“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.
She never existed before.
The woman existed, but the mother, never.
A mother is something absolutely new.”
I remember that moment when the first cries were heard and the rush of tasks began to care for a newly born baby. The room seemed to spin around the delivery table where I was still lying. Life would never be the same.
The part one might not know about “giving birth” more than once is that the experience is never like that of the other. I went in feeling as if I had never done it before with each of my children. It’s the strangest and most wonderful thing.
We then take the baby home and do the best we can with what we have to 1. Keep them alive 2. Shower more than once a week and 3. Resemble some semblance of sanity.
As they begin to grow we encourage them to start talking by sounding out words and making ridiculous faces. We motivate them to walk by dangling things just beyond their reach. We urge them to hold a spoon in their chubby little hand and feed themselves, all the while entertained by the fact that more of it is on their face and the surrounding area than in their mouth.
And then the day comes, I can’t tell you exactly when, we start shhh-ing them and telling them to “be still.” We scold them for smacking, avoiding their napkin and dropping food on the floor while not “leaning over their plate.” Weird, right?
Maybe not? If you think about it, it’s just how life evolves. In recovery we compare many of our milestones to that of a child. And we celebrate when we reach them as if celebrating a child’s firsts. It’s crucial for our continued momentum.
Today, Andy Stanley is wrapping up a series called Future Family. I have to be honest, I’m rather sad about it. Each week I have walked away with something applicable that I could start doing. Each week at the close of his message I have desired to be a better wife and mother. Each week I have gained knowledge that I will pass on to my children and hopefully their children. Do you know how huge that is?!
For this girl, who was a mother before I had even figured out how to solely take care of myself and who has made more mistakes than I care to mention, to have someone come alongside me and “teach” instead of condemning me is HUGE.
I’m the girl who learns by trial and error so to find something that works without making a lot of messes beforehand is invaluable to me.
Being a mother is hard. It’s wonderful too, but let’s be honest, that perspective usually comes (especially in the early years) when our little one is sleeping. I depend far too heavily on caffeine most days. Not a day goes by that I don’t have to ask one or more of my children to “please forgive me.” I raise my voice too much, I loathe dusting, I don’t “play” enough, at times I feed my children cereal for dinner, I am completely unorganized and I am incredibly selfish. BUT, if you ask my children if I love them, they would say “Yes.” If you ask them if they know who God is, they would say “Yes.” If you ask them if their mommy and daddy love each other, they would say “Yes.” Those three truths are of the utmost importance to me.
So when I have a conversation with my 14-year-old about some really hard “stuff” that I, personally do not think she should have to worry about yet and I hang up the phone feeling like I know nothing at all. I can ask myself, “Does she know that I love her?” Yes. “Does she know that I want what’s best for her?” Yes. “Does she have her own personal relationship with the God of her understanding?” Yes. “Does He have a plan and a purpose for her life?” Yes.
I don’t know why this topic is on the forefront of my mind? If for no other reason, maybe it’s to encourage you, as a parent, to cut yourself some slack. If you’re a total slacker, maybe it’s to tell you to step it up. What I know for sure is that, my children are a gift and that it’s okay that it’s difficult.
Sandra Stanley said something in the message last week (when accompanying Andy on stage) that I will never forget as it refreshed my perspective on parenting. She said, “The days feel long but the years are short.” Realizing that for me, right now, there is no job on earth more important than being a parent is the mother in me being born and coming to life.
What do you think? Do you love every aspect of being a mother/parent? Is it as difficult for you at times as it is for me?
Looking for great parenting material?
Check these mamas out…
Courtney Defeo blogs at Lil Light O’ Mine She uses truth and humor, grace and love, to navigate her way through motherhood. Check out her site, but be prepared to spend some time as you will keep finding material that you love!
Leanne Penny blogs at Leanne Penny She shares her experience, strength and hope to find joy in the journey. She has an incredible story and you will be better after reading her heart.
Lisa~Jo Baker blogs at The Gypsy Mama She has an extraordinary amount of wisdom that pours out on every page. Her life is not perfect, but she has a unique way of turning trials into triumphs.
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Joy, wish I had had a chance to read this before we talked yesterday so that I could have told you in person what a great post this is. Someone has said that we need to learn to “live the questions” and this certainly illustrates the point. Your questions strike at the very core of the heart and life itself. A mom who thinks and who loves Christ—what a great combination!
Thank you Pam!
That means so much coming from someone I admire and trust.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and stay awhile yesterday. It was a wonderful time.
Thank you so much Joy. Honored to make your list and I feel the same about you. We are all in this together. Thankful for you!
Yes we are!
Thankful for you too!
Great post. And it was neat to hear that every birth was different…I believe that, just not something I had thought much about. I am starting to get excited/anxious about adding another little one to our family, the newborn chaos PLUS a three year old? But I can’t wait. It’s SUCH a miracle, such an honor. I love being a Mom. There’s something in me that goes “this is what I was born to do”, especially when I am trying in “care giving Mommy mode”..just doing the things you know only you as Mommy can do. AND it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It makes me feel so guilty at times, I question EVERYTHING, I care so much about getting it right, and yet feel every day that I mess up. And of course it’s all magnified a bit doing it without my Mom…I feel so clueless so often. Though I know we all do. But wow, it’s amazing…what a gift from God.
I try to imagine how you must feel without your mom. I know you have a wide range of support, but I also know that could never come close to replacing her.
I am getting excited/anxious for you! I cannot wait to capture those priceless moments through the lens.
It’s going to be great!
Here’s to a new chapter.
Reblogged this on Melissa's Memoirs.
I have loved being a father. I know my kids know how deeply I care for them. I would have to admit I do not love every aspect of being a parent. I naively believed as they got older that the parenting would get easier. Some aspects have yes but some have been heart wrenching. A son deployed and you not know where he is or how he is. A daughter struggling with rejection. Boyfriend and girlfriend issues. We walk beside them now but I am sure it will always be like this; their heartaches are ours as well. I would have it no other way.
It is as it is with all relationships of worth. You hurt when they hurt; you rejoice when they rejoice, you ache with their mistakes, and celebrate with their achievements. Through it all you will be there with them and as they grow they with you.
I thank God for these precious relationships with all of their flavor and twist and turns.
Well said, my friend.
Very well said!