my own personal cheerleader

When she was my age, my mom was done having kids.

Her oldest was was in third grade.

Her middle child was in kindergarten.

Her youngest was a year old.

When she was my age, my mom was about to lose the only job she ever knew…at a small corner grocery store.

She would be forced to learn a new skill.

I wouldn’t know how she felt about doing new things…finding something else…finding a fit.

I was eight.

My world was myself.

In a couple short years my mom would take a huge leap of faith.  With a child in middle school, one in elementary school, and one still at home, she would enter college.

I hardly remember it.  It was a blip on my radar.

My mom sat at the kitchen table every single night pouring over her studies after her day of working and mothering.  After making dinner, clearing the table, and doing the dishes.  After carting us here and there.  After 101 errands.

Every night.

In my mind that was our normal then.

But I am sure she felt anything but normal.  She was a thirty-something sitting in freshman classes with 18 and 19 year olds.   She was stomping across campus instead of sitting behind a desk in an office.

For now.

She still had time to quiz us on vocabulary words or help us with math or watch us create a class project.

She still made our lunches and our beds.

She still brought home more than part-time work from her job.

She still made snacks for our class parties and got groceries every week and made a full dinner every night by 5:00pm

Dishes didn’t stack up.

Dusting didn’t get ignored.

Vacuuming didn’t get skipped.

And my mom?  Earned a 3.98 GPA when she finally graduated at 43 with her accounting degree.

I could blame her for my idea of what motherhood is, but I don’t.

I thank her for it.

Because even though I can’t possibly live up to that ideal that I have in my head?  She has taught me so many things.

Every single time I’ve felt like quitting?

I didn’t.

Every time I thought a class or a task or a new adventure or motherhood was too hard?

I studied/pushed/tried/loved harder.

Every time I thought I couldn’t possibly do it all?

I did.

And my mom still cheers me on the entire way…usually with homemade cookies.

yes, I had blond hair. and yes, my mom is still this pretty.


About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. What a great post. your mother sounds like an amazing woman!

  2. I love stories like this. It reminds me that there are always second and third chances at life. And that the most amazing things can be done, one diligent day at a time.

    What a role model.

  3. What a great post! Your mom sounds amazing and how awesome to have that kind of support in your corner. Stopping by from MamaKat’s. Gonna poke around your site some more 🙂

    Have a great day!

  4. So sweet, such a great mom you have!

  5. Wow, you guys are so cute! But blonde Katie is hard for me to wrap my head around!!

    Your mom set an amazing example, and you’ve truly honored her here today. What a great story.

  6. Beautifully said. My mom is/was so incredibly generous to my sister and I. I don’t think I will ever be able to live up to it but at least I have a good example to work from.

  7. What an awesome post about your mom. It made me a little teary-eyed.

    Stopped over from Mama Kat’s.

  8. It’s so awesome to have your mom there to support you and push you to keep on going. You two are so lucky to have each other! 🙂

  9. HonestConvoGal says

    Amen Katie. My mom was 32 when I was born. She was 34 when she started on her masters. And yes that informs my life as a lawyer mom who had her last kid at 35. I knew I could do it because my mom did.

  10. a beautiful tribute to your mom! sweet words!

  11. What a great post! What an amazing mom! So brave to go back to school. Even if that’s become a more trendy thing, it is still so commendable. Some of us have no idea how to just balance mom stuff… What a rockastar she is!

  12. Love this post!!! What gifts of strength, focus, and love that your mom has!

  13. You have an awesome mom – how inspirational!

  14. yay for mom’s! you and your mom are both gorgeous!!

  15. minus that apostrophe

  16. You’re so lucky to have a great mom. She sounds like a go getter and an awesome person!

  17. What an incredible mother! This post made me smile.

  18. Your mom sounds incredible.

  19. Wow! You know, my mom got her master’s degree when I was a kid. She had to go to Detroit twice a week (about an hour and a half away) to attend classes. She worked full time and had two kids. I remember when she graduated, my Dad made us go to the graduation ceremony. My brother and I were so bored. We never thought to congratulate her. Such an accomplishment and all we wanted was to know if we could go home.

  20. Look at you and your mom! Amazing, amazing women.

  21. No wonder you’re so fabulous? Look at who helped to shape and love and support and teach you. She’s a wonderful woman.