 different stories from 50 different moms.  These stories showcase the triumphs and trials of everyday moms. Sometimes hysterical and sometimes heartwarming, these personal vignettes connect the hearts of mothers and give them a sense of community with one another.

To enter the random drawing, simply share your thoughts about Connie’s ROI post or share one thing you love about being a mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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