Mom Lessons from Katy No-Pocket

Mom Life Lessons
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Every parent has probably had a similar experience.  I picked up an old picture-book favorite that I hadn’t read in a while.  I snuggled the toddler on my lap and began to read.

Within seconds, my lap was a bit of a war zone.  Without regard for how easily I bruise, I soon had 3 children’s worth of elbows and knees and chins dug into every inch of my tender frame.

Katy No-Pocket, by Emmy Payne, is just that good.

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Maybe it’s the illustrations by H. A. Rey (of Curious George fame).  Maybe it’s the heartwarming tale of a mother’s love for her son. I don’t know.  But I do know that I’ve loved this book since I was a child.

Somehow, though, on this most recent occasion of reading, and re-reading, and re-re-reading (because we all know how picture book read-alouds go with young children), I began to notice some profound Mom-Life-Lessons from this tale.

(Side note: my kids will tell you that I can wax philosophically anywhere, especially with a good book.  Also, the point of a good book is to just be a good book, not to be a moral.  But that doesn’t mean that sometimes Mom life lessons don’t strike us over the head with a 2×4.)

Stick with me.

I give you:

Mom Life Lessons
from Katy No-Pocket

Mom Life Lessons

  1. Moms are created differently, but we judge ourselves based on other moms’ gifts

In case you have never read this classic (in which case, I grieve for you, and urge you to head to the library immediately), Katy is a Kangaroo with a problem: she has no pocket for her son, Freddy.

This makes her cry. (Another side life lesson: all moms cry.  It’s ok.  Sometimes I cry over a manipulatively moving coffee commercial, let alone a child who still thinks “ck” says “shhhhh.”)

She quickly thinks of a solution: she’ll go to the other animals and find out how they carry their children!

This doesn’t work out so well.  Poor Katy.  It doesn’t seem like she can be a good “kangaroo-mom,” but trying to imitate the crocodile and the monkey next door doesn’t work out so well either.  And she is just not willing to throw Freddy off a branch like the Mama Birds.

Do you see yourself in Katy like I do?  So often I am filled with guilt because I’m not like those awesomely-cool “gameschooling” moms.  Wow, they are so amazing.  But most of the time, I don’t really like games.  Actually, to tell you a secret, it’s super hard for me not to want to WIN all the time, even if I’m playing with a 3 year old.  It’s really bad.  You should judge me.

And what about the moms doing amazing art projects?  Or elaborate nature journals?  I look at our 1-ish “art” project a year (that I don’t even save for posterity) and can feel like a failure.

Why?  Because I’m comparing the person God created me to be with the other beautiful creations around me.  And every time I try to incorporate all the uniqueness of someone else instead of reveling in the uniqueness of the life God has given me (hey, I work Simon and Garfunkel into science lessons), it leads to discouragement.

Or maybe you’re the mom who “has it all together,” and you look at Katy with No Pocket and think she’s just not as good a mom as you are.  We’ve all been the Pharisee thanking God we aren’t the tax collector, to our shame.  Isn’t it silly that we’d boast in our gifts, as if we somehow created ourselves?  Isn’t it sad that we would judge another mom for not being “like us,” as if WE were somehow the standard, not the perfect righteousness of Jesus? (Because, sister, that’s the comparison that will drive you to humility and thankfulness!)

  1. Moms will find wise counselors and go to scary places for the sake of their children

Katy cries, but she doesn’t stop at the place of discouragement and failure.  She has a child to protect and equip!  So she heads to the wisest person she knows for advice.

If you’ve ever read any anthropomorphic literature ever, you know that the wisest animal is the Owl.

Now, this Owl is a little grumpy, and he doesn’t have a quick fix.  But he does a bit of stating the obvious (“get a pocket”) and gives a bit of semi-helpful advice (to go buy one in the city).

I find this rather funny.  Have you ever google searched, sure that if you just search or ask long enough, you’ll find the magic answer to all your parenting problems?  Yeah.  Most of those answers feel a lot like this: you need a pocket, so go find one.  Thanks?

But Katy is our heroine, and she is willing to brave the scary wilds of the city for her son!  She heads to the city, and what does she find?

EVERYONE has pockets!  But most importantly, she finds a man who is “ALL pockets”!  Katy bravely asks this man where she can find pockets like his, and (spoiler alert) he kindly decides to just give her his apron of pockets.

(Side life lesson: by the grace of God, you will find generous helpers when you least expect them.)

So Katy now has not just one pocket, but an entire apron of pockets!  And thus the story ends, happily ever after!  But, not actually, because…

  1. Moms use the gifts they have been given to serve other moms

Katy heads back to her home and uses her new-found apron-of-awesomeness to not only hold Freddy, but Leonard Lion, Thomas Tortoise, a baby bird, a monkey, a skunk, a rabbit, a raccoon, a lizard, a … well, you get the picture.

It was BECAUSE of Katy’s limitations that she suffered so much, but it is also BECAUSE of her limitations that she was enabled to discover an unusual and personal way to overcome her challenge.

And through the process of her perseverance and, dare I say, even primarily through some unmerited grace, she is enabled to use her own unique gifts as a blessing for her community.

Our challenges are hard, and they are real.  We are just not equipped for this hard job.  But we persevere through faith.  We don’t compare ourselves to those around us.  We look to Jesus.  And He will teach us to humble ourselves and receive a gift that we may not have expected, and certainly don’t deserve.

And then we can take our new beautiful, amazing apron-full-of-pockets and share this love and blessings with our world.

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6 thoughts on “Mom Lessons from Katy No-Pocket”

  1. I still have my childhood copy of Katy No-Pocket and I loved it every time I read it to our kids as well. I love that you pointed out the lessons to be learned in there. Now I’ll need to go home and read it again…. ❤📚

  2. I love your article, it made me appreciate the book on a deeper level. Thanks to Before Five in Row, I discovered this book.

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