Listen to My Mom, and Help Save a Life

April 25, 2013 | By | Comments (14)

Kristin van Ogtrop and her Mother

I can’t tell you how many times during my childhood, when I was in the middle of a late-day meltdown, or identity crisis, or dramatic, my-heart-is-breaking crying jag, my mother would say to me, “Everything will be better in the morning.” And you know what?  She was right.

As the mother of three strong daughters, my mother consistently broadcast the message that my sisters and I were the equals of any boys, could chart our own paths, could overcome all limitations. Any smart mother of three girls was saying all those things during the Feminine Mystique years. Despite all of those important, affirming messages, though, it turns out that “Everything will be better in the morning” is the best advice she ever gave me.

We are morning people in my family and, even on my worst days, the period between 6 and 11 a.m. is usually the best part. (Sometimes things rapidly go downhill from there, which is a story for another time.) But my mother was talking about more than energy level and circadian rhythm. “Everything will be better in the morning” is also an expression of the unshakable belief that the future will be an improvement upon the past.  It is about faith and determination and progress.

I now have three children of my own, all boys. They are 17, 14 and 6. I have said “everything will be better in the morning” more times than I can count. Including, for example, when one of my boys would get a routine childhood vaccination (or, I should say, a childhood vaccination that is routine in our corner of the world) and develop a low-grade fever later in the day. I would give the newly-vaccinated boy some acetaminophen and we’d lie together on the sofa and watch Finding Nemo for the 80th time. And the next morning, of course, everything would be better. The fever would be gone, and so would the risk that my son might contract a particular illness that could kill him.

Everything will be better in the morning: I want each child on this planet to have that same chance. I want each child on the planet to have to suffer a low-grade, non-life-threatening fever as a consequence of receiving a life-saving vaccination.

Real Simple is proud and honored to be the media partner of Shot@Life. As a mother, and as my mother’s daughter, I know this is a campaign that combines faith and determination to make real progress. For countless families across the world, vaccinations will indeed guarantee a dramatic improvement upon the past. Can it really be that easy? Yes—as easy as bidding goodbye to one day, and starting a better one the next morning.

The photo above is of my mother and me—I’m in her wedding dress; she’s in her going-away outfit—the summer before I got married. We’re standing at the front door of the Delaware house where I grew up.

Every time you share a relay post on Facebook, Twitter, or email or donate $5 or more as part of the relay, a $5 donation (up to $62,500 per week or $125,000 every two weeks) will be donated by Johnson & Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information, visit The United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter, The Huffington Post, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created the Global Mom Relay, a first-of-its-kind virtual relay with a goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe. 


  1. Sandra Hersey

    Reblogged this on The Adored Home and commented:
    Today when I woke up I came across this awesome post on making a difference. I was first drawn in because of the photo of a bride and her mother {I know wedding on the brain again!} I quickly realized I could help make a difference to keep a child healthy by a few clicks of a mouse and I know you would want to do it as well! Let’s make a difference together….

    April 25, 2013 at 8:02 am
  2. Sandra Hersey

    what an awesome way to help keep a child healthy. I am sharing, and reblogging to get the word out!

    April 25, 2013 at 8:03 am
  3. Dawn Bell

    I love this story. And I must know, is that a real mink hat with your mom. If so, what a priceless treasure to have lived in such a wonderful time with such classy attire.

    April 25, 2013 at 9:47 am
  4. lifecoachpaigePaige

    Great story. I love the idea that “it will be better in the morning.” When I have a bad day I am going to remind myself this. Thanks!

    April 25, 2013 at 11:45 am
  5. homeplaceblogger

    Moms are the best, always full of wise words to chase away the bad days, even it is just “do you want to have a cookie. it will make you feel better”

    I miss mine more and more every day, every year since she’s been gone.
    Thanks for a nice walk down memory lane, and a wonderful memory.

    April 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm
  6. Jillee

    My Mom said that to me all the time and I’ve probably said it to my 4 kids at least a million times. :-) Thanks for the memory.

    April 27, 2013 at 11:24 pm
  7. Jen

    When my whole family (my husband, two young boys and I) all succumed to a stomach virus last Thanksgiving, my 3-year-old was the first to get it. When he was better, he went around to the rest of us repeated what I had said to him when he was sick: “You will feel better in da morning.” Words to live by. Love this blog and the magazine.

    May 8, 2013 at 8:55 am
  8. libby deely

    any chance you can share who makes your leopard runner from your editor and chief picture?? love it

    May 8, 2013 at 10:04 pm
  9. libby deely

    btw i have 4 boys so i know exactly where your coming from–never a dull moment!

    May 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm
  10. Tracy

    Love her hat!! And, I love the advice. I need to remember to say that to my little boys more often… Thanks!

    June 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm
  11. Amy

    Just classic and beautiful. Everything IS better with a little sleep to provide better perspective.

    June 17, 2013 at 11:15 pm
  12. Melissa

    I just found your blog and this post is great. I need to tell my 2 daughters this and also remind myself. We have been having a hard time but I am just going to start taking day by day and remind us that it will be better in the morning. I am also going to share the relay on my facebook page:

    July 30, 2013 at 8:34 am
  13. Bridget Traviolia Hagspihl

    Missing some new stuff from you, Kristin! :)

    August 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm
  14. sharon gilbert

    My mom died a year ago. Everyday I still think of things to say to her or see things she would like… Her widsom was( is) priceless. I only hope I did 1/2 the job of raising my beautiful daughter that my mom di.

    November 3, 2013 at 8:40 am

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