(Inside: I want to enjoy motherhood. Not in an enjoy-every-moment sort of way, but bigger than that. Are you struggling to enjoy motherhood? Read on…)
I wonder if the woman who handed me a coffee with her enthusiastic good-morning-and-happy-to-see-you greeting realized I drove away with a big smile on my face because of her.
Her delivery was masterful.
Thank you, lovely woman. You passed me steamy deliciousness and some of your energy, as well.
I needed that.
I wonder how often we think that we are just doing us – ordinary us – and that doesn’t matter so much. And yet other people – like me today – are so grateful for our ordinary.
It makes me think of motherhood. But before I go there, let me back up…
I want to enjoy motherhood.
I have three boys that span 5 years from oldest to youngest, which means that my home will be filled with their backpacks and band instruments, and soccer balls for 23 years. That’s a lot of time, so you better believe I want to enjoy motherhood.
But, not in an “enjoy every minute” sort of way – that’s impossible. Instead, I want to enjoy motherhood by being like the woman who passed the coffee – she did ordinary well and made a small positive impact that rippled throughout my day. Except, I never took the time to thank her or explain how she lifted my mood and sewed the seeds of high energy and enthusiasm as I walked into the high school to teach that morning. Unlike that, I want to know my impact.
Because a deep desire to make a lasting positive impact in the world beats steadily in my soul. When I know what I’m doing is important (vital, even) patience, courage, and endurance all arise from within me.
Bottom line – knowing my impact helps me enjoy motherhood more.
However, there are two more important ingredients to being a happy mom, two more spices we need to add to the mix.
Three important realizations for moms to help moms better enjoy motherhood
Besides being aware of our impact, we need to know that to truly experience motherhood – all of motherhood – we have to experience the highs and the lows. Motherhood isn’t “or,” it’s “and.”
Joy and pain.
Hope and sorrow.
Love and heartbreak.
Understanding the humanness in mom life breaks the chains of unrealistic expectations and helps us grow in strength and find joy in the inevitable, completely normal “messy.”
And last, I want to believe – really believe – in the God who is for me and walks daily with me in mom-life. Jesus’ power, grace, wisdom, and love are near every hour, every minute, every second of mom-life guiding and nourishing.
These three realizations turn into mindsets and have a positive impact on all of mom-life from schedules to relationships to careers. Let me explain more…
1. Moms are vital and make a lasting impact – kids need their moms.
I love reading a good book and celebrating the wisdom of that author. Or watching a powerful movie unfolding the heroic story of a brave character. Or seeing real-life people on the news being celebrated for some big-time world contribution.
But – those moments pass and I forget what I’ve read or seen or heard.
The people who have impacted me the most, who have taught me faith, built my confidence, shaped my values, and cheered me on have always been the people right in front of me – my parents.
Moms (and dads) – there is no one else in the world who will impact our kids like us.
A mom’s voice comforts.
Your love sustains.
A mom’s protectiveness heal.
Your words guide.
A simple smile encourages.
Parents instill pride. We build character. We grow our kids’ wisdom. We provide a safe place for them always to come home to.
Then, our influence ripples out. The values our kids are raised with will emerge in their school life, workplace, and friendships… Their character traits are passed down to your grandkids, your great-grandkids… A mom’s impact keeps rolling.
Years from now, our children will still hear our words in their heads and long to spend Christmas with us. Moms are vital and make a lasting impact – kids need their mothers.
2. To fully experience motherhood, you have to go through the joy and the pain – the humanness of being a mom. Perfection isn’t real motherhood, but growing in strength is.
Right after my oldest son was born, I remember watching a who-done-it show with a renewed perspective of the villain. I couldn’t see all the bad things he did, I only could think This guy has a mother somewhere who is shattered and wants her son to come home.
I shut the television off and stuck to the Hallmark Channel.
Motherhood changes us – there’s a new weight, a new responsibility, a new profound love that elevates our highs higher and dips our lows lower. (And greatly impacts what we can now watch on Netflix.)
So, to fully experience motherhood we have to fully feel all of it. From the joy to seeing our kids hard work pay off with a solid test score to the sorrow of seeing them struggle with friendships. Or the satisfaction of getting a healthy meal on the table to the annoyance that you missed the orthodontist appointment. And the gratitude for a job you love to the fear for your family when your position is cut.
Motherhood comes with intense joy and deep sorrow. So, exhale relief, because you aren’t supposed to experience perfection in motherhood. Perfect mothers don’t exist; that’s not motherhood.
But also, take heart because through the triumphs and especially in the messy, we grow, we transform – omgosh, we become stronger, stronger, stronger.
It might take a hot minute, though. We perhaps need to take a break, drink some water, take a long walk, shake out a good cry, or even a day (or longer) in bed, but we don’t give up. Instead, we wait to see our strength emerge.
Because to fully experience motherhood, you have to go through the joy and the pain – the humanness of being a mom. Perfection isn’t real motherhood, but growing in strength is.
3. We have a powerful God who walks with us through mom-life
In the highs and lows of motherhood, we have a mighty God who walks with us.
He is all-knowing and powerful.
“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 40:28
He takes great delight in us.
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
He wants to give us hope and a future.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11
He understands our humanness.
Jesus lived on earth as a human. He was beaten, betrayed, and mistreated. Jesus emerges bloody and battered to say, I see you, dear one and I’ve been there too. Take my hand. Let’s get through this together.
He presses on our hearts the next step.
I’ve found that most often, God doesn’t give me a full set of “next steps;” instead, he tells me one place to put my foot at a time. I take a small step, try it out, and go back to him in prayer. I hear his tiny pressing on my soul (an inner knowing) that directs me toward the next baby step.
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12
In that daily relationship, he reminds moms that he is with us. He wants to be involved in our lives; he wants us daily to talk to him. Because he is always for us – we have a powerful God who walks with us through mom-life.
You are so bananas important momma, so enjoy ordinary motherhood – you are doing amazing, amazing things.
I think often of that woman handing me that coffee. How she pumped her energy into me with a few simple words and actions. How she jump-started my day by just doing ordinary well.
I try and remember her when I make peanut butter sandwiches and check my sons’ grades and remind them to hang up their towels again. Because everything we as moms do is important.
All of it.
Our actions matter. Our words are vital. We’re handing people delicious cups of coffee every day. We are doing ordinary well and people are so grateful for our ordinary. (Even when they don’t say it.)
Moms, this life we’re living is the real deal – so we might as well know our importance, let go of perfection and embrace the strength we’re daily building, and know the God who walks with us. Those powerful realizations can shape our mindsets and help us better enjoy our beautiful motherhood journey.
Why Moms are Important Series
Do you really understand how important, how vital, how life-giving your role as a mom is?
Maybe you feel like you just poured the bowl of cereal this morning, but that’s not all you did. You nourished your kid. And through simple daily interactions, you teach responsibility, leadership, love, grace, faith, courage, and kindness. Your child will go out into life and share his or her gifts. Then pass everything you taught down to their kids. And next, their grandkids – your impact keeps rolling.
I’m getting chill bumps. Your ordinary work is extraordinary.
Let me continue to convince you through the full series on the importance of motherhood:
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On teaching our kids to enjoy life too…
“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.” -William Martin
Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.