Becoming a mother undoubtedly changes us forever. It certainly is a journey worth acknowledging, honoring and celebrating. The lessons in motherhood are vast, ordinary and transformative. Few would argue that it is one of the most life altering events for a woman. We are never the same, physically (Amen right?), emotionally, mentally and even spiritually.
It must be said that joining this tribe of motherhood comes in many forms. Maybe you are a birth mom, adoption mama, foster parent, a teacher/principal mothering that special student in your school, a grandparent, a care giver stepping up to the challenge, whatever kind of mother you are, YOU ARE APPRECIATED. You are important. Absolutely, you are needed. You are doing good work.
And to those many women who are waiting and longing, we stand with you. For those who are mourning the loss of a mother or a child, we stand with you today. Your loneliness, emotion and struggle will not be tossed to the side. You too are a part of this tribe and while we may not be able to feel your exact emotion, please know we see you and support you.
To celebrate Mother’s Day, I’m sharing three lessons in motherhood along with many places to find good ideas on how to celebrate your own mothers, friends who are mothers or even yourself.
LIFE IS BIGGER THAN ME.
It doesn’t take becoming a mother to learn this lesson and honestly I hope we all learn this lesson on some level before we are mothers. However, becoming a mother has this uncanny ability to really put you in your place. In the early stages you will go without sleep, showers even sometimes food for the sake of your new baby.
Fast forward a few years and some of those luxuries you once considered necessary are but just a distant memory. And those sacrifices are minuscule in comparison to the unseen sacrifices. Those include but certainly are not limited to the worry, the effort to let go to encourage their independence, sacrificing what is easiest for what is best, the prayers upon prayers for their safety, well-being and happiness.
And finally perspective. Another human being perspective is just as important as mine, just as meaningful, just as real.
This morning my daughter was sobbing over a syrup mishap. Sharing your pancake breakfast with stuffed animals never turns out well. It would be easy for me to dismiss her emotion as trivial as I know that with a little soap and water all will be well. But that’s from my perspective. The perspective of an adult who not only knows the solution to the problem in advance which is huge but also understands how small this is in comparison to her life, the year, the week, heck even the day.
Her perspective, however, is totally different and in this moment she is devastated. She can’t see that it will all be okay and her feelings are just as real and intense as if it was something I deemed appropriate for tears. My guess is that the same can be said for situations we find overwhelming from a different perspective. But it doesn’t change how we feel in that moment does it?
So to celebrate mothers everywhere let’s be a little more attentive to the other perspective, a little more gentle with the emotions of others and add a little more kindness to this life that is much “bigger” than ourselves.
EMBRACE THE MOMENTS
Life is a collection of moments fashioned together to create this unimaginable journey. Some moments are monumental, some awe-inspiring, some devastating. There are moments that stand in the forefront of our minds for a lifetime and others silently in the background. Even those silents ones come together to form who we are, our beliefs, our ideas, our heart breaks and our happiness.
As a mom I am continually learning how fleeting the moments are. It’s like trying to hold water in your hands. No matter how hard you try it still slips through. Bringing home babies from the hospital, first steps, the summer nights in the backyard, family movie nights, first day of school, all beginning and ending before I realize. I’m sure you veteran mommas will say I have no idea how quickly these days will escape me. My personal focus this summer, this crazy quarantine year and for a lifetime is to embrace the moments. Each and every moment, the difficult, the joyful, the monumental, the mundane. The moments of motherhood are a privilege, a privilege I am so grateful for.
THE VILLAGE IS IMPORTANT
So many times I think we mistake the purpose of things. For example, a student not understanding that the purpose of an assignment may be to learn the idea of learning even more than the particular concept being taught. Or like the quote by Gary Thomas, “What if God designed marriage to make us Holy more than to make us happy?”. Maybe the same can be said for parenting, friendships, etc.
You’ve heard a million times I’m sure, “It takes a village”. Originally I thought this just meant “it takes a village to raise a kid, you can’t do it alone and you have to have help”. To which I would politely respond no thank you and watch me. Yes I know this is immature and I’m working on it but taking help has never been an easy thing for me. Anyone else? Nope? Just me? Well, I’ve come to realize that this village we are all talking about is so important on so many levels. First, we actually do need help. We are human and imperfect ones at that. So even if you are like me and it’s not easy...
TAKE THE HELP!
Secondly, the village is not just for help in the form of washing dishes, babysitting or dropping off dinner. It’s also a sense of belonging, understanding and camaraderie. It is strengthening to know that others are doing the same thing you are. Loving their people as best as they can, struggling through this thing called parenting and being overwhelmed with gratitude at the same time. I don’t think we were ever meant to do it alone. It’s a community. A community full of wisdom, grace, love, grit and sometimes just some comedic relief.
And lastly, this same village is crucial for those kids we are trying to raise to be happy, healthy, independent adults. They also gain that sense of community and most importantly they learn what it looks like to love those around them, to support people, to do life with people. Our village is so so important. Learning to love and support your village is one of those life saving lessons in motherhood.
So now let’s celebrate each other and even take a moment to give ourselves some credit too.