As Mother’s Day approaches the virtual carpet for motherhood has been rolled out. Buy your mom this! Don’t forget mom on Mother’s Day! I have scrolled past many, many tributes to the ladies known as “mom”.
As I am preparing to celebrate Mother’s Day with the mothers I love best, it makes me contemplate (just a bit). You don’t have to think too long or hard to realize why mothers are so important. I could write pages about my own mom and I bet you all could too. Her influence has stretched into all areas of my life; and now speaks to me as I am a mother to my own children. My mom would be the first to tell you she did a lot of things wrong. But I will tell you, she also did a lot of things right. She taught me more with her actions than her words. She sacrificed for me day in and day out, and I didn’t even realize it. I certainly didn’t say “thank you”, at the time. I used to call my mom at work to complain if we were out of milk or some other necessity I felt should be awaiting me when I got off the school bus. The woman was at work! She was juggling so many things! I remember being irritated with her because she forgot to get the things I needed. Obviously, I was a horrid child. ;) I had a lot to learn, and still do, about what it is to be a mom.
If you want to be educated, humbled, and in awe of a love stronger than any you have experienced on this earth, then become a mother!
I was listening to a conversation between two friends the other day. One was explaining to the other how she hadn’t been feeling well, her children had various health issues, she wasn’t sleeping, etc. The other sweet mama listened and her reply was simple, but so powerful.
She said, “You’re a mom. It’s a really long name.”
It is a really long name! She gets it. It doesn’t fit in any time slot, clean cut package. It’s all day, every day. So many roles are wrapped into those three simple letters: M.O.M.
Isn’t MOM the shortest, longest name you have ever heard?
I know that you mamas are tired. I know that a lot of you have several children yourselves, and right now are planning how to honor your own mothers and mother-in-laws tomorrow.
Let me tell you, sweet friend, good for you! It is right that we would honor these women who have laid the foundations of motherhood we are standing on.
Let me tell you something else, this mothering gig is tough!
I know there is a mom reading this right now that spent last night sleeping sitting straight up with a sick child on her chest.
I know the nights when the coughing just won’t stop.
I have sat in the shower with the steam running at 2:30 a.m. trying to keep us both from drowning in our semi-sleep.
I have bounced off the door frame because my eyes were still closed while heading to a child wailing, “Moooooom!” in the middle of the night.
I have cleaned the vomit out of our carpet, and my hair, and my purse!
I have washed the sheets again for the bazillionth time.
I have driven that semi-truck version of a grocery cart at Kroger with its obnoxious horn, dirty steering wheel, and combative children inside it. (Life changing advice: You can say no to that. It is okay! They do not have to be constantly entertained every second of their lives.)
I have brushed my teeth in the shower because it saves time, and we only have one bathroom.
I have known with certainty that my children were going to do great things for this world and the kingdom of God.
I have also been 99% sure all of them are going to be completely unable to function as adults, and 100% sure it will be all my fault!
Mother’s Day could be called “I Will Sacrifice Anything for Anyone Day”.
I have played the “What If . . .?” game more than I care to admit!
Do you know the rules to the “What If” game? (I do not recommend it!)
The rules are, there are NO rules.
Whatever illogical scenario you can come up with at the time, preferably while you’re in a total emotional upheaval, will do best. It pretty much always goes the same way though. It ends something like: These children are obviously never going to make it!
What if my expectations are unrealistic and they all grow up thinking their mom is impossible to please?
What if they never learn to be tidy and organized? Oh, their spouses are going to be so unhappy!
What if my daughter never embraces the domestic chores that she loathes now? Am I failing her as a future wife and mom?
What if they are all unable to get out of bed and go to work all because I didn’t have more of a bedtime routine?
What if they can’t spell well enough, read well enough, score well enough? I should do more!
What if they can’t obey God because I never taught them to consistently obey me?
I told you this game STINKS.
Am I the only one playing it?
I hope so, but I know I’m not!
Being a mother is hard! It weighs on your soul.
Your SOUL, people!
Every mother out there wants only good things for her children, and we are willing to wear ourselves to a complete frazzle trying to give them.
