Sometimes we can get caught up in the tasks of motherhood and we miss the moments of awe that are right in front of us.
Being a Mother is the most dynamic role I’ve ever carried and ironically also requires me to provide the most stability. In fact, the more I think about motherhood and my journey through it over the last 17 years, I find that I’ve traveled through almost every possible emotion at some point whilst walking in these shoes. As a pretty solid person, I can struggle with the ambivalence that is parenting.
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The greatest heights of both confidence and insecurity, joy and frustration, faith and fear, all tied to these gifts- only one of which I actually wished for and the other three arriving unexpectedly, but each one undeniably a GIFT that I am so grateful to have received. As a Christian, I believe in the scripture Psalm 127:3 that talks about children being a gift from God and it even goes a step further to say that they are a “reward”, which honestly used to rub me the wrong way because in my human nature I innately become defensive for the percentage of beautiful women who feel like they are being “punished” with infertility. I can’t speak for everyone but truth is I hadn’t done anything that deemed me worthy of this title, especially not by age 20 when I got my first positive pregnancy test. So I had to dig deeper to find something that I could find peace and promise in. Reward is synonymous with privilege and that is a word that I don’t have to overthink because for me that makes this less about who I am and what I’ve done and more about what I am responsible for doing now. I believe that children are a reward- to all of creation. Acknowledging that they have to come earth side by the magic that is a womb, recognizing that they can be nurtured in a variety of family structures that aren’t limited to biological strands and understanding that their generation will ultimately mature into adults that will repeat the same cycle. As I believe that everything else God made is; the trees, the animals, the flowers, the earth and all of its resources, they are here for us to share. So this gig, is multifaceted for sure and again I know I didn’t apply for a position as “Mom of 4”, but I am and I feel like I have the honorable duty to make sure that the most beautiful versions of these creatures can one day leave the nest and no matter where they fly, will grow their part of the world with things that have been impressed upon them from the very beginning. I am honored to have been given purpose and granted opportunity in this life- FOUR times!
PERSPECTIVE SHIFT TIP (cause the rollercoaster is real): In most scenarios, we not only appreciate but celebrate when we are considered and presented with gifts whether we ask for them or not, and honestly the more exclusive and long lasting- the better so… “I have received (insert # of kids) GIFTS. Nobody else has these one of a kind gifts and that not only makes them special but it makes ME special too”.
Hopefully you’ve read my piece on twins but if not, that’s where my motherhood journey started nearly 17 years ago with two beautiful girls that I could not have ever predicted would stretch me in ways that made me feel at times so disappointed and at other times so proud. You don’t really know how imperfect you are until you get to see yourself or hear yourself through the little unfiltered lenses of a child. I went from “auntie duty” at 100% precious and 0% pressure to full-time mommy-duty which promoted me from shift-worker to manager with 100% responsibility and ZERO training! Before putting me in charge of someone’s whole life… TWO of them? Honest thoughts…Don’t I need references first? Who signed off on this? Was it my 3 year old niece and nephew because they’re biased and honestly will say anything for a cherry popsicle! Needless to say, I learned A LOT about myself through every stage; an impatience I never knew I could possess and yet a selflessness that is staggering to think about and so qualified or not, this is my job and the perfectionist in me still has to strive for being the best that I can be at it. I have always been a defender of those in need and that was amplified from the moment my girls were born at 28 weeks. I have always been an independent go-getter and that too was amplified when I was raising them alone. There isn’t a single aspect of who I was or who I am that isn’t a part of parenting duties for me. I have gone from solely advocating on their behalf for their learning disabilities to teaching them to do it for themselves and to know when they need reinforcements. I feel so much pressure in these teen years to pack their minds full of all the wisdom that I think they’ll need to stay safe, happy, healthy, whole and then I have to re-center on the job description- my duty is to cultivate not to overtill the soil. I want them to value themselves, appreciate where they come from, respect their story and the stories they come across, to take care of business, to make time to chase dreams, to speak up for themselves and others, to be kind, bold, honest, gracious and loving- not just because I’ve told them to do it but because I’m giving them an example of how to do it. That is my job to teach them by modeling, by listening, by answering, by noticing what they need and giving them room to grow in those areas. This epiphany afforded me more confidence up front with my next two kids and for that I’m grateful. Although now with a 7 yr old boy and a 5 yr old girl sprouting simultaneously, it can seem like they’re all on completely different plots and like we are growing several different crops in the same garden. At various speeds and with various needs, I understand the assignment. Because when I’m focused, when I can see clearly my duty lies as their mother, I can remember that I DID receive training! I was given the tools that I needed to start this journey…because my mother did the same thing for me.
PERSPECTIVE SHIFT TIP : Culturally we can be on a timeline of sorts from the moment we’re born and we become hyperaware of that watching our children age. This can create insecurity, guilt and grief that can translate to them both unintentionally and detrimentally in some way so… “I am not in a race against a clock and my children are not like a tree that I planted so that in 18 years they will be strong enough to withstand any storm. Instead, I have planted a tree and will intentionally prune the branches so that MY birds know where to land if they need to fly home at any age ”
Sometimes we can get caught up in the tasks of motherhood and we miss the moments of awe that are right in front of us. I tried to be super intentional about that during my second pregnancy. As a visual person, I just really felt like the most amazing part of carrying a child was getting to see their profile on ultrasound and watch their bodies develop in utero. I had a high risk pregnancy so I was able to see him quite often actually and it was just beautiful to see how much he was growing every two weeks. Well, I’ve been doing that every week for the last 7 ½ yrs. It is just hard to not stare across the room sometimes at this little person that is asking deep questions and being the life of the party, a kid who has faced so much adversity on his food allergy journey and is just so much more than I could have ever imagined he would be like. Because of him, the most beautiful thing about our children isn’t who they are but that we are fully aware of the fact that much like that ultrasound image, this is only a small peek at who they’ll grow up to be.
Our youngest just turned 5 last month and is super ready for Kindergarten and “the whole world” if you let her tell it and I am low key obsessed with her vibe. She is very aware of not just who she is, the intricate details of what she looks like and how she feels about any and everything. Thanks primarily to pandemic shifts that allowed for remote work, she is the only one of our four children who have been able to spend significant one-on-one time during the week with my mom, their “Queenma”. The endless chatter, the questions, the laughter, the experience of cross-generational quality time is beyond precious, it’s beautiful. Because of her, I find that one of the greatest beauties of motherhood has got to be the infinite loop of love that happens if you are granted the opportunity for those who taught you how to love to witness you do the same, the blessing of time to allow generations to overlap in a way that allows a grandparent to personally leave an impression on the hearts of their descendants, and the powerful connection that a child gets to feel to their lineage and the memories they’ll carry with them forever.
Overall, the Beauty of motherhood for me is that in my children’s eyes, I am the best. I love them more than they could ever really understand as children but they feel it and they stand on it. I don’t get it right all the time, but I never stop growing and they see that and they stand with me. They inspire me, they stretch me, they love up on ME and the most beautiful part of that is that I can be assured that they are reciprocating.
I’ll leave you with this, from my my personal list of motherhood tips:
– Let the Ups incite Celebration. Let the Downs inspire Transformation.
-Mother your way, trust yourself and what you see, be who your children need you to be.
-Get advice, don’t be afraid to try but be mindful not to overexert. It is okay to hold onto what works and let go of what hurts
Happy Mother’s Day to those who were chosen with honor, those who accepted the duty, those who stand in the gap and embrace the beauty!