There have been moments in motherhood where I watch another mom and think, “What is she doing that I’m clearly not?”

It usually happens when my kids are offering up some blatant contrast to the good behavior of that other mom’s kids. Maybe her kids are waiting in line beside her patiently, and mine are screeching and wiping their boogers on each other. Or her child is getting a big pat on the back from the coach, and mine is causing the coach to throw his clipboard down and punch the air.

In general, I think that comparison brings about more harm than good, but I do think there’s value in noticing ways that certain moms are exceptional, and learning from them. Now, most often the mom who thinks she has some exceptional wisdom to share is not the kind that I enjoy listening to. I prefer hearing from the mom who has to have her arm twisted a bit before she’ll admit any expertise.

So, I suggest we do a little arm twisting, shall we? I’d like to invite you to nominate another mom who is exceptional in some way. Maybe you’ve noticed that her kids are kind. Or they’re responsible. Or polite. Or they know the books of the Bible and the 10 commandments before turning 2.

Or maybe you’ve noticed that while other kids have some magnetic attraction to the TV or iPad, this mom’s kids would rather be exploring outside. Or perhaps she never has to repeat herself or raise her voice. Or her 10-month-old already comes when he’s called–even after he’s fixated on sticking his drooling finger into an electrical outlet. Wouldn’t you like to hear her strategy?

I’d like to find out what these exceptional moms do ‘behind the scenes’ at home with their kids. I’d like to nose around in their private world and hear about what’s important to them; and then hopefully transfer some of their mothering expertise to… say…, the mom of the booger wiping screechers.

Now, here’s what I don’t want to hear about: the mom who has a perfect organizational system for sippy cup lids or who possesses the amazing ability to fit into her size 0 jeans a week after giving birth. We have Pinterest and Spark People to help us be jealous of learn from those people.

What I’m talking about is exceptional mothering. I want to get input from moms of all ages and stages, who are exceptional in the way they relate to, lead, or nurture their kids. As you try to choose someone to nominate, don’t think of it as putting one mom above the others. That’s not the goal! Try to think of a way another mom is exceptional.

Have you thought of something? Good. Now, here is what you must do. Send this mom’s contact information (email and/or phone number) to me at or on facebook (Shannon Popkin). Tell me what this mom does exceptionally well. And wallah. I’ll do the rest! (I promise that I’m a very gentle arm-twister!)

I obviously can’t promise that your nominated mom will be featured (What if she won’t talk to me?), but I can promise that if you do your part, I’ll do mine!

And even though nobody has twisted my arm or nominated me, I’d like to share an ingredient that I think leads to exceptional mothering: Noticing and learning from other exceptional moms! So, if you’d like to do just that, Watch for Exceptional Mom Mondays, coming (when you nominate someone) SOON! 

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