A mom is born overnight, while motherhood is a process.
Motherhood doesn’t come with a set of prefab instructions like a Lego house, nor does it come with happy little Lego heads with perfectly coiffed hair.
No. Motherhood is more like a 1908 Victorian: it’s character and charm are built on solid ground that’s established over time.
It has stained glass windows and hand carved wood, yet it creaks and often leaks and sometimes smells unidentifiable. But after many MANY years of living in it, the creaks and leaks are filled with something else. Trust. And this kind of trust creates conversations like this one:
“Mama, will you hold my hand?” asks my 2-year old every night before bedtime.
“Now can we hug?” (squeeze)
“Now kiss?” (smooch)
“And do the butterfly kiss?” (giggle)
Then right as I’m about to walk out the door she says, “And you’re my mommy.”
This, she does NOT say as a question.
“That’s right, sweetie. I AM your mommy.”
I close the door … and promptly cry.
For real! This declaration of love brings tears to my eyes just thinking of it! She loves me so openly and fiercely because she TRUSTS the foundation we’ve built! in just two-years time! She trusts the walls we’ve secured and the roof we’ve attached, the door we’ve oiled and the consistency of my address. She trusts IN ME, simply because she has no other reason not to; and to her, that’s enough. I’m her mommy, her home.
For my 5-year old, this metaphor is the same.
Recently I shared on Facebook how she told me that she wanted to live with me forever. I explained that eventually she would want to move away and would live somewhere else. After hearing this, she just shook her head and said:
“No mama…THIS (points to her heart) is my home. And because you live here, we will always be together.”
SOB! How is she so wise??!
My oldest daughter has said similar things too, which leads me to believe that motherhood is a lot simpler than we make it out to be.
Our kids don’t care whether we’re a CEO, SAHM, WAHM, or ABCDEFG. They don’t care if we’re a famous author, crafter, or that we still fit into our size 4 jeans. They only care that we’re there, loving them through their fears and transitions; that we’re reliable, trustworthy, and that we love them for who they are.
When you look at it that way, the “motherhood squabbles” can just disappear, can’t they? Because it doesn’t really matter if we do “elimination communication”, “baby-led weaning”, breastfeed for five years, co-sleep, spank, “free-range parent”, OR feed our kids chicken fingers every night for the rest of their lives. As long as we are consistently showing up and loving them, THEY WILL KNOW WHICH HOUSE THEY BELONG TO! All the rest is just distracting us from the source of motherhood; and friends, our kids just want MOM. Period.
(Photo taken by Danica Donnelly Photography)
Now, this may seem obvious to some of you, but I didn’t experience much consistency as a child. My secure attachment was severed multiple times, so I take this part very seriously. Thus, my experiences have led me to believe that not all moms will walk toward motherhood, and not all who choose motherhood will be called “moms”.
Motherhood comes in a variety of shapes and sizes: some are hyphenated (STEP-mom), some are temporary (FOSTER mom), some are birthed by someone else (ADOPTIVE mom) … but all of these avenues lead to the same place as long as they’re rooted in faith, hope, and love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
So whatever way motherhood has happened to you, take pride in the fact that it HAS HAPPENED. Forget the crazy list of things you “should” do and just love on your kids. Listen to their fears and watch them get excited; find out what their love language is so you can pour it out on them intentionally. And lastly, embrace the creaks, leaks, and smells because that’s what makes Motherhood authentic and YOURS! It’s one of the greatest titles you can assume; which in my opinion, makes you the luckiest home owner on the planet.