It had been months since I saw my friend and hair-dresser (and consequently months since my hair had a good trim!)
With my fantastic mother in town and available to watch the kids, I booked the much needed appointment. The first thing she asked me was, “Do you just love being a mother?”
These days, I tend to over-share what I’m thinking. Blame it on low social interaction and way too little sleep. I don’t find a filter easily. My friend was shooting for small talk as she snipped away at my split ends. But I responded with long pause then a gut response accumulated from weeks of caring for my precious babies…
“I love my children, so much. I love being with them and watching them grow… But that is not all that motherhood is… So I’m not sure I love being a mother.”
I soon realized my social blunder of over sharing; I chocked my negativity up to all the late-night feedings, spit ups, blow outs, and fussy babies who will not be consoled.
The compassionate woman gracefully changed the subject and we chatted on about hair and weather for the rest of the appointment. But in the shadows of my mind, I pondered what I had said. “Do I really not LOVE being a mother? How can that be when I love my babies so much!?”
Then I read Facebook posts of friends who have similar struggles. After 10 months of late night feelings, one friend convinced her husband to give her the night off of baby care. She retreated to the trailer in the driveway for a full nights sleep. With my babies being only seven weeks old, I don’t think I’ve earned that kind of a retreat yet. But I was envious of her just the same.
Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Every day I feel more and more like a freshman, completely clueless and in desperate need of directions to my next class. I strive to simultaneously navigate the twins’ needs and maintain a sense of productivity and humanity. But the word schedule is just about as funny as the phrase cloth diapering. I have twins, it’s not going to happen.
It’s hard. It’s exhausting. And yes, it’s completely worth it to see my babies grow, knowing that I have worked hard to produce milk (and often, when-needed, stir the formula) to sustain them. There’s so much joy in seeing them smile and respond to my giggles with their coos. But there’s also so much heartache when they fuss through the night because of trapped gas.
Our morning snuggles make up for it, but then I don’t start the day till half past noon. At that point I wonder if I should even get dressed!
I feel that everything that made up who I was is slipping through sticky fingers. And that’s good, because I needed to make room to hold the wonderful hearts of Titus and Evi. But like a freshman, nothing around me feels familiar.
Today Leslie Ludy’s book, Set Apart Motherhood, struck this very cord in my heart. In chapter 2, “Mothering with Joy,” Leslie echoes my very thoughts:
“Being a mother has forced me to use the majority of my time and energy on tasks that seem mundane and unimpressive…”
Now when I join the mommy club, I thought we weren’t supposed to talk like that. I thought we were all supposed to, as my friend said, “love being mothers.” Leslie Ludy boldly proclaims exactly what I think a lot of us feel.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to end with this acknowledgement. Leslie continues:
“Yes my current life is less productive less exciting and less globally influential than my former life. But is it less important?
“… Productivity is not God’s highest goal for this season of my life; obedience is. “
She reminds us that Jesus spent his time on the little things… On us! His willingness to wash his disciples’ feet is a prime example of something that seems mundane; after all it was a servants job to do that.
“As I take the ‘lower place’ of spending my best time, energy, and talents on my children, I am serving the one who gave his life for me, the one who left his home in heaven in order to wrap a towel around his waist, humble himself, and tenderly wash my dirty feet.”
This being a mother stuff is hard, unfamiliar, and sometimes unfulfilling. But that’s when my perspective is on the tasks of the day, not the Savior who gives meaning to them. As I wrote yesterday, we mothers need to grab some Symota (heavenly perspective), and embrace being a mother with all that we have.
It is the identity God his gifted us with.
It is the calling he has entrusted us with.
It is the season he is growing us with.
And it can be the joy he will fill us with.
But it’s going to take a lot of repentance, a daily attitude adjustment, and a massive dose of Symota.
I encourage you, dear tired mother, to mediate on these passages with me today.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1-2 ESV)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
…Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (Philippians 2:5-8, 14-15 ESV)
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17 ESV)