Mothers’ Day, our birthdays and particularly landmark birthdays when speeches are made – these are occasions when mothers usually receive recognition for their effort, their energy sacrifices and their love for their children. The thank you’s may be delivered in pictures from very young children, in writing, poetry or verbalised in a speech.

As precious as these moments are, they are sporadic. If you have brought your children up with an attitude of gratitude, you will be blessed with many moments of appreciation for your help with a project, a delicious meal, a nicely decorated bedroom, a new item of clothing, for watching them play sport or letting them have friends round for a sleepover, to name but a few.

But, no matter how many thank you’s you get, they are never in proportion to what you give out. No-one but another mother can understand that what we put into our homes and families is almost impossible to measure.

The moral of the story is: don’t parent for the thanks, rather parent for the joy.

Joy is that full-hearted feeling you get from time-to-time with each of your children. It’s something so difficult to define or put into words. It could be pride, or love, or thankfulness or………It’s not an adrenalin rush or an emotional high. It’s a feeling you just want to hug to yourself and float in for as long as it lasts because it will surely be replaced by something else in the not too distant future, as not much about motherhood is constant except your love for your child.

Joy is a feeling that feeds your soul and nourishes a mother’s heart. It energises what comes next, keeps you going and provides emotional collateral. It comes from watching your child overcome, grow, achieve, master, discover, mature and evolve – doing this all at their own pace and in their very own way. Joy comes from feeling deeply connected to another human being who is part of the very fabric of who you are – a mother.

There are no ways to be a perfect mother, but there are a million ways to be a great one. Make sure you enjoy the ride and parent for the joy and not the thanks (although I do hope you are shown deep appreciation this Sunday!).

Here’s to all you great mothers out there this Mothers’ Day. I honour and salute you!