The thing is, it’s just not possible. There is no humanly way in the world one woman can fill the shoes of the perfect (and fictitious) mother we create in our own minds!
I’m not saying give it up, it’s hopeless. What I am saying is, you are never going to be enough, neither am I--AND --we don’t have to be!
By all means, keep up the good deeds. Serve your families in love, but also cut yourself some slack. The destiny of the whole world is not in your hands.
You are going to teach your children so many valuable things that will make their lives better, but you are also going to leave many gaps, and that’s alright. Our children are individual people and they are going to have to figure some things out without us.
Let your children make choices. Let them reap the consequences (both good and bad) for the choices they made. Resist the urge (and I know it’s real) to rush ahead of them, clearing their path so all they know is success. That is not real life. They don’t need us to create some fake world where everything they touch turns to gold. They need to scrape their knees (both literally and figuratively) to learn to discern between good and bad choices.
I have one boy in particular who just has to feel it for himself to believe it. You know that old saying “Seeing is believing”? That is his story. He has always been this way. As a toddler standing near a wood stove I would tell him, (as any mother would), “The stove is hot. If you touch it, it WILL burn you.” I watched that adorable, mischievous little one back closer and closer to that stove with his hands out behind him. Of course my impulse was to rush in and save him from the possible dangers of a burn. This certain boy happened to be my third child and I have gotten a (tiny) bit better at holding back. He did not get burnt, but he went way closer than he should have. He wanted to find out if it was REALLY hot. I wanted to clear the path, but I didn’t. I don't want any of my children to feel any pain, but I also know that isn't realistic.
This same boy just rode his bike down a grassy hill at the park, and he wrecked. I thought it was a pretty good wreck as far as wrecks go. He landed in the grass, not on his head; there was no blood, not even a tear. That’s a pretty good wreck in my book. Now there was a lady walking by at the very time he wiped out at the bottom and she was quite unimpressed, disgusted even, with my mothering techniques or lack of. She said (and I quote), “He is going to break every bone in his body!” She thought I should have raced to him the second he came off his little bicycle to confirm that he was uninjured (I could plainly see he was more than fine). She thought I should have prevented him from riding down the hill to begin with. I did think about it. But you see there are times that you can let your children figure out how things work on their own, under the safety and protection of your watchful eye. He knows now that you cannot rush down any steep hill you like without first giving it some serious thought. When he learns lessons for himself, when he feels it for himself, he doesn’t forget it.
My point is, there is no fail proof method of being a mother. I can’t save my children from every possible situation in their lives.
I do have some advice that I know to be true; that I cling to for dear life on most days.
Okay, every day.
Teach your children who God is, and who they are in comparison. Let them know (like they don’t already) that you are not a perfect person or mother, but you know the only ONE who is, and they can too. There will be hard times because we live in a broken, messed up world. The only sure thing you can do for your children is point them to Christ EVERY single day. Read them His Word and try to live it the best you can.
Train up your children in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it. I am banking on these words!
It is the longest and shortest name I know. That’s what all the chatter is surrounding Mother’s Day! The whole world knows. Everyone sees the importance of the work of the mother.
It’s a big deal.
But the big deal that is Mother’s Day is made up of a whole bunch of little deals. The everyday doing that no one sees except you and God.
Every day is Mother’s Day.
Keep it up, mamas. Keep it up!
The days ARE long but the years ARE short.
It is not always going to be a no thanks job! Your children WILL grow up and realize their mom was (and is) A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! So wait for it! Do not grow too weary in the daily tending of the character of your children. Remember that the One who loaned them to you knows and cares.
In the mean time, love with your whole heart, and don’t forget the universe is not counting on you to hold it together!
It’s not ALL up to you.
Pray for your people, and then pray for yourself as their mom!
You have permission to give yourself grace when needed and revel in the joys and trials of motherhood!
Let's celebrate what we are as mothers, and take the day off from sweating what we're not!
Happy Mother’s Day, friend!
It really is a long name!
Thank you for hanging out with me on The Modern Mayflower!
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