Phenomenal Woman, That’s You! (Hey, Moms. You’re Amazing)

Phenomenal Woman, That’s You! (Hey, Moms. You’re Amazing)

Phenomenal: very remarkable; extraordinary (syn: remarkable, unparalleled, astonishing, rare, brilliant)

I’m a high school English teacher. Recently, my students and I read Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” and discussed the qualities we see in others that make those people phenomenal. We focus on the high quality and uniqueness attached to some of the synonyms of phenomenal. Then I challenged my students to create a visual tribute to a phenomenal woman in their lives. Not surprisingly, three-fourths of my students chose their moms. As a mom myself, I’m always so touched to listen to these teenagers share the qualities in their moms that make them stand above all the other women in their lives. As a mom, I’m also aware that I don’t often give myself enough credit for everything that makes a mom phenomenal, and I have a hard time seeing these qualities in myself no matter how easily I point them out in other moms.

If you also feel that way, let these lines from Maya Angelou remind you why you, Mom, are phenomenal:

  1. “It’s in the reach of my arms”– have you ever noticed that no matter how big your kids get, your arms still always seem big enough to fully engulf them in a hug? The reach of a mom’s arms far surpasses what we can imagine. A mom’s hug is able to heal, celebrate, protect, and love all without a single word. A mom-hug is something kids never grow out of, and nothing will ever be as good as a hug from mom.
  2. “And the joy in my feet”– my students say this line reminds them of the way their moms seem to dance around life. When we’re happy, we literally dance around. When I need to get my 2 and 5 year olds to do something when they’re not cooperating, we create a dance for that thing. I cannot tell you how many times we do “the jammie walk” while they get dressed for bed and end the day with giggles instead of exhausted frustration. Each of us has something like this we do with our kids, and we forget how much joy it brings them and the memory they will hold on to.
  3. “The sun of my smile”- a mom’s smile is rare. It shines with love for her kids, with excitement over the magic of holidays, with pride in our kids’ accomplishments, with encouragement to help our kids realize they can do anything. The other day, my 5 year old told me, “When you smile at me, I can’t stop smiling back.” There’s something special about a mother’s smile and the love that shines from it.
  4. “The palm of my hand / the need for my care”– when our kids are sick, they just want mom. Moms get it. Moms instinctively know what their kids need. I still vividly remember two times when I was little that my mom came to pick me up from school before I even called her because she just knew I needed her. That feeling we have for our moms doesn’t go away, even when we’re grown adults. We need to remember that our kids feel that way for us.

In the chaos of raising kids and the business of life, forgetting how phenomenal we are as moms is so easy. We shouldn’t wait until holidays when others celebrate us to celebrate the things about ourselves as moms that make us phenomenal. You are remarkable, unparalleled, rare, brilliant, and phenomenal because you are someone’s mom. Don’t forget to see yourself the way your kids do.

Phenomenal mom, that’s you!

Alison Ruckert
Alison was born and raised in New Orleans. After 7 years in north Louisiana for college and her first years of teaching, she returned home, and now lives in Metairie with her husband, two daughters, and dog. She has spent the past 16 years teaching high school English and Speech. When not at school, she enjoys weekend and summer break days with her family, including her two strong-will, high-spirited daughters who keep life interesting and moving at all times. She cannot survive a day without coffee and will drop everything if you ask her to join you at PJ's or go have chips and salsa. Watching her kids grow up with family and friends close by and in the city she loves so much is the greatest thing she could ask for.


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