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Tonight after stories and snuggles with my two-year old, during which I almost fell asleep, I gave him a little rock-a-bye and put him in his crib. He struggled up and began to protest, but I didn’t have the energy for more and went to my room. Shortly he became quiet and I heard soft singing as if a Disney princess had come to croon him to sleep. It was my eight-year old who had been reading on the couch nearby. She got up without being asked to comfort her little brother, the tiny prince in our family of five girls. 

The best part of this little scenario for me is that her heart told her what to do. The impulse to comfort and care for another came from within: maternal instinct in my biggest little girl. This makes me happy because despite all my failures, my moments of impatience or frustration, good things are being learned in my home. 

Another instance of this happened last Sunday. My husband and I were tired after a long day out at church and lunch, followed by a huge family walk home in the sun. After dinner we went to rest for a few minutes and through our bedroom walls could hear our oldest daughter rallying the troops. 

“Come on guys, let’s surprise Mummy by cleaning up the living room! Then maybe we can do a movie together!” She got them all motivated and cleaned up the toys. After reporting this and asking about a movie, she listened to my condition of getting ready for bed first, and helped her three little sisters to brush teeth and get their PJ’s on. This is a big deal, which doesn’t happen everyday, and saved us a lot of work. The best part was how cheerfully she did it, making it a fun game to get ready for bed.  

So I want to encourage all moms to renew their confidence in themselves, believing that their love, imperfect as it is, is enough. While your children do see your faults (a good chance to practice saying sorry), they also see your virtues: your kindness and generosity, your tenderness. And they will copy those things, too. So believe in yourselves, and believe in the goodness of your children. There is greatness within. Sometimes we just need to leave the room to see it. 

Anna Eastland blogs at Just East Of Crazy Land | Adventures in Parenting. She is a Barefoot Books Ambassador