Yesterday was Mother's Day and I couldn't help but think of all my friends who are experiencing new mothering challenges. I have friends who just gave birth to their very first little blessing, friends who just had their third or fourth child, and friends who are about to take on a new challenge - multiples! I have friends who have recently adopted, friends who are fostering to adopt, and friends who are caring for someone else's child along with their own - just because they saw a need and felt called to meet it. I have friends who are on baby number five and friends who have struggled for years just to have one precious blessing. I, myself, just added a third little person to the list of people who call me mom, so my husband and I have recently joined the ranks of the "parents who are outnumbered by their kids."
But whether you are just about to have your first, or you're a seasoned pro about to have blessing number seven; whether you went through 12 hours of pushing or had a c-section; whether your little one shares your DNA or someone else's; whether your child came to you as a sweet, helpless infant or a rather opinionated 10 year old; whether you got to experience their birth or they showed up at your door one day with only the clothes on their back, you're still a mom. It really doesn't matter how they got to you, it only matters that you took up the call to care for them.
So for all of you moms out there - rookie and experienced - here's some encouragement and a little advice. Here's what nobody else is telling you: motherhood is a constant roller coaster. The highs are amazing. The lows stink. There are days when you'll look at those precious children and think, "Why did I wait so long to do this? This mom thing is the best job ever!" And there are days when you'll look at those same kids and think, "What the heck was I thinking? I'm not built for this. Being a parent sucks!" There will be days when you put your kids to sleep and its all you can do not to go into their bedroom and get them up in the middle of the night - because you can't wait to hold them again. Then there will be days when you ask yourself, "Is it OK if I put them to bed at 5pm?" - because if you have to listen to one more whiny word or one more smart-mouth comment you are gonna LOSE YOUR MIND. There will be days when you feel like the world's best mom because you made dinner, helped them do a craft, taught them their multiplication tables, and let them help you make an apple pie. Then there will be days that you check out Facebook and see that your friend came home from a long day at work and made a beautiful, healthy meal for her precious family, while you were lucky to find enough time and energy to swing by McDonald's. There will be days when the fun is almost too much to handle; then there will be days when you feel you just might be crushed under the weight of that HUGE laundry pile.
Some days the highs will outweigh the lows, and some days, the lows take over. But no matter what, don't judge yourself. It never works out well. Don't judge yourself based on how you feel. Just remember that our love is most displayed when we AREN'T acting on our feelings. Don't judge yourself based on what you see on social media. Just remember that everyone gets to pick and choose what they show on Facebook. You may see that beautiful meal, but you may not see that HUGE pile of laundry. Don't judge yourself based on your mistakes. Just remember that we are all sinners. Mistakes are opportunities to grow and learn. No one is perfect. Just don't judge yourself. Only God has the right to judge us and He already has. But He told us that Calvary covers it all! That screaming fit you had yesterday, the whining you did today over your messy house, that desire you felt to just plop the kids in front of the TV all day so you could have some alone time... Calvary covered it all. Every moment of selfishness, anger, self-pity, worry, frustration... Calvary covered it all. So why should you judge yourself more harshly than God does? That's just madness!
Hold on to the highs, and just breathe through the lows. And just remember, God won't ever give you more than HE can handle. He's got this. If you can't handle it, that's OK. He never expected you to do it on your own. Give it to God and rest in the knowledge that you aren't "mom enough." You never were and aren't supposed to be. Otherwise, what would you need Him for?
"Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God..." - 2 Corinthians 3:5
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." - I John 1:7
Happy Mother's Day!