A Mom’s Reaction to the Invasion of Ukraine: When All Seems Lost, Be Kind


The invasion of Ukraine began days ago and it’s impossible for me to sleep. Over and over, my mind drifts to the families there, families who are in danger of their lives. Children who are sleeping in bomb shelters located in subway stations and schools, away from everything they find comforting and safe. Kids who are scared and leaving their country, perhaps without a father or older brother who have been required to stay and fight. All of it breaks my heart.

Any sleep difficulties that I’m currently having are nothing compared to what parents in Ukraine are faced with in this moment. Nothing.

Thinking about what the Ukrainian parents must be feeling and experiencing makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me feel helpless and desperate – desperate to reach out and help the children and families of Ukraine in any way that I can. 

Feeling helpless and beat down by the last few years is not a new feeling. We are living through truly exhausting times. And often, moms carry a lot of that weight. If you’re feeling tired, angry, confused, and heartbroken – I am right there with you. I see you.

Given the current state of the world, I have so many questions. So many questions that I don’t have answers to. Questions like what’s going to happen next? When and how is this going to end? How do we explain all of this to our kids? And the question that keeps playing over and over in my mind – what can I do? Can I even do anything at all?

I have wracked my brain again and again trying to find that answer. The only thing I can come up with feels very small given the world right now. But when I think about the big picture, the answer could end up being everything for our future. 

As parents, the greatest work we can do is with our children. And what I can do right now is teach my kids to be kind. Focus on kindness and instill that incredibly important lesson in hopes that someday our children will make the world better because they’ll know how to look for what’s good. 

Focus on Kindness as Often as Possible

Sure, we’re always trying to teach our kids right from wrong. This is nothing new! But I’m going to actively turn that teaching up a notch and focus on kindness as often as I can. I will  encourage my kids to say positive things – to themselves and others. I’ll share books and stories about heroes who displayed bravery and kindness. I’m going to explain what kindness means and why bullying and cyberbullying is wrong. I’ll help them develop kind habits like sharing, helping, including, comforting, compromising, and listening. 

I will tell my kids that kindness isn’t always easy, but teach them why it’s so important. I’ll remind my kids to be polite and say please, thank you, and you’re welcome. My children will become world citizens and taught that kindness influences other people. I’m going to teach them to give back to those in need and explain why that’s a valuable thing to do. I will be a good role model – with my words and behaviors towards others. 

Our Children have the Power to Change the World

Kindness has a ripple effect. It’s catchy. Imagine a future where the majority of people thought about others first and were truly helpful and caring. Imagine kindness spreading all over the world by one act of goodness after another. Goodness – starting with our kids. 

This is such a lofty goal, I know! Maybe I’m just dreaming. But what if it came true? We are raising the future leaders of our world. The future teachers and doctors and retail workers and bus drivers and entrepreneurs. We are raising the hope for the years ahead of us. Our children have the power to change the world. 

Teaching my kids kindness and spreading goodness is what I can do in this hard moment. And honestly, as important as that is, it STILL doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I know it won’t fix things right away. But then I stop and remind myself that without goodness we are lost. And if our kids practice kindness and pass that on to others, then maybe someday goodness will prevail everywhere. 

Ways to Help the Families of Ukraine

If you are looking for other ways to help the people of Ukraine, check out  Doctors Without Borders, International Committee of the Red Cross, and Voices of Children. All of these incredible organizations help children and families by providing either medical relief, support, or psychological care.

To my fellow moms and dads and caregivers, you are seen and you are not alone. This is hard and we are in this together. We will go through this together.

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I’m a Maine native and after a long stretch of time living in Chicago, I feel lucky to again call the Seacoast my home. I currently live in Kennebunk with my husband, two sons, and a spaniel mix who truly believes he is a furry big brother to our boys. I hold a Master of Education degree from the University of Maine and as a certified English and Special Education teacher, a passion of mine has always been helping students and connecting them to reading and writing. Free time is best spent in the sunshine with family and friends, curled up with a good book, eating my husband’s incredible cooking, or creatively writing for the kids in my life. Being a mom is the most challenging and amazing job I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